A 30-minute test of your understanding of spoken English
The Listening Test
How many sections does the listening test have?
There are four sections in the listening test. Each section has 10 questions, making a total of 40 questions. The sections become progressively harder. The answers to the questions come in the same order as the information on the recording
Section 1 (3-4 minutes) A conversation between two speakers on an everyday, social topic.
Section 2 (3-4 minutes) A talk by one speaker on a general topic.
Section 3 (3-4 minutes) A discussion between two to four speakers on a topic related to education
Section 4 (3-4 minutes) A lecture or talk by one speaker on an academic or study-related topic.
The whole test lasts about 30 minutes, including the instructions, your reading and listening time, and the time allowed for transferring your answers from the question paper to an answer sheet. The instructions are included on the recording.
Yes, but they will always be clear and easy to understand. You will not hear any grammatical mistakes.
There are different question types in the listening test (see pages 8 and 9) and you can get any mix of question types in any section of the test. Often you have to choose the correct letter or write up to three words.
No. Each section of the test usually contains two or three question types, so in one complete listening test you could get a maximum of 12 different question types (usually you will get about eight or nine). Sometimes the same question type occurs in more than one section of the test. Remember, you may get a mix of the listening question types in any section of the test.
IELTS tests a range of listening skills that you need to live, work or study in an English-speaking environment. This means that you need to be able to understand different types of spoken English in a range of formal and informal contexts.
You get time to read the questions in each section before you listen. Use this time to work out the topic, underline or highlight key words and decide what sort of information and answers you need to listen for
Key words carry a lot of information. They are usually words such as nouns or verbs that help you understand the questions.
Once the recording begins, use the words on the question paper to help you keep your place. There is an example at the start of the test and the first three sections are divided into two parts to help you follow the conversation, discussion or talk. Write your answers on the question paper as you listen.
You can help to improve your score by making sure that you know what each question type tests and by having a general approach for each set of questions. The following pages, divided into four sections, provide you with an Action Plan for each set of questions.
There is one mark per question and this makes a total of 40 marks. Your mark is converted into a Band Score of between 1 and 9. You can get half bands in the listening test, e.g. 6.5.
Spelling should be correct and handwriting must be clear. Both British and American spellings are acceptable, e.g programme/program, colour/color, but you should not use abbreviations. Numbers can be written as words or figures.