IELTS Listening test – Things you should know

IELTS Listening test is the same in both the Academic and the General training modules.

In this article, I will briefly discuss:

  • The test format
  • What type of information will you hear?
  • What types of questions will you face?
  • How to answer the questions?
  • How is the listening paper assessed?
  • Lastly, some tips to improve your listening score.

IELTS Listening Test Format

In the IELTS Listening test, you will get a question paper and an answer sheet. In the question paper, there will be 40 questions, and you will have 30 minutes to answer them by hearing four different recordings.  After 30 minutes, you will have extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers you the answer sheet. So, the total time of the IELTS Listening test is (30 min + extra 10 min) 40 minutes.

Answer Sheet Sample:

.

.

This is the type of answer sheet that you will get in the IELTS Listening test.

Remember, the questions will be in the same order as the information delivered in the recordings. That means the answer of the 2nd question will be after the answer of the 1st question.


What type of information will you hear?

The IELTS Listening test is separated into four different sections, and each section contains 10 questions.

In section 1: You will hear a conversation between two people. For example, finding out information about renting a house.

In section 2: You will hear a monologue on a general topic. For example, a radio broadcast.

Generally, Section 1 and 2 deal with everyday and social situations.

In section 3: You will hear a conversation between two or three people in an academic context. For example, discussing an assignment.

In section 4: You will hear a monologue on an academic subject. For example, a professor giving a lecture on any topic.

Generally, Section 3 and 4 deal with educational and training situations.

Now, You may think, what is a monologue? Well, a monologue is a speech where just one person speaks.
Remember, each section will be more difficult than the one before, and you may hear a variety of accents, like the British, Australian, New Zealand, and even North American.


What types of questions will you face?

There are various types of questions in the IELTS Listening test. These are:

Question type 1: Form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion

Question type 2: Short answer questions

Question type 3: Sentence completion

In these types of questions, you only need to write words and numbers that you hear in the recordings.

Question type 4: Labelling a diagram/plan/map

Question type 5: Matching

Question type 6: Multiple choice

In these types of questions, you need to choose an option from a list and write a letter on your answer sheet.


How to answer the questions?

Well for each type of question you will be given clear instructions about how many words and numbers you can use to answer them. Also, these instructions will tell you what kind of information you should listen for, and how you should answer the questions. For Example:

Write ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER

Write ONE WORD ONLY

So read the instructions very carefully and answer the questions as it is instructed. If you use more words or numbers to answer questions than instructed, your answer will be marked incorrect.

Download Free Cambridge IELTS Listening test and Start your practice. 


How is the listening paper assessed?

In the IELTS Listening test, you will be asked 40 questions, and for each correct answer, you will have one point. Then, your total point out of 40 will be converted into a band score using this chart.

.

.

Remember, you will never find any recording that is completely matched with the question paper, they will always paraphrase the question in order to assess how much recording you understand.


10 important Tips for IELTS Listening test

 Before you do each section, you will be given 30 to 45 seconds to look at the questions. Use this time to study the questions and try to predict what you might heat.

Always check your spelling. If you make a spelling mistake in the IELTS Listening paper, your answer will be marked wrong.

In the IELTS Listening test, Section 1 and 3 are conversations between two or three people. Section 2 and 4 are monologues with only one main speaker. Sometimes another speaker introduces the talk or asks questions.

You will hear accents from several English speaking countries in the test. These are British, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand accents.

Pay attention to the instructions or number of words you need to write.

Most of the time you will hear two or more potential answers to each question. Basically they will use distractors to check how much you understood the recordings.

The questions in the listening paper are in the same order as the information you hear. This means you will hear the information you need for Question 1 before you hear the information for Question 2. However, in questions where you have to choose an option from a list here, you can find the possible options in random order.

You should study the map or plan carefully before you listen. Having a clear image in your mind will help you to understand what you hear.

Before you listen, read the options several times so that you become familiar with the information you need to listen for. Don’t cross out any options unless you are sure they are wrong. Write down the potential answers if you are unable to decide. You can decide it later when you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Search online for national radio stations from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. These often have programs that discuss topical issues. This will help you to increase your overall English listening skill.

Try to follow these tips and start your listening practice. These tips will not be effective if you don’t practice them.


The IELTS Exam Pattern you should know

 

The IELTS exam pattern is designed to evaluate you in four different areas- listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

There are two types of IELTS examination: Academic IELTS and General IELTS.

Academic IELTS is necessary for international students and the peoples who want to migrate to any English speaking country needs general IELTS.

