The format of the IELTS Listening Test is the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates. The total time for the test is 40 minutes. The listening takes 30 minutes, but you then have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet.
Four Sections in the IELTS Listening Test
IELTS Listening Test consists of four sections, each with 1 recording. There are ten questions in each recording. You can hear the recording only once.
A range of English accents and dialects are used in the listening test recordings which reflects the international usage of IELTS.
Section 1: In the first section, you will hear a conversation between two speakers, such as a conversation about travel arrangements, booking accommodation, etc.
Section 2: The second section is a monologue set in an everyday social context, such as a speech about student services on a University campus or arrangements for meals during a conference.
Section 3: This recording is a conversation or discussion between up to four people. It is either related to some educational topics or training sessions.
Section 4: The final part is another monologue, such as a lecture or talk of general academic interest such as a university lecture.
IELTS Listening Test Question Types
The following types of questions may appear on the test:
- Multiple choice – There is a question followed by three or more possible answers. Candidates are required to choose the one correct answer out of all the given choices.
- Short-answer questions – You need to read a question and then write down a brief answer using information from the listening text.
- Sentence completion – Again, in this type of question, you need to read a set of sentences summarising essential information from all the listening text or from a part of it.
- Notes/summary/diagram/flow chart/table completion
- Labeling of plan, map & diagram – You need to complete labels on a plan, map, or diagram.
- Matching – Test candidates are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper.
10 Essential Tips to Prepare for the IELTS Listening Test
1. The recording is played only once. You will not hear it a second time. You must complete a full listening mock test, at least a few times, before the actual test day.
2. You need to do multi-tasking in the IELTS Listening Test. You need to listen to the conversations, read questions, and write answers – all at the same time. You must practice this to speed up your listening and writing power.
3. If you don’t know an answer, just guess it, and write it down. You don’t lose a mark for a wrong answer. Who knows you might guess the correct answer.
4. Always check the number of words for the answer. Every time a question type changes, the number of words for the answer might change too.
5. Always proofread your spelling. If you write the wrong spelling for a word, you’re marked wrong for that answer.
6. If you get a multiple-choice question type, you will be asked to write a letter. If you write the “word” as the answer, you will be marked wrong. For instance, if the multiple choices are:
If the correct answer is c) Campus, just rote down the answer as c and NOT Campus or you will lose a mark.
7. Sometimes, the answers will be plurals. Hear the plurals properly so you can answer the question correctly. These questions are given to test your listening ability as non-native speakers have difficulty hearing the plural “s”.
8. Recordings are played just once. So keep focusing on what the speakers are saying. If you lose focus, you might not find the answer. In case you miss an answer, just move on. Don’t waste time.
9. Write your answers using a pencil and not a pen.
10. Answers may come quickly, but sometimes, there will be a gap between answers. Keep focusing on listening to the conversations or recording. Keep your pace.
With the aforementioned tips, you will be able to score a high band in the IELTS Listening Test. Keep practicing the mock test papers for the Listening Test.
If you are taking the IELTS Listening Test soon, book your seat in advance at IELTS AOLCC. We have IELTS Test Centres available in Mississauga, Kingston, London, and Brampton. All our test centres are equipped with Wireless Headsets and other necessary amenities.