IELTS Listening Test: Overview

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s leading English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

IELTS Exam is divided into 4 parts:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

In this article, we’ll give an overview of IELTS Listening.

IELTS Listening test has:

  • Total of 40 Questions
  • 4 Sections
  • 10 Questions per section

IELTS listening test is the same for IELTS Academic & General Training and they are scored in the same way.

Total time: 40 minutes.

30 minutes is for listening and 10 minutes for you to transfer your answers on to the answer sheet provided.

Four recordings will be played of native English speakers then you need to write your answers to a series of questions. 

Recording includes a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian.

  • Recording 1:

A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context between two people like a conversation between an agent and a customer.

  • Recording 2:

A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about recycling in the community. 

  • Recording 3:

A conversation between more than 2 people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing a project.

  • Recording 4:

A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a Tutor giving a lecture.

Paper format


Recording 1:
A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context between two people like a conversation between an agent and a customer.Recording 2:A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about recycling in the community. Recording 3:A conversation between more than 2 people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing a project.Recording 4:A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a Tutor giving a lecture.
Timing
Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time).10 minutes are given to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. 

No. of questions
40
Task types
A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: Multiple choiceMatchingPlan/map/diagram labellingForm/note/table/flow-chartSummary completion, sentence completion.
Marks
Each question is worth 1 mark.

Poor spelling and grammar should be a matter of concern.

What Types Of Questions Are In The IELTS Listening Test?

Task type 1 – Multiple choice

1. Multiple-choice – Choose an answer A, B or C.

You are given a long list of possible answers and are asked to choose more than one. So, read carefully and choose the relevant ones.

No. of Questions: Variable

Task type 2 – Matching

2. Matching – Match a list of items from the native speaker to a list of options on the answer paper.

This section assesses the skill of listening for detail and how test-takers can understand given information in a conversation on an everyday topic such as conversation with different types of guest houses, hotels. 

Also, the ability to test takers to recognize relationships and connections.

No. of Questions: Variable

Task type 3 – Plan, map, diagram labelling

3. Plan/map/diagram labelling – add names/labels to parts of a visual.

Candidates are required to add names/labels to parts of a visual ( plan of a building, map of a part of a town). Answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.

The main focus of this task is to test the candidate’s ability to understand things like a description of a place, visual representation of anyplace.

No. of Questions: Variable

Task type 4:

4. Form/note/table/flow chart/summary completion

You need to Fill in gaps in the script of the recording. They are the main ideas/points. Question type comes in the form of a flow chart, notes, table, or form.

 1. A form: 

 2. A set of notes

 3. A table

 4. A flow-chart

You’ll be penalized for writing more than defined no. of words, keep in mind the word limit.

Hyphenated words count as single words.

Test focused on the main points which a listener records in that particular situation.

No. of Questions: Variable

Task 5:

5. Sentence completion – 

In this task, you need to enter information into a gap using the audio that you have heard. 

The candidate is required to read a set of lines/sentences from the listening text. They fill a gap. Word limit is fixed, like no more than one word or a number.

You’ll be penalized for writing more than a defined number of words.

Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.

The main focus of this task is to test one’s ability to identify key points from the audio they’ve heard.

No. of Questions: Variable

Task 6:

6. Short-answer questions –

In this, you are supposed to write a short answer from the given audio. 

No. of Questions: Variable

Candidate is required to read a given question then write an answer using the audio that you’ve heard.

A Word limit is given.

You’ll be penalized for writing more than a defined number of words.

Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.

This task main focus is to test the candidate’s ability to listen for facts such as places, time, pricing from the audio.

IELTS Listening – how it’s marked |IELTS listening Band scores

IELTS listening exam tests your English comprehension skills. Certified examiners want to examine your ability to listen to given information(audio) and then answer a set of questions. 

All answer sheets are analyzed by Cambridge Assessment English.

IELTS Listening Band Scores:

16-22 = Band 5

23-29 = Band 6

30-34 = Band 7

35-39 = Band 8

40/40 = Band 9

Summary Overview of the IELTS Listening Test:

  • Total time: 40 minutes.
  • 30 minutes is for listening and 10 minutes for you to transfer your answers on to the answer sheet provided.
  • Total of 40 Questions
  • 4 Sections
  • 10 Questions per section
  • Each question is worth 1 mark.
  • Four recordings will be played of native English speakers then you need to write your answers to a series of questions. 
  • A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: 
    • Multiple choice
    • Matching
    • Plan/map/diagram labelling
    • Form/note/table/flow-chart
    • Summary completion, sentence completion.

I hope we’ve answered all your queries, if any doubt, share in the comment section below.

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