Map of the IELTS listening test
around 30 minutes
10 questions per section
questions get harder later in test
10 minutes at end to fill out answer sheet
Understanding IELTS listening
Easy to harder
The questions start off easy with listening to in a social context (like checking in at a hotel) and get slowly harder until you get to an academic lecture
One people and two people speaking
Note also that you must listen to both one and two people speaking - this can make it harder It is important that you spell all the answers correctly - any wrongly spelled answers are marked as wrong
Time to read the questions first
You are given time before each section to read the questions
You should use this time to think about what you are going to listen to and think what the answers might be
Time at the end to fill out the answer sheet
You are given 10 minutes at the end of the test to fill out your newer sheet - use this time to make sure your answers are correctly spelled and grammatically correct
Learn the types of question
A smart way to prepare is to learn the different types of question. There are 6:
- multiple choice
- short answers - video lesson
- sentence completion
- labelling a map/diagram
- form completion
You should practice each type of question.
Note you need to write down answers to the questions types 3-6,while you only need to select the correct alternatives in types 1 and 2
Download and learn how to fill out the answer sheet
Some FAQs and their answers
Q: Can I use a pen?
A: No you must use a pencil
Q: What happens if I make a mistake?
A: You erase and write the new answer
Q: Does spelling matter?
A: Yes. But both US and UK are allowed
Q: Must I use capital letters?
A: No. But it is a good idea if your writing is bad
Q: What about dates?
A: Different formats are fine. For October 25 1965 you can write
25 10 1965
October 25th 1965
25th October 1965
Q: Does grammar matter?
A: Yes. If the answer is computer then computers may be wrong. You need to be particularly careful in sentence completion questions.
IELTS listening toolkit - 10 lessons to improve your score
My best advice is to practise the following skills for the listening test:
IELTS band score calculator for listening
In a hurry? Get my quick IELTS listening tips
What are the skills you need in IELTS listening?
The key skills you need for IELTS listening are:
- ability to predict answers
- understand the context
- ability to recognise words
- ability to understand paraphrase (the meanings of words)
- ability to follow signpost language especially in a lecture
- ability to listen to two people talking together
- good spelling
Some of my older listening lessons
How to avoid mistakes in IELTS listening - video lesson that focuses on key word strategy
Get some online listening practice
These are some of the video listening exercises I post on my FB page. Videos can make great practice.