In recent times, there has been a rise in the number of students and working professionals migrating to Canada. Canada has always been in the top cities regarding lifestyle. Its multi-cultural and lingual flexibility has attracted a massive number of migrants. The job opportunities and pleasant seasonal variations have further supported this cause. However, to migrate to Canada for study or work purposes, one needs to appear for the IELTS exam. It checks the English proficiency.

Types of IELTS Exam

One can take the IELTS exam paper in two types based on one’s purpose of visit: the IELTS academic Exam and the IELTS General Training Exam. The exam is for 2 hours and 45 minutes; it has four main sections – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Of these sections, the reading, writing, and listening sections take place on the same day. The speaking section may be conducted within a week from these three sections.

What is the IELTS Exam Pattern?

If you are preparing to study or work abroad, you must be wondering, “how will the IELTS exam pattern be?”. The IELTS exam pattern is divided into 4 sections, as mentioned above. The exam comprises a listening test that has 40 questions. It is carried out for 30 minutes. The next part is the reading section. Students have 60 minutes, in which they need to answer 40 questions. The coming paragraphs will list the type of passages and questions for both Academic and General Training.

The writing section comprises 2 tasks, of which, Task 1 requires 150 words, and Task 2 requires 250 words at least. The time duration for the same is 60 minutes for the whole section. Further, the speaking section is carried out on successive days as a one-on-one interview session. It further has three sub-sections, the Introduction, the category-based questions, and the follow-ups. One can do the speaking section within 15 minutes; every section carries almost equal weightage for deciding the IELTS score.

What is the Minimum Passing Score for the IELTS Exam?

As you must have seen in the IELTS Exam paper pattern, each section contributes equally to the scorecard. However, there is no particular passing score for the exam; every university has its eligibility score in the range of 1-9. This score helps you determine which university you qualify to get admitted to. If a candidate fails to appear for the exam, a band of 0 is printed on the scorecard. For both IELTS types, the reading and writing sections are taken from different sources. They are purpose-based. Further, as per a fact, only about 24% of candidates who appear for the IELTS exam are for General training. On the other hand, about 76% of these candidates take the IELTS Academic test.  This fact suggests the popularity of studying abroad.

Also Read: Tips for IELTS Writing Skill Enhancement: Get Your Desired Band Score

Section-wise Patterns 

Listed below are section-wise IELTS exam patterns for Canada PR. This pattern analysis will give you an in-depth idea of the type of questions, time limits, and expected results from the test taker. Every test helps to check, interpret and give marks to the test taker based on their performance. Read to know more.

Listening Pattern 

As per the new exam pattern, the listening section comprises four recording parts; each has ten questions. There is a division of this section as under:

#1 General Conversation between two English natives

#2 Monologue type conversation on General topic

#3 Academic Conversation between 2-4 people

#4 Monologue type conversation on an academic topic

Each of these sections has about 10 questions. You must aim to complete these within 30 minutes duration. The questions in the listening test may be,

#1 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

#2 Diagram labelling

#3 Planning and mapping

#4 Matching

#5 Flowchart, Table, Summary, and Form completion

#6 Sentence completion

#7 Short answer completion

Speaking Pattern 

The speaking section comprises a face-to-face interview conversation between the test-taker and the examiner. The test comprises of 3 parts,

#1 Task 1 includes introductory questions such as those about family, education, interests, and work. It goes on for 4-5 minutes.

#2 Task 2 involves picking a task card; there is a topic on the card. The test taker must speak on that for about 3 minutes after a preparation time of 1 minute

#3 Task 3 includes an overall follow-up of the discussion, which goes for about 4-5 minutes.

The purpose of these tasks is to check the daily conversation ability of the individual. Further, there is also a check of the fluency of a language, understanding, keynote timings, and pronunciation of the words. It follows the same pattern for both General Training and Academic type.

Reading Pattern

Talking of the IELTS reading section, it comprises three sections. The IELTS Reading General Training Test includes excerpts from journals, books, magazines, advertisements. On the other hand, the IELTS Academic test has paragraphs from books, newspapers. These tasks analyze the understanding ability of the test taker to recognize the writer’s purpose behind the paragraph. The IELTS Reading test consists of questions such as:

#1 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

#2 Match the Headings

#3 Sentence completion

#4 Match Information

#5 Identify Information/ purpose of the writer

#6 Sentence completion

#7 Label the diagram

#8 Short answer questions

These tasks vary in difficulty levels for both – General Training and Academic types. These tests help to check the detail noticing skills and analysis skills of the individuals. The paragraph difficulties range from easy to medium to moderate and sometimes very difficult. It gives an idea of the test taker’s comprehensive ability.

Writing Pattern

The writing section mainly comprises two tasks, Task 1 of 150 words and Task 2 of 250 words. Generally, the expected time is 20 minutes and 40 minutes for both the tasks combined. In Task 1, it is expected from the test takers to note down all the graphical information and write down the details with appropriate language proficiency. The examiners check for such details as grammatical fluency, coherence, and accuracy of details.

In the case of general training, Task 1 is letter writing, whereas, in academic, Task 1 is to describe a chart, process flow diagram or bar graph. It may be formal, semi-formal or personal writing based on the question. Task 2, however, has to include a personal style of writing. These tasks are used to check the consistency of language understanding in writing English.

Also Read: What is Computer Delivered IELTS? Know the Merits and Myths about IELTS CBT


As people tend to choose their careers and study courses abroad, the need for a better comprehensive ability of English Language is growing. There has been a growing preference for Canada given its favouring conditions. Further, the IELTS exam has provided the perfect opportunity to students all over to be eligible for Canada visits and PR. To adapt to the linguistic barrier, there are various tools that an individual could use.

There are several teaching institutes such as IELTS Ninja that could help in this purpose. With over 80,000 successful candidates, IELTS Ninja offers courses that include personal training and unique tests. The students can be under expert guidance with flexible timings. Stay tuned to know more about IELTS-based content.

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About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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