IELTS Listening Test
Assessing your English listening skills
IELTS Listening test will cover four separate recordings, and each recording will be played only once.
This exam aims to find out how well you can listen and understand conversations and monologues that are performed by native English speakers. There will be a variety of topics, which are spoken in different accents and voices.
In IELTS Listening tests, the recordings are played only once. You will get some time to read questions in your question paper before the sound recording starts. While listening to the audio, you should answer a set of questions based on what you hear.
There are 40 questions in total, and they are separated in four sections.
Section 1: You will listen to a conversation between two people, set in an everyday context (e.g. a conversation in a restaurant).
Section 2: You will listen to a monologue, which is a speech or story told by one person. It is set in an everyday context (e.g. a tour guide explaining about a historical site).
Section 3: You will listen to an academic discussion between three to four people. You must be able to identify who is saying what.
Section 4: You will listen to an academic lecture told by one person. You may take the important notes on your question paper.
The difficulty will increase as the test progresses from section 1 to section 4.
You will have the same Listening test for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training test modules.
There is a small difference between the Listening test on computer-based IELTS and paper-based IELTS.
Listening test in paper-based IELTS
If you take paper-based IELTS, you can take notes and write your answer directly on the question paper. Later at the end of the 4 sections, you will given time to transfer the answers to your answer sheet. The total duration of Listening test is 40 minutes long, including 10 minutes of transfer time to copy your final answers from the question paper to your answer sheet. Don’t forget to use a pencil to write your answers.
Listening test in Computer-delivered IELTS
If you take Computer-based IELTS test, you can directly type or select the multiple-choice answers on the computer in front of you. You can also note down on a piece of paper containing your registration data as a test-taker, which is put on your table. At the end of the Listening test on computer, you will be given 2 minutes to check and correct your answer if necessary. This is your chance to fix any misspelling and improper grammar usage.
The Listening question types in Computer-delivered IELTS are the same as in the paper-based test:
- Multiple Choice
- Matching Plan/Map/Diagram Labelling
- Form Completion
- Note Completion
- Table Completion
- Flow-chart Completion
- Summary Completion
- Sentence Completion
- Short Answer Questions
Any of these question types may appear in any of the four parts of the test. You can check and download IELTS Listening test samples in this page.
Be careful when answering the questions. You can choose to answer using all-capital letters or lowercase. Some people choose to use capital letters only to avoid mistakes. If you misspell a word, even if it’s a one letter mistake, then your answer is considered incorrect. You should also listen carefully for the instructions, because you must demonstrate that you fully understand what you are expected to do.
After taking the Listening exam, you will continue to Reading and Writing test without any break. To take the Listening exam, you must bring the same national passport/identity card that you used on the IELTS Registration Form. The same identity document will be used for Speaking test.
Want to know other IELTS tips? Learn more on the IELTS Exam Tips page!