IELTS Listening

Marks: IELTS Listening module consists of 40 questions each carrying one mark. These 40 questions are divided into 4 sections each having 10 questions.

Time: In total the 4 sections take 30 minutes. After that, 10 minutes are given to transfer the answers to the answer sheet and check the answers.

Sections: There are 4 sections and the questions start off easy with listening to section 1 and get slowly difficult until you get to the section 4. The first and second sections are based on social situations whereas the third and fourth sections are related to an educational or training context.

  • Section 1: In first section there is a conversation between two speakers generally on social context which is in most cases completing or filling up a form. The examples of section 1 are: discussion on membership of a library, sports club or gym, opening a bank account, seat reservation in a hotel, enquiry about transport system.


  • Section 2: This section is basically a monologue i.e. a speech by one person and generally the speech is based on non-academic social context like speech describing the facilities and arrangements of a holiday camp, giving travel information to the tourists, a speech on radio describing features of a product, a customer service official giving information to a passenger about railway service, a museum agent describing about the main attractions.


  • Section 3: In section 3, there is a conversation where up to 4 speakers discuss on educational or training context. Examples: a researcher discusses his work with a group of students, a student talking to her teacher about a draft proposal she has written for a competition, a tutor talking two business students about their research on managing individuals, a discussion between a professor and two students about their dissertation, two students discussing a marketing assignment they are working on together.


  • Section 4: The final section is also a monologue like section 2 where a speaker describes or delivers his speech on an educational topic. For example: a lecturer talking about farming in ancient England, part of a lecture about the history of moving pictures, a talk about a project on wildlife, a lecture on  business culture, part of a lecture about a problem related to the behaviour of certain sea creatures, a talk about scientific research in the continent of Antarctica

Audio clip: There will be time to read the questions during the test. Before the audio clips are played, examinees are allowed to look at the questions for a few seconds before each section. The examinee has to answer the questions while listening. The audio is played only once.

No. of words: The number of words for the answer is written on the question paper before each type of question. Correct spelling is essential as the misspelled answers are considered wrong.

Types of questions in Listening: Generally the following types of questions can be found in the listening module of IELTS:

  • Fill in the gaps / sentence completion
  • Multiple choice
  • Short answer questions
  • Summary / flow chart/ table completion
  • Labelling a diagram / map
  • Matching

For all these categories the question is marked with the question number and the answer comes serially.

Preparation, things to remember and tips on IELTS Listening part and other parts will be accomplished in the following tutorials.