Explanations » IELTS » IELTS – Exam 1 – Listening
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  • IELTS Listening Test

    The listening part of the IELTS exam is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and consists of 4 sections. Each section includes 1 recording and 10 questions, totalling  4 recordings and 40 questions. You can hear each recording only once. You have 30 minutes to complete the test, plus 10 minutes extra time to copy your answers if you are taking the paper-based test or 2 minutes for the computer-based test.

    The four sections of the IELTS Listening Test

    • Section 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context, such as someone booking a hotel room or flight tickets, buying a car or house, or asking for travel information.
    • Section 2: A monologue or speech normally set in an everyday social context, for example, someone showing people around some premises or facilities.
    • Section 3: A conversation or discussion between two to four people in an educational or training context, like a conversation with a school counsellor or a discussion between a student and a professor.
    • Section 4: monologue on an academic subject, such as a teacher giving a lecture or a student giving a presentation.

    Types of questions

    The test includes 14 different types of questions, which assess various listening skills. Here’s a brief overview and some strategic tips for each:

    1. Multiple ChoiceChoose the correct answer from several given options.

    • Listen for keywords and synonyms that relate to the choices provided.
    • Focus on distinguishing between similar-sounding options by noting specific details.

    2. MatchingLink information from the recording to a list of options.

    • Pay attention to specific details mentioned in the dialogue or monologue to make accurate matches.
    • Look for key terms and phrases as you listen.

    3. Map & Plan LabellingLabel various parts of a map or plan based on the audio details.

    • Understand the layout from the start and anticipate the types of words needed (directions, locations).
    • Use landmarks or key points mentioned to assist in placing labels accurately.

    4. Note CompletionFill in missing words or phrases in a set of notes.

    • Concentrate on capturing the main points and specific details as they are mentioned.
    • Keep track of the information flow to fill the gaps correctly.

    5. Form CompletionComplete a form using information heard in the recording.

    • Listen for clear details like names, dates, and numbers crucial for filling in the form.
    • Be ready to write down information as you hear it to avoid missing out on details.

    6. Table CompletionFill in missing information in a table format from the listening text.

    • Understand the categories in the table and what type of information fits each category.
    • Focus on segments of the recording that discuss similar topics or data as the table requires.

    7. Sentence CompletionComplete sentences with the correct words based on the listening text.

    • Listen for exact phrases or paraphrases that complete the sentences logically and grammatically.
    • Anticipate the type of word needed (noun, verb, adjective) based on the sentence structure.

    8. Summary CompletionFill in the blanks within a summary of the audio.

    • Focus on the overall message of the recording to choose words that fit the context of the summary.
    • Identify key words or themes in the recording that are likely to appear in the summary.

    9. Diagram & Flowchart CompletionLabel or filling in missing parts of a diagram or flowchart as described in the audio.

    • Visualize the process or object being described to understand where labels might fit.
    • Pay attention to sequential and descriptive clues in the dialogue that indicate what goes where.

    10. Short-answer QuestionsAnswer questions with a word or short phrase directly from the listening text.

    • Listen closely to details that directly answer the questions posed.
    • Keep answers concise and to the point, using the exact words or phrases from the audio when possible.

    Scoring the IELTS Listening Test

    Each correct answer earns you one mark. The total number of correct responses is your raw score, which is then converted into the IELTS band score. It is crucial to attempt all questions as there is no penalty for wrong answers.

    Band Correct Answers
    Band 9 39-40
    Band 8.5 37-38
    Band 8 35-36
    Band 7.5 32-34
    Band 7 30-31
    Band 6.5 26-29
    Band 6 23-25
    Band 5.5 18-22
    Band 5 16-17
    Band 4.5 13-15
    Band 4 10-12

    Important Tip During the Exam

    Before each recording starts, make sure to read all the questions carefully. The questions contain key information about the topics that will be discussed. If you know the questions before the recording begins, it will be easier to identify the relevant information during the listening. This way, you can pay more attention to the recording and you won’t have to keep looking back at the questions.

    Tips on how to prepare for IELTS Listening Test

    Regular Practice: Consistently practice listening to English in different contexts – movies, news, podcasts, etc.

    Listen to Different English Accents: Practice listening to English spoken in various accents since the exam includes a range of accents.

    Practice Different Types of Listening: The exam includes different types of listening tasks like conversations, announcements, or monologues. Try listening to similar types of audio in your practice.

    Understand the Question Types: Familiarize yourself with the types of questions you might encounter, such as multiple-choice or sentence completion.

    Listen for Key Details: Pay attention to specific information, attitudes, opinions, and main ideas in the audio clips.

    Practice Notetaking: While listening, jot down key points and details. This will help you remember important information.

    Improve Your Vocabulary: A broader vocabulary will help you understand a variety of topics better.

    Use Authentic Materials: Listen to authentic English materials that cover a range of subjects and situations, similar to those in the exam.

    Simulate Exam Conditions: Try practicing under exam-like conditions to get used to the format and time constraints.

    Review and Reflect: After practicing, review your answers and understand where you went wrong to improve in those areas.