The listening and speaking sections are the same for both examinations but there are some differences in the writing and reading section.

The test needs 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete.

  • Listening= 40 minutes (30 minutes test+10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet)
  • Reading= 60 minutes (Here no extra minutes are allocated to transfer your answers to the answer sheet)
  • Writing = 60 minutes.
  • Speaking = 11-15 minutes.

The Listening, Reading, and Writing tests are taken on the same day without any break but depending on your test center Speaking test can be taken up to a week before or after the other tests.

In this article, we will only talk about the test format of Academic IELTS.

 


IELTS Listening Format (30+10 minutes)

Ielts Listening

In the listening test, the test center will provide you with a headphone and you will have to listen to four different recordings. Every section will contain 10 questions each so there will be a total of 40 questions. Each recording will be played only once so you need to answer the questions as you listen.

  • Recording 1 – You will listen to a conversation between two people based on daily life. 
  • Recording 2 – You will listen to a monologue based on the social context. For example, a speech about something. 
  • Recording 3 – You will listen to a conversation between up to four people based on educational or training context. For example, a teacher and students conversation about an assignment. 
  • Recording 4 – You will listen to a monologue based on an academic subject. For example, a lecturer. 

 

Types of questions in the listening section 

Around 6 types of questions may appear in the listening test. These are-

    1. Multiple choice 
    2. Matching 
    3. Plan, map, diagram labelling 
    4. Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion
    5. Sentence completion 
    6. Short answer questions


IELTS Academic Reading Format (60 minutes)

In the reading section, you need to answer 40 questions from three passages. These passages are taken from books, magazines, journals and newspapers. To answer the questions you need to manage your time and read quickly and efficiently. 

The reading test is designed to check your wide range of reading skills, including how efficiently you:

  • Catch the main idea 
  • Read for detail
  • Understand the inference and implied meaning
  • Follow the development of an argument 
  • Understand the general sense of a passage 
  • Also recognize a writer’s opinions, attitude and purpose.

 

Types of questions in Academic Reading section

Around 11 types of questions may appear in a reading test. These are-

    1. Multiple choice 
    2. Identifying information
    3. Identifying the writer’s views/claims 
    4. Matching information
    5. Matching headings 
    6. Matching features 
    7. Matching sentence endings 
    8. Sentence completion
    9. Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion
    10. Diagram label completion
    11. Short answer questions

 


IELTS Academic Writing Format (60 minutes)

Writing

In the writing section, you have been given two tasks (Writing task 1 and task 2), and both of them need to be completed within 60 minutes. These tasks are designed to test your writing skills, and how well you: 

  • Organize your ideas 
  • Write a response properly 
  • Use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately. 

 

Academic Writing Task 1

Here, you are asked to describe some visual information, like Graph, table, charts, diagram, and maps in your own words. You must describe the most important and relevant points in your answer within 150 words. You can leave out some minor points and details. 

You should be careful to manage your time properly. It is wise not to spend more than 20 minutes on task 1. 

You will be severely penalized if you: 

  • Write off-topic
  • Do not compete 150 words.
  • Use bullet points
  • Copy from other sources.
  • Use informal words.

 

Academic Writing Task 2

Here, you need to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should read the given task very carefully and give a full and relevant response. For example, if the topic is about a particular use of a mobile phone, so you should write only about this particular topic without writing the use of mobile phone in general. 

You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task, and you are asked to write at least 250 words. You will not be penalized for writing more than 250 words. 

You will be severely penalized if you: 

  • Write off-topic
  • Do not compete 250 words.
  • Use bullet points
  • Copy from other sources.
  • Use informal words.

 


IELTS Speaking Format (11-15 minutes)

Speaking

This test is designed to assess your ability in communication using the English language. The test is taken in 3 parts. Where the examiner will look for how well you:

  • Organize your ideas.
  • Express and present your opinions.
  • Speak at length on a given topic.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Part-1: Introduction and interview 

In this part, the examiner will ask you some general questions about yourself and other familiar topics, such as family, home, work etc. It’s better to answer the questions using 2 or 3 lines. It will take around 4-5 minutes to complete part 1. 

Part-2: Long turn

In this part, the examiner will give you a task card with a topic written on it. You have to talk on this topic around 1-2 minutes by covering some questions given on this particular topic. You will be given one minute to prepare your talk, and also you are given paper and a pencil so make some notes. This part will take around 3-4 minutes to complete, including the preparation time. 

Part-3: Discussion

In this part, the examiner will ask you some questions related to part 2. Here, you need to answer the questions more elaborately. It will take around 4-5 minutes to complete.