Top Tips for IELTS

Free IELTS listening practice online


This is my selection of the best free practice listening sites for IELTS on the internet. Not all of these are tests are exactly formatted to the IELTS exam but they are excellent for practising your listening skills. The idea is that one of the best ways to improve your IELTS listening is to work on your general listening skills. TED talks can be great practice as can the BBC and VOA sites.

Before you go there may I suggest you check out these pages and resources:

Tips on how to improve your listening skills

How to understand IELTS listening questions

IELTS band score calculator

Download the listening answer sheet




This is the place to start if you haven’t found the test questions already. There aren’t many of them but they will give you an idea of what the test questions are really like.

official IELTS listening practice questions

Exam English

This is easily the best quality IELTS listening practice on the web – apart from the materials from IELTS itself. The quality is 100%.  Below I link to just one of their exercises – try them all.

practice 1 – a form filling exercise

Get a 20% discount on some practice tests

English Practice Tests come highly recommended. The quality of the tests is the same as at Exam English – so you can try before you buy. The even better news is that you can get a 20% discount with this code:

IELTS practice tests


IDP – IELTS Essentials

This is another excellent resource for free IELTS listening practice and is run by IDP. A bonus here is that you also get practice in the different question types:


English Exam Ninja

This is a site recommended below in the comments. There is a good deal of practice here helpfully organised by task type and skills such as listening for synonyms. Click through a few links and you’ll find more:

Listening practice at Exam Ninja

ESOL courses

This is great site for learners and is worth exploring generally. Part of the bonus here is that the courses and exercises are graded by level -something that you don’t normally find in IELTS online. There are quite a few very good IELTS materials here and try this listening practice as a start before you explore more. It’s meant to be quite tough:

landslides listening

Once you’ve done that try their full suite of IELTS materials here:

lots of free IELTS practice


This is a very interesting site to explore. It is very interactive with lots of point and click exercises. I believe these can have real value when done well – and here they are excellent. The only points to note are that there are comparatively few IELTS formatted exercises.

working from home



AA press

This comes from one of the major publishing houses and you can download listening material from their website



This is a quality site with some short listening practice. To navigate to the listening all you have to do is click on the headphones icon

IELTS listening practice

BBC 6 minute English

This is a fantastic resource for IELTS listening – don’t worry too much that the listening isn’t IELTS – it’s still good practice. There is a huge database of  listening podcasts on different subjects which come with typescripts and linked reading texts. This is my explanation of how you can use this resource.

6 minute English

The BBC is an excellent resource for listening and you can also try these resources on their Learning English site:

Lingohack: short news stories with transcript. This is excellent just for listening and understanding.

Words in the News: a similar series now ended but with a huge archive

Voice of America

Like the BBC site this is just for general learning and general listening based on news stories  – bonus you get an American accent!

Voice of America Learning English

Randall”s ESL Cyber Listening Lab

This is another site with lots of listening practice. Further down the page you will find resources for TOEIC and TOEFL, two exams similar to IELTS.

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab


An excellent site altogether. You will find good advice and exercises on academic listening with a particular emphasis on note-taking. The exercises here are not formatted IELTS listening but the skills you will be using are much the same.

lots and lots of note taking activities

E2 language

Here you will need to enter details to get the free IELTS listening practice.

TED – of course

Video is a great way to practice your listening skills. The benefit of the TED is that – unlike most videos – you get an interactive transcript too that you can follow as you listen. The listenings here are similar to the listenings you get in IELTS listening part 4.  A sensible suggestion is to look for talks that are on a  general topic and under 6 minutes in length  and have an interactive transcript. Take this one for example on biodiversity:

TED biodiversity talk


Please let me know if any of these sites “disappears” or you find some good listening practice elsewhere on the net you want to recommend. Many of the sites I originally posted here – from major publishing houses – have now withdrawn all their free material.



Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

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Speaking Guide

Writing Guide

Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

Reading guide

Listening guide

IELTS vocabulary

IELTS grammar

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55 Responses to Free IELTS listening practice online

  1. Steve Chadwick February 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Just to say that all activities at are now completely free.
    A full listening test is available here:

  2. Ramani August 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    i need more ielts materials regarding speaking,and task 2 essays

    • hed April 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm #


      • Anonymous July 17, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

        just choose any topic and discuss with tour friends it may boost your speaking potential with using the latest words and jargon words

  3. julia December 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    i need more stuff about ielts listening test.any website recomended for free test or exercises?

    • Dominic Cole December 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

      I’m in the process of updating my links. I should be posting more within the next week or so. For now the best place to start is British Council- China. You’ll find the links on my listening page.

      To be a teacher for a moment, I would add that what matters is the quality of the practice as much as the quantity. Make sure you go over each listening 2/3 times to see how it works.

    • hazem March 29, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      could we practice speaking together?

    • Emilio May 13, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      It has some good listening, reading, and grammar quizzes.

  4. mary July 26, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Dear Dominic, Thank you very much.

  5. dr ayman July 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    i am writing to say thank uuuuu very very very much for such a great effort done to help people preparing for ielts…thank u and i hope to make anything for u.

  6. ruslan October 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    This is fantastic source.

  7. m3oda December 7, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    All the OUP files are broken , I have tried them before but they no linger work ,, thanks already

  8. m3oda December 7, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    sorry not the files themselves but the links

    • Dominic Cole December 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I had a look and it appears that OUP (the Masterclass people) have changed their system. There is now an online system with a short sample that I have added the link to.

  9. Elize February 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Hello! My problems are listening and reading in a IELTS test. I can not control time in reading. I can just finish 2 passage in reading.
    I have been living in London for 8 months. But my english is not good. I need 7 scores in IELTS. How can i improve them?

