IELTS Listening is the first skill assessed in the IELTS test. This test will be the same for both IELTS Academic and General Training test takers. During this test, the test takers/ students must answer 40 questions for the four recordings that will be played in IELTS Listening. Each recording of the test is distinguished as a part, and each part will have 10 questions
This question in this test will evaluate your following abilities:
- Ability to understand main ideas and detailed factual information.
- Ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of the speaker
- Ability to understand the purpose of the speech and expressions
- Ability to understand the development of ideas with the flow of speech
Test Duration: 30-40 minutes
The time for the IELTS Listening test is 30 minutes. In these 30 minutes, you will listen to all four recordings and are required to answer the questions within the given time. However, if you are a Paper-based IELTS Listening test taker, you will be given extra 10 minutes for transferring all the answers to the answer booklet. This will sum up the given 40 minutes.
The extra 10 minutes isn’t given to the Computer-based IELTS Listening test takers.
It is important that the test-takers answer the questions as they listen to the recordings. The recording is played only once, so the test takers must focus avidly.
IELTS listening has 4 sections, in each section, you will hear a recording for which you are required to answer 10 questions. There are a variety of test question types that will be further discussed in this very blog. The recordings played will be voiced by Native English language speakers and might have an accent of any Native English-speaking country.
- Recording 1 – You will hear a conversation between two people set in an everyday social setting.
- Recording 2– You will a recording of a monologue set in an everyday social setting.
- Recording 3– You will hear a conversation between a group of people set in an academic setting. The group will consist of three or four people.
- Recording 4– You will hear a recording of a monologue in an academic setting.
While listening to the recordings, as a test taker you are required to answer a series of questions in IELTS Listening, 10 for each recording and 40 overall. There are several questions a test taker must answer and the test taker will be presented with various types of questions. As a prepared IELTS test taker/student, you must know how to tackle every question type.
Question types in IELTS:
For Multiple Choice, a question will be asked with one or more than one correct answer. The test taker must study or read the instructions carefully and check whether the multiple-choice questions is requiring you to answer one correct answer or more. The test taker might be asked a question or to complete a sentence.
If there is only one correct answer, you will be given the beginning of a sentence and three possible answers for choice. Here you are given the choice of A, B, or C.
If there are multiple answers, you will be given a long list of possible answers and the test takers must choose more than one answer for the question.
The test taker must answer as per the Instructions specified, if you are asked to choose one answer, only one answer must be chosen. But if you are required to answer more than one answer, the test taker must choose more than one answer.
The answer should be a letter, not a word. The answer you write must be a letter that is equivalent to the answer. If the test taker writes a word instead of a letter, the answer will be marked Wrong.
For example, if your answer is B. Chemistry. You should write the letter B instead of writing Chemistry as your answer.
A wide range of skills are tested in the Multiple Choice, here the test taker is required to have a detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main points of the listening text.
The matching test in IELTS Listening requires the test taker to match a number of items from the listening text to a set of options that are given. Options and a list of items are given, and the test taker is required to carefully listen to the listening text and match the appropriate options to the list of items.
Read the instructions carefully, as there are guidelines for answering the questions. If the instructions require you to answer the question in a letter, you must answer with a letter.
The answer should be a letter, not a word. The answer you write must be a letter that is equivalent to the answer. If the test taker writes a word instead of a letter, the answer will be marked wrong.
This question will assess the skill of listening for detail in a test taker. Here, a test taker’s capacity to understand the information in a given conversation is assessed, it also assesses the test taker’s ability to recognize relations and connections, and ability to follow a conversation between two people.
Plan, Map, Diagram Labelling
In this IELTS Listening question type, the test taker is required to complete labels on a plan, map, or diagram. The plans, maps, and diagrams can be of many things you may be presented with a plan of a building, a map of a city, or a diagram of a part of a machine, the test taker must be able to complete labelling the diagram. The possible answers might be given on a list or you must select them from the recording itself.
If the instruction requires you to answer in the letter, the answers must be written in a letter, not a word. . If the test taker writes a word instead of a letter, the answer will be marked Wrong.
The test question will assess the test taker’s ability to understand and follow instructive language expressing spatial relations and directions.
Form, Note, Table, Flowchart, Summary completion
For completing this task, the test taker is required to fill in the missing information on a form, a set of notes, a table, a summary, or a flowchart. You might be provided with a list of possible answers or will need to identify the words from the recording itself.
- Form: In this question, the test taker is required to fill out a form like an application, booking, or order form. The recording will often be a phone recording ordering, booking, or requesting information about something.
- Set of Notes: In this question, you will hear a university lecture and will be provided with incomplete lecture notes. Here the test taker needs to fill in the missing points based on the lecture.
- Table: In this question, the test taker is required to fill in the missing information on the table, the question will often ask to categorize things such as place, time, and price.
- Flowchart: Here the test taker is asked to complete the chart of a process, a plan, or a sequence of past events. The missing words might be given on a list or you must select them from the recording itself.
- Summary: In this question, the test taker is required to fill in the word to complete a paragraph that summarises the listening passage. You will need to fill in words based on what you hear.
