IELTS Listening Module Information & Tips

Listening test is one of the components of IELTS academic and general training exam. On the day  on examination IELTS listening is taken first followed by reading and then writing. Speaking test maybe held either before or after these depending on the slot. IELTS listening test is same for both academic and general training.

Total time given for IELTS listening test is 40 minutes. 30 minutes are given to hear the recordings and write answers on the question paper. Extra 10 minutes are given to transfer these answers on the answer sheet.  In case of  ‘computer based IELTS’ these 10 minutes will not be given instead 2 minutes will be given to review the answers.

View the listening-test answer sheet. It is important to read and follow all the instructions written n the sheet.

Listening test comprises of four sections. Each section has 10 questions making a total of 40 questions to be answered.  Four recordings will be played separately in different accents. Before the beginning of each recording candidates are given some time to go through the questions and instructions.

Recording of section-I consists a conversation between two people on some social context e.g some travel arrangements.

Section-II consists of a monologue providing information such as some local facility.

Section-III has conversation between two main speakers usually headed by a third person. For example an academic conversation between two students guided by a teacher.

Last section or Section-IV is a recorded monologue on an academic subject.

The questions consist of

  • MCQs,
  • Fill in the blanks,
  • Matching,
  • Plan/map/diagram labelling,
  • Table/flow chart/ summary completion
  • Sentence completion.

It is important to note the word limit when answering because at times it is mentioned ‘not more than two words’ or ‘ not more than two words and a number’ etc. It is important to take note of the word limit because exceeding the word limit will cause in deduction of marks.

The recording played will be in sequence with the sections and there will be time given to review the questions before recording begins. However, it is not always important that the answers to the questions are in a sequence hence it is important to stay ahead one question so you know what the question is about.

Tips to remember:

  • The recording will be played only once and there will be no repetition so it is important to focus and listen carefully.
  • Write answers on the question paper as you listen and then transfer them later on the answer sheet. Make notes on the question paper such as identifying key words, phrases etc. No extra sheet will be given.
  • Use ‘Pencil’ only on the answer sheet.
  • The answers can be written in small letters however wherever a capital letter is needed e.g. in names of people/place etc. use them accordingly.
  • Spellings are important. Even if the answer is correct but the spellings are wrong it will be considered as wrong. The words that are hard to understand are usually broken down in individual letters so you can note the spellings.
  • In MCQs type question you can write A,B,C, or D only whichever is correct. writing full answer in not necessary.
  • Only one answer is acceptable so do not write more than one answers or use brackets in the answer such as student(s).
  • In case you miss one question it is important to move quickly to the next question because if you stop there are chances that you will miss next questions too because the recording will not stop. This increases the chance of loosing marks.
  • Use ‘a/the’ if required to complete the sentence. The sentence should make sense.
  • All forms of written time are acceptable.  E.g. 9am, 9AM, 9:00am, 9:00AM, 9.00 am etc.
  • Word ‘of’ should not be used while writing dates E.g ’23 of March’ will be considered wrong. Use 25th March or 25 March etc.
  • Words that are separate such as name of a road ‘South Road’ should be written separately and not as single word.  Written as single word will be considered wrong.This is a test of compound nouns.
  • Any accent from the native speakers countries could be given so it is important to listen to as many accents as possible so it is easy to understand.
  • Practice as much as possible and while practicing time yourself so you can improve your time.
  • Listen closely to words like ‘another aspect’ or ‘another point to consider’ etc.
  • Carefully read the given instructions as well as listen carefully.

Listening Score:

The score is calculated out of 40. Each correct answer earns you one point however there is no negative marking for an incorrect answer.

Total earned score is converted into respective bands. Given below is the score and the band which it earns

Band score Raw score out of 40
5 16
6 23
7 30
8 35

Sample listening test:

Click on the link to practice listening test:

This is just a sample test and in order to gain perfection you should practice more and more!