    • Dominic Cole February 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      You need to work on your skimming and scanning skills in reading for sure. This means that you don’t concentrate on reading every word but learn to look for where you cn find the answers first and then read that part of the text in detail.

    • qadeer September 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      hi this is my skype id u add me i will help u and guide u

      • Mohammed Nazeeruddin March 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm #


        I need your help please for IELTS.


    • Harnarinder Singh Sidhu December 28, 2014 at 5:04 am #

      Concentrate on quality rather than quantity… it will definitely help you to control your mind presure… then slowly you can manage your time problem…. e.g; thought, you have only 33or 34 ques. To do first… n ans. The remainung ques. With just guess….. but try to make sure your 30 ques. Have to be right out of thirty.

  10. vijaya May 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I need listening practice tests to get good band in ielts

  11. Thankful person July 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Thank you sooo much Mr.Dominic! 🙂
    I’m hoping to score really well in my upcoming IELTS exam with your guidance!
    Danke 😉

  12. Navin February 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I need listening practice tests to get good band in ielts. I have no sufficient material for IELTS. so please help regarding my problem.
    Thank You.

    • Dominic Cole February 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      Some listening coming next week I hope.

      • IBRAHEEM October 20, 2014 at 10:12 am #


        • Dominic Cole October 21, 2014 at 12:06 am #

          Sorry this question is too general for me to answer.

  13. Divyasri June 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Hello sir, im divya.. im going take my IELTS exam in the next month, give some suggestions and tips to score well.

  14. zquiet June 21, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly enjoyed
    every bit of it. I’ve got you bookmarked to check out new things you post…

  15. sandeep kumar July 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    i have need 6.05 by hook or by crook,,now i hve enough problem in listening, even i also have left only few days in exam,,so please could you help me that how can i improve it

  16. an Iranian person July 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Thank u for your great website.I utilize your information.

  17. buy melanotan 2 July 31, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    Appreciate some other beneficial site. The place else could I am that type of information printed in a real excellent method? I own a objective that we are only right now doing work about, so i are actually in the check for like facts.

  18. Sasireka October 19, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    Hi pls help me for ielts Reading writing listening and speaking my english average not Good Tell how to learn good vocabulary

  19. IELTSforFREE December 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Hi Dominic – this is an excellent resource for self access learners!

    Would you mind adding our site to your list? It’s – we have complete practice tests and a lot of other free resources for IELTS that will help your visitors.



    • Dominic Cole March 1, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Sorry I have only just found this. Will do.

    • IBRAHEEM October 20, 2014 at 10:14 am #


  20. Roshna Rachel January 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    I want to join this team to improve my scores

  21. Adil March 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm #


    I need partner for improve my listning skills,
    skype id: miaadil

    is anyonye who has interset can come there.


    • Dominic Cole March 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

      Hi Adil

      I am going to try to add a find an IELTS friend forum quite soon. I hope that helps.

  22. elearner March 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Hie Dominic

    I have one question regarding the maps.I noticed how when the narrator mentioned directions i.e (left or right),he was referring to his left and not mine.This was not a problem as I managed to follow given instructions without any difficulty.

    I’ve also come across maps which were much complicated than this one and I always get confused because what is said to be at the right side is actually on my left.This sadly results in me failing to answer a lot of questions.

    Is this always going to be the case? but How best do you suggest I tackle this problem without confusing myself?

    Any suggestions from anyone will be greatly appreciated
    Thanks in advance

    • Dominic Cole March 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm #


      You should find that if you get a map type task that at the very beginning the “narrator’ will clearly state where you are – this is a part you need to concentrate on. The idea is that in any listening exercise you are not concentrating 100% all the time – do that and your brain will burn out. You want to try and focus 100% when something important is coming up and then let fade out ever so slightly until you know another question is coming.

      The hard bit is knowing when to concentrate most. This is where “key word” strategy does help – you identify words that tell you where the answer is coming. In your situation,you just need to use the same skill at the beginning – understand that the “narrator” is going to tell you where you are and what direction you are looking in

      I do understand your problem. Let me think on it and see if I can see another solution.

      • Anonymous November 27, 2014 at 6:19 am #

        Thank you

  23. elearner March 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    sorry about the typing error,lets pretend the “but” in line 7 is not there 🙂

    • Dominic Cole March 20, 2014 at 7:06 am #

      ;-). Yes, if only because there are a shameful number of typos on this site. Mostly, because of a predictive typing system, but that is a poor excuse. Do let me know if you see any of mine.

  24. Mohammed Nazeeruddin March 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm #


    I will be giving my IELTS in a couple of months and I need your very important help.

    Please contact me to my email address please.

  25. Yuriy September 10, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Excellent selection, Dominic! Thank you so much. That is a great contribution in other people development!

  26. teebabs May 30, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    Hello. Will be writing ielts soon. Would like to join a group with same interest in getting a high band score. Pls contact me

    • Joo January 19, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

      Yes sure

  27. Amala Mathew September 28, 2015 at 11:13 am #


    Please help me to improve ma ielts score. I would like to migrate canada, ielts i want 7 score. But ma ielts score is 6in intividual and 6.5 in overall. I want to improve ma speeking reading and listening score… please give me some usefull websites… please help me…

  28. Joo January 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    Searching for ielts mate to practice speaking

  29. vishal February 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    Hello, can you provide link for practise for listening part and writing section? I will require for practise.

  30. mirflag May 13, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I attempted and got 4.5 score which is not satisfactory for my purpose. it was good in reading, writing, but i need to improve listening and speaking. if any tricks from some1 would be helpful.


  31. hitesh September 19, 2016 at 5:14 am #

    Sir….I need listening material. Or any free site For LRW please help e Sir
    My email id…..

  32. MD March 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    I need musch more practice tests to be reday for IELTS.
    What should I do?
    Tanx so much

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