You must read the instructions very carefully and answer the questions according to the requirements. If the instructions say “No more than two words”, writing more than two words will be penalized.
The test will assess the test taker’s ability to focus on the main points which would be naturally recorded in the provided situation.
For sentence completion, the test taker is required to read a set of sentences summarizing key information from the entire listening test or apart from it. Then, the test taker must fill in the gap with sentences using information from the recording.
In this test, a word limit is usually given, “No More than One word and/or a Number”. Be careful following the instructions, as failing to do so will result in a penalty.
This task assesses the test taker’s ability to identify the key information in a listening test and the ability to understand functional relationships such as; cause and effects.
In this IELTS Listening question type, the test taker needs to read a question and give a short answer using information from the recording.
The test taker should be able to answer a question within a certain word limit, which will be mentioned in the instructions. Distractors are commonly used during this test to trick the test taker.
This task assesses the test taker’s ability to listen for concrete facts.
In IELTS Listening, you are required to answer 40 questions, each question values 1 mark. So, for every correct answer, you give you will get a point. However, you do not lose a point if your answers are incorrect, so do answers all the questions as instructed. Now the total point you gained will be converted into IELTS Listening band scores.
Here is a scoring chart for the total correct answers and their equivalent band scores.
Here, if you answer 35 questions correctly, you will receive a Band Score of 8 in your IELTS Listening test.
Tips for IELTS Listening
- Do not open the question paper until you are told to do so. It is not allowed for test-takers to go through the questions before the test starts.
- Your name and candidate number should be written in the spaces at the top.
- Check if your headphones are working properly or not. You can check the headphones when the example is being played. If your headphones are not working properly, then can request for the problem to be fixed.
- Listen to the instructions for each test carefully, the instructions will guide you with the requirements of the answers.
- Listen to the recordings carefully, each recording will be played only once. If you miss an answer, don’t worry about it and directly move on to the next question. There is no time for you to catch up, or else you might lose other answers as well.
- Write your answers as you listen to the recording. It is allowed to write in your question paper.
- Use a pencil to write your answers on the answer sheet.
- You can write the answers in Capital letters or Lowercase. But you will need to stay with whichever one you choose. If you choose to write in Capital letters, all the answers in the test must be written in capital letters, you cannot change while you write your answer. Similarly, all the answers should be written in lowercase if you choose to write in the lowercase except for names or places, or any words that require capitalizations.
- Read or study the instruction in the question paper carefully, it will guide you for the requirements of the answers. The instructions might change with every question, so you must read the instructions for each question. If you write three words when the instructions say “No more than two words”, your answer would be incorrect.
- All words and numbers are counted. If you write “a mountain”, this will be counted as two words. If you write hyphenated words like “right-side”, it will be counted as one word. For numbers 30,000 or 2 both are considered one number each.
- Be careful with your spellings, if the spellings are incorrect your answer would be marked
- Write ‘words’ or ‘letters’ as instructed. The test taker is given instructions for every question, and the question will instruct whether a word or a letter is to be written as an answer. Usually, in Multiple choice questions, the test taker is required to write a letter as the answer, but if the test taker writes a word, the answer would be marked incorrect.
- You are looking for answers, it is not necessary to understand everything. But you need to be careful as the answer might change midway in the conversation. Make notes for your answers. The immediate answer you hear might not be the correct answer when the recording is completed.
- Prepare for your questions and answers. Before the recording starts you will be given a certain time for preparing for a number of questions and answers, the time is quite short but you must utilize the time to find out what answers you are looking for. The answers would not come spontaneously one after another, so prepare during the given time.
- Listen for possible paraphrasing. The answer might not come directly as per the questions, you need to be careful as the answers might be paraphrased.
- Look out for common traps, when a keyword is used frequently in the recording, the test taker might get confused, about where to look for the answer, or when the answer is frequently changed; finding the correct answer is hard. So, the test taker must listen avidly to find the correct answer.
- If you miss an answer, or if you don’t know the answer- GUESS! IELTS mark you for every correct answer, so it is rather better to guess for the correct answer than leave an empty space. You won’t lose a point for a wrong answer.
Preparing for IELTS Listening
- Practice as much as you can.
- Practice listening to a variety of accents. IELTS is an international test, the accents in the recording can be any accent; British, Australian, or American.
- Train yourself to write as you listen. In the IELTS Listening test, you will be multitasking, you will have to read, write and listen at the same time.
- Train yourself to maintain focus, this test requires you to focus throughout the test. There are chances of losing answers if you cannot focus during the test.
- Sample tests. Take as many sample tests as you can, there are free sample tests available on the internet as well.
- Get familiar with all the question types and the format. Practice tackling each question type.
- Practice finding keywords, paraphrasing, and looking out for tricks and traps. The answers will not be given as is with the same sentence with the question. The answer might be paraphrased. There are some common traps used in the test to deviate you from the correct answer, practice so you can tackle such common traps.
We hope our “IELTS Listening” blog helped you with every aspect the IELTS Listening part covers. Also, learn everything about IELTS. If you have queries regarding IELTS Listening, feel free to comment on this blog or you can contact/visit Gurubaa.