top of page

IELTS Listening

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including understanding main ideas, specific factual information, and the ability to follow the development of an argument. Here’s an expert-level overview of the IELTS Listening test:

Test Format:

The IELTS Listening test is divided into four sections, each with a different context and increasing difficulty. The test lasts for about 30 minutes, and you will have an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet if you are taking the paper-based test.


  1. Section 1:

  • Context: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context (e.g., booking a hotel room, asking about a course).

  • Focus: Listening for specific factual information.

  1. Section 2:

  • Context: A monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g., a speech about local facilities, a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference).

  • Focus: Understanding factual information, such as identifying specific details.

  1. Section 3:

  • Context: A conversation among up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g., a discussion between students and a tutor about an assignment).

  • Focus: Understanding both detailed and implied meaning.

  1. Section 4:

  • Context: A monologue on an academic subject (e.g., a lecture on a scientific topic).

  • Focus: Following an argument or a line of reasoning, understanding main ideas, and detailed information.

Question Types:

  • Multiple Choice: You select the correct answer from a list of options.

  • Matching: You match a list of items to another list.

  • Plan/Map/Diagram Labelling: You complete labels on a plan, map, or diagram.

  • Form/Note/Table/Flow-Chart/Summary Completion: You fill in the gaps in a given text.

  • Sentence Completion: You complete sentences with a limited number of words.

  • Short-Answer Questions: You write a short answer to a question.

Skills Assessed:

  1. Understanding Main Ideas: Identifying the overall theme or purpose of the listening passage.

  2. Identifying Specific Information: Noting details such as dates, times, places, and prices.

  3. Recognizing Opinions, Attitudes, and Purpose: Understanding the speaker’s stance or objective.

  4. Following the Development of an Argument: Tracking how ideas and arguments are structured and progressed.

Tips for Success:

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Different Accents: The IELTS Listening test features speakers with various English accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, and North American.

  2. Practice Different Question Types: Get used to all the question types mentioned above by practicing with sample tests.

  3. Develop Note-Taking Skills: Practice taking quick and effective notes as you listen.

  4. Use Your Transfer Time Wisely: If you’re taking the paper-based test, use the 10-minute transfer time to carefully transfer and check your answers.

  5. Pay Attention to Instructions: Listen carefully to the instructions given at the beginning of each section.

  6. Listen for Signpost Words: Words and phrases like “firstly,” “on the other hand,” and “to sum up” help you follow the structure of the talk.


Each correct answer receives one mark. The total number of correct answers out of 40 is converted into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. Here’s an approximate conversion of raw scores to band scores:

  • Band 9: 39-40 correct answers

  • Band 8: 35-38 correct answers

  • Band 7: 30-34 correct answers

  • Band 6: 23-29 correct answers

  • Band 5: 16-22 correct answers

Understanding the structure and requirements of the IELTS Listening test will help you prepare effectively and improve your chances of achieving a high score.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page