Everything You Need To Know about IELTS Listening

Everything You Need To Know about IELTS Listening:

The IELTS test format is such that the IELTS listening module is the first test you take on the day of the written exam. It takes 30 to 35 minutes to complete the test.During the test atape is played for you to write the answers. You will be given a question paper and an answer sheet to complete the test. The tape is played only once and hence you must answer all the questions in the question paper simultaneously while listening. You will be given 10 minutes to transfer all your answers into the answer sheet after the tape stops playing.

The Listening module is divided into 4 sections. The first two sections concern social matters. In this you will have to listen to an informal or semi-informal conversation between two people and a monologue. For example, you might hear a discussion about a schedule of the classes being conducted in a university, or you might hear someone making a complaint with the receptionist, or you could hear someone talking about restaurantsor someone describing the rules or regulations in a hostel. The next two sections are concerned with situations related to education or training. You will hear a formal conversation with up to four speakers and also a monologue in the form of a lecture or a talk. The conversation could be between students discussing a lecture or planning something for class, along with a classroom lecture.

As the test begins, you will be given a brief introduction of each section. Instructions will also be given to answer all the questions in an order. You will then be given 30 seconds time to look at the questions in the question paper before the tape starts playing.

The Listening module has 40 questions in total and about 10 questions in each section. The level of difficulty of each text and question will increase as the test progresses. You will be awarded 1 mark for each correct answer. After the test, your result will be converted into a score which corresponds to one of the bands from 1-9 which is then seen on your result sheet. Whole or a half band can be awarded in the listening section.

There are many types of tasks in the Listening module of the IELTS exam.

  • Multiple Choice
  • Short-answer questions
  • Sentence completion
  • Notes/table/summary flow-chart/diagram completion
  • Labelling a diagram
  • Classification


  1. Multiple Choice questions

You will come across three types of multiple choice questions in the IELTS listening exam.

  1. Questions with only 1 possible answer.
  2. Questions with multiple answers and are scored only one mark.
  3. Questions with multiple answers which are scored 1 mark each.

To answer these questions, you have to first read the instructions carefully to check how many options must be selected in the given 30 seconds. Then skim the questions and the answer choices quickly before the recording begins. Understand the topic to decide what kind of information you need to look out for. Answer the questions as you listen to the recording. Circle the letters that you. The information will be given in the same order as the questions, although it might be expressed differently. Make notes beside the question if you are not sure of the answer, so you can go back later to answer them. Never leave any questions unanswered.

  1. Short answer questions


These questions look for general information and specific details which can be found by listening to the tape. You are supposed toanswer in not more than three words. So, you can answer with one word, two words or three words but no more.


To answer these questions, first read the instructions carefully. Then skim the questions quickly to underline the key words. Understand the context to decide what you have to look for in the recording. Lookout for question words like ‘where’ and ‘who’ which specify you should listen for specific things like places and people. Remember to answer the questions as you listen.


  • Sentence completion questions


In these questions, you have to complete the end of a sentence or insert a word or phrase in the middle of a sentence. The sentences may also be in a table. Your answer should not contain more than three words.


You should first read the instructions carefully to comprehend the context of the recording. Underline the key wordsto decide what you need to listen out for. In this question type you have to anticipate grammatical form as well as vocabulary. Ifthe sentences are part of a table, check whether they are horizontal or vertical. Answer the questions as you listen to the recording.


  1. Notes/table/form/summary/flow chart/diagram completion questions


These questions ask for specific information. You may come across two types of these completion questions in the IELTS exam.

  1. Question with possible answer choices
  2. Questions without any answer choices

In these questions, you have to:

  • insert a word or phrase in the middle of a sentence.
  • insert a word in the middle and another word at the end of a sentence.
  • write words or phrases that are not in sentences.
  • write a letter that represents a word or phrase.

Your answer should not contain more than three words.Read the instructions carefully to understand the context of the question. As you do this, examine any headings or subheadings. Ifa box of answers is given, see if you can guess any of the matches & eliminate unlikely answers. Then answer the questions as you listen to the recording.

  1. Labelling a diagram

In these questions, you will be given a diagram and asked to label it with labels given in the recording. You will usually be given a box of words or phrases from which you have to select the labels.


First read the given instructions carefully. If a box of labels is not provided, the number of words that have to be used to answer the questions will be stated. So, study the diagram to predictanswers or the associated vocabulary that you may hear connected to a particular label. Check if the labels are numbered in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. The information will be given in the same order as the numbers on the diagram. Choose the labels as you listen. Use the words you that you hear in the tape. Remember to listen carefully when words are spelt out. Write them down even if you don’t know where they go. The use the information given on the diagram to help you if you get lost.


  1. Classification questions


In these questions, you are required to classify information given in the recording. Classifications are often according to the speaker’s opinion or according to a period of time or place. You will either be asked to write a letter which represents one of the classifications beside each item in a list of statements or you could be asked to circle a letter in a table or tick a column in a table.


Read the instructions carefully to understand how many classifications there are and what letters you have to use to answer the questions. Makesure you know which letter represents each classification. Then read the questions in the question paper. You will hear them all mentioned but they may be expressed differently in the text. Underline the key words in both the classifications and the question statements. Now look for the words that you have underlined and answer the questions.


April 17, 2018

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