Top Tips for IELTS

IELTS Listening

Map of the IELTS listening test

IELTS listening map

Key points

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

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

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

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

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

Types of question

There are 6 types of question:

  1. multiple choice
  2. selection
  3. short answers – video lesson
  4. sentence completion
  5. labelling a map/diagram
  6. 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

10 key listening lessons to improve your IELTS listening score

The best advice is to practise the following skills for the listening test. It was bad advice just to do lost of practice tests.

Listening to names and addresses 

Using your preparation time well

Listening for key words

Listening and spelling and note-taking

Avoiding distractor questions

Dealing with multiple choice questions

Listening to a map

Listening for directions

Following a lecture

Listening to two people discussing training

Better IELTS listening skills

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

Band score calculator

Calculate your approximate band score in the listening test

Interactive band score calculator

Just get all my listening lessons

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