Overview of IELTS Listening Test

On this page, you can find all the necessary information about the IELTS Listening test and learn how the IELTS Listening test is scored, listening tips and strategies to improve your listening skills.

Information about the IELTS Listening test:

IELTS Listening test is to assess your listening abilities. This module is the same for Academic and General IELTS. However, the computer-delivered is slightly different from the paper-based.

Paper-based listening test:

The Listening module takes 40 minutes: 30 min for testing and 10 min for transferring your answers to the answer sheet.

Computer-delivered listening test:

The Listening module takes 30 to 34 minutes in the computer version at the end of the Listening test. You will have only 2 minutes to check your answers.

IELTS Listening consists of four parts:

  • Part1: conversation between 2 speakers about everyday situations
  • Part 2: a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
  • Part 3: a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
  • Part 4: a monologue on academic subject

IELTS Listening score

A Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the Listening test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole bands and half bands.

One mark is awarded for each correct answer in the 40-item test. Care should be taken when writing answers on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalised.

Raw score
(out of 40)

39-40

37-38

35-36

32-34

30-31

26-29

23-25

18-22

16-17

13-15

10-12

8-10

6-7

4-5

Band score

9

8.5

8

7.5

7

6.5

6

5.5

5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

Types of questions on IELTS Listening Module:

  • multiple choice
  • short-answer questions
  • sentence completion
  • notes, summary, plan, diagram, table or chart completion
  • labelling a diagram which has numbered parts
  • classification
  • matching

How to prepare for IELTS Listening?

The key point in preparation for IELTS Listening test is practice.

  • The recordings are heard only once. They include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian. So, it’s a good strategy to listen to English speakers as often as you can.
  • You may watch your favourite TV programs in English, listen and translate English songs, watch English YouTube videos of native speakers.
  • Most importantly, you should complete IELTS Listening practice tests and analyse your mistakes.
  • After that, you should complete IELTS Listening exercises for different types of IELTS Listening questions. This way you'll develop your techniques for answering various types of Listening questions.
  • At least, take 10 Listening tests of Cambridge version before your book the exam and ensure you're scoring what you require.
  • Also, you can read IELTS Listening tips that will help you to gain a better score.

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