IELTS Listening


The IELTS Listening test is the same for both Academic test and General Training test ( with the same scoring).

Listening test is a 30 minute audio recording with 40 questions.

The recording is played ONCE only.

Listening test has 4 parts

  1. Conversation between 2 people: social context.
  2. A speech or talk with just 1 person: social context.
  3. Conversation between up to four people: education or training context.
  4. A talk by one person on an academic subject.

Listening section needs multitasking as the test takers have to write their answers as they listen to the recording. – This means you must be able to read the questions, listen for the answer and write down the answers all at the same time.

Paper based test takers have to write their answers on the question paper as they listen to the recording. After the recording ends, you will be given an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.

Computer delivered ielts test takers type their answers directly on the screen as they listen to the recording. Here you won’t be given an additional 10 minutes, instead you will be given 2 minutes to review your answers and change anything if you need to.

Important points for IELTS Listening

1. For each set of questions there will be a word count limit. Pay attention to the limit and how it changes for the next set of questions.

For example: write no more than two words and/or a number. –

Here you can write one word, two words or a combination of one or two words with a number or just a number on its own. Always notice if it allows a number or numbers.

2. Be very careful of spellings – if the spelling is wrong then the answer is wrong.

3. The sections get more difficult as the test progresses.

i.e section 1 – easiest and section 4 – most difficult.

4. As this is an international test there will be a range of accents but the main accents will probably be “British or Australian”.

Ielts accept either British English or American English spelling.

* Don’t leave empty blanks, always guess and write when you don’t know the answers because ielts doesn’t have negative marking.

You can write answers in capital or small letters. You can do this for paper based test and computer based test. It is completely up to you. There is no rule stating whether you should use capital or lower case. But using all capital letters is recommended especially in paper based test to avoid confusion.

In computer-delivered IELTS handwriting is not an issue, so you should try to write all words using upper and lower case.

Listening audios will have a lot of extra information. Listen only for answers i.e listen to find answers and do not try to understand everything.

Plural – Look out for answers that are plural ( IELTS knows students have difficulty listening to plurals, so these will be given to test your listening).


1. Writing letters or words. If you get multiple-choice questions it will ask you to write down the letter as your answer.

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