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IELTS Listening Introduction

Source: Rachel Mitchell


The Listening test is the first module of the IELTS test. All IELTS students take the same listening test. So, if you’re taking academic IELTS or general training IELTS, you all take the same test, the same questions, the same format, and the same scoring.
It takes approximately 30 minutes , then candidates are given an extra 10 minutes at the end to transfer their answers from their Question Booklet to their Answer Sheet.
There are 4 sections with 10 questions each (40 questions). The first two sections are the easiest; they are social. That means the context of the situation is a social situation (an everyday situation) and the last two sections are more difficult, they are academic in content.
The recording is heard only once. Ensure you listen carefully. If you miss something, there’s no second chance. That means you really are multitasking during this listening test. You need to listen to the recording, read the questions and at the same time write down your answers. It can be quite difficult and it’s something that you do need to practice.
Test gets more difficult as it continues.
There are a total of 40 questions , with 10 questions per section. A variety of tasks that may be presented in the Listening test (e.g., Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Form Completion, sentence completion, labeling diagrams, etc…).
Candidates are given time to read the questions before they listen and time to check their answers after they listen.
Candidates must use a pencil to write answers on the Answer Sheet because it is scanned by a computer. That’s the same as the IELTS reading test.



The scores are calculated by the number of correct answers you have. There are 40 questions which is equivalent to 40 points . Each time
you get a correct answer, you get a point. That is how your band scores are calculated.
You have to follow the Instructions exactly (e.g. must stay within word/number limit).
Spelling and grammar must be correct (e.g. singular or plural; use the correct form of the words) . You will lose marks if you misspell a word or if you put a word in the wrong grammatical form. Of course, when you’re listening, you don’t have time to think about spelling. However, at the end of your test, you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. That is the time for you to pay attention to spelling. Pay attention to your spelling, capital letters, and check the grammar. Use the ten minutes for transferring answers wisely.

Here is a list of difficult words. Try to practice spelling them correctly.
1. quite and quiet
2. choose and choice
3. business
4. address
5. questionnaire
6. government
7. environment
8. career
9. necessary

The scores for band score five, six, seven and eight
Band 5.5
= 20 – 22 correct answers.
Band 6.0 = 23 – 26 correct answers.
Band 6.5 = 27 – 29 correct answers.
Band 7.0 = 30 – 32 correct answers.
Band 7.5 = 33 – 34 correct answers.
Band 8.0 = 35 – 37 correct answers.
Band 8.5 = 38 – 39 correct answers.



1. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS: This type of question asks you to choose the correct answer or answers from a list of three or four choices.

To help you predict answers to Multiple Choice questions, you need to look at the key words in the answer choices to identify:
Similar answers: similar sounding words; one word differences; differences in time and tense.
Similar sounding words: Usually with numbers. They sound very similar when spoken.

2. COMPLETION QUESTIONS: In Completion questions, information is missing in one of the following:
A sentence, a form, a table, a flow chart and a summary paragraph.

3. SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS: Short Answer questions are usually questions that begin with question words, such as:
· What?
· Why?
· Where?
· When?
· Who?
· How much?
· How many?
· How often?
These words give clues about the type of answer you should be listening for, such as a name, an amount of money, a distance, a place, a time or a reason.


The diagram could be:
– Man-made object such as a camera
A natural object
A map of a building or a city