What’s in the IELTS Listening test?

The Listening test has four sections, with ten questions in each section. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on.

Sections 1 and 2 deal with everyday, social situations. There is a conversation between two speakers in Section 1 (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements). Only one person speaks in Section 2 (for example, a speech about local facilities).

 

Sections 3 and 4 deal with educational and training situations. In Section 3 there is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, two university students in discussion, perhaps guided by a tutor). In Section 4 only one person speaks on an academic subject.

 

You will hear the recordings once only. Different accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand and North American, are used.

 

You will need to transfer your answers to an answer sheet. You will have 10 minutes at the end of the test to do this. You should be careful when writing your answers on the answer sheet because you will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

Summary

 

Time allowed:Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet)
Number of sections:4
Number of questions:40
Marking:Each correct answer receives 1 mark. 
Your final score is given as a band score in whole or half bands, e.g. 5.5 or 7.0.
Types of question

Question Type 1 – Multiple choice 

What’s involved?This type of question may be a question with three possible answers or the first half of a sentence with three possible sentence endings. You have to choose one correct answer, A, B or C, then write the correct letter on the answer sheet.

 

Sometimes you are given a longer list of possible answers and you have to choose more than one answer. You should read the question carefully to check how many answers you need to choose.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question tests many listening skills, e.g. a detailed understanding of specific points, or general understanding of the main points of the recording.

 

How many questions are there?Variable.

 

Question Type 2 – Matching

 

What’s involved?In this type of question, you have to match a list of items from the recording to a list of options on the question paper, then write the correct letter on the answer sheet.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question tests your ability to:

 

  • – listen for detailed information. For example, whether you can understand information about the type of hotel or guest house accommodation in an everyday conversation
  • – follow a conversation between two people
  • – recognise how facts in the recording are connected to each other.
How many questions are there?Variable.

 

Question Type 3 – Plan/map/diagram labelling

 

What’s involved?In this type of question, you have to complete labels on a visual which may be:

 

  • – a diagram (e.g. a piece of equipment)
  • – a set of pictures
  • – a plan (e.g. of a building)
  • – a map (e.g. of part of a town). 

You may have to: 

  • – select your answers from a list on the question paper, then write the correct letter on the answer sheet
  • – select words from the recording which fit into gaps on the question paper. In this case, you will need to keep to the word limit given in the instructions. You do not have to change the words in the recording in any way.

 

You should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers you may use to fill the gaps can change. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. You will lose the mark for writing more than the word limit. Contracted words such as ‘they’re’ will not be tested. Hyphenated words such as ‘check-in’ count as single words.

Write the words that fit into the gap on the answer sheet.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question tests your ability to understand, for example, a description of a place, and how this description relates to the visual. It may also test your ability to understand explanations of where things are and follow directions (e.g. straight on/through the far door).

 

How many questions are there?Variable.

 

Question Type 4 – Form/note/table/flow chart/summary completion

 

What’s involved?In this type of question, you have to fill in gaps in an outline of part or all of the recording. The outline will focus on the main ideas/facts in the recording and may be:

 

– a form: often used for facts, such as names

  • – a set of notes: used to summarise information and show how different points relate to one another
  • – a table: used to summarise information that can be divided into clear categories, e.g. place/time/price
  • – a flow chart: used to summarise the stages in a process, with the direction of the process shown by arrows.

You may have to:

  • – select your answers from a list on the question paper, then write the correct letter on the answer sheet
  • – select words from the recording which fit into gaps on the question paper. In this case, you will need to keep to the word limit given in the instructions. You do not have to change the words in the recording in any way.

You should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers you may use to fill the gaps can change. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. You will lose the mark for writing more than the word limit. Contracted words such as ‘they’re’ will not be tested. Hyphenated words such as ‘check-in’ count as single words. 

 

Write the words that fit into the gap on the answer sheet.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question focuses on the main points the person listening would naturally write down.
How many questions are there?Variable.

 

Question Type 5 – Sentence completion

 

What’s involved?In this type of question, you have to read sentences that summarise important information from either all of the listening text or from one part of it. You have to fill in a gap in each sentence using information from the recording.

 

You should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers you may use to fill the gaps can change. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. You will lose the mark for writing more than the word limit. Contracted words such as ‘they’re’ will not be tested. Hyphenated words such as ‘check-in’ count as single words. 

Write the words that fit into the gap on the answer sheet.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question focuses on your ability to identify the important information in a recording. You may also need to understand relationships between ideas/facts/events, such as cause and effect.

 

How many questions are there?Variable.

 

Question Type 6 – Short-answer questions

 

What’s involved?In this type of question, you have to read a question and write a short answer using information from the recording. 

You should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers you may use to fill the gaps can change. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. You will lose the mark for writing more than the word limit. Contracted words such as ‘they’re’ will not be tested. Hyphenated words such as ‘check-in’ count as single words.

Write your answer on the answer sheet. 

Sometimes you are given a question which asks you to write two or three different answers.

 

What skills are tested?This type of question focuses on your ability to listen for facts, such as places, prices or times, heard in the recording.

 

How many questions are there?Variable.

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  1. September 24, 2015

    […] What’s in the IELTS Listening test? […]

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