IELTS Listening

IELTS Listening: Answers To Most Frequently Asked Questions

May 24, 2018

Out of the four modules of IELTS Test, the most difficult one for some test takers is the listening module. Though it appears to be easy, candidates face difficulty in achieving their desired score in this module.


Maybe, some are unaware about the different question types asked in the exam. Those who are familiar with the question types might lack to obtain their target due to some unsolved common doubts regarding the module. If you too are looking for solutions to your doubts, then you have landed on the right page.

Here, we will be discussing the most frequently asked questions by candidates about the listening module and also provide prompt solutions to clear those doubts.

But, before we start, let us have a look at IELTS Listening module test format.

Brief about IELTS Listening

ielts listening

IELTS Listening module consists of 4 sections. Each section comprises of 1 recording and every single recording comprises of 10 questions.

Here are different types of recordings you will hear for all the four sections.

  • Section 1: A conversation between 2 persons in everyday context
  • Section 2: A monologue in daily context
  • Section 3: A conversation of maximum 4 people on educational or training sessions
  • Section 4: An academic monologue

You are required to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes for the listening module.

Now, let us learn about some of the most common doubts related to IELTS Listening.

Frequently Asked Questions about IELTS Listening

ielts faqs

1. What is the difference between IELTS Academic and General Training Listening test?

Well, there is no difference. Listening paper is same for both the versions of the IELTS test - Academic and General Training.

2. What is more preferable in listening test - pen or pencil?

It is advisable to use pencil while attempting all the four modules of your IELTS Test. If you have written your answers with pencil, you can erase and change the answer if required.

3. What are the different types of questions asked in listening test module?

6 different types of questions are asked in IELTS Listening test. They are:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions
  2. Matching
  3. Map/Plan/Diagram labelling
  4. Form/Table/Flowchart/Note/Summary completion
  5. Sentence completion
  6. Short Answer Questions

4. Can I choose English accent as per my preference in Listening test module?

Unfortunately, you cannot do so. IELTS Listening test always involves more than one accent. So, you must get familiar with different accents.

5. Which different accents will there be in IELTS Listening?

Since IELTS is an international English Language test, you might hear a range of different accents in the recording. The recording can be in Australian, British, New Zealand or North American accent.

Accents can be a major issue for many of the IELTS aspirants. So, it is essential that you practice listening to different accents before your test. To familiarize yourself with different accents and to improve your IELTS Listening skills, you can listen to Podcasts.

6. Do the answers appear in same order as the questions?

Yes. The questions asked in IELTS Listening are put up in such a way that you come across their answers in order when the recording is played. The same pattern follows for all IELTS Listening question types.

7. Will I get time to read the questions before the recording starts?

You get about 30 seconds to preview the questions before the recording starts. The instructions on the recording will clearly state which questions will be covered in the next part of the recording. So, you can quickly go through those questions. Moreover, you will also get one or more short breaks between the recording so that you can preview further questions.

8. How many times will I be able to hear the recording?

You will hear the recording only once. So, you need to be extra careful and more attentive when the recording is played. If you miss an answer to a question, either make a quick guess or move on to further question.

If you waste much time on one question, you will lose track of answers for the next questions too as the recording cannot be paused. So, it is advisable to head to further question instead of wasting time.

ielts faqs2

9. Can I get extra paper for making notes?

No, you will not get any extra paper. If you want to make notes or underline keywords, you can use your question paper. Only your answer sheet is marked. So, you can note down key points on any part of the question paper.

10. Do I get extra time to transfer my answers at the end of the recording?

Yes. You will be given extra 10 minutes. In this duration, you can transfer answers onto the answer sheet. Hence, transfer the answers carefully.

11. Do I lose point if my answer is wrong?

No, you do not lose any point for a wrong answer. If you do not know the answer, you can make a guess. But, you should never leave an answer blank.

12. Will my answer be marked wrong if written in capital letters?

No. You can write your response in capital letters, small letters or using a combination of both. Choice is totally yours for IELTS Listening.

If you have a bad handwriting, it is recommended that you write your answer in capital letters. This form will be easily readable for the examiner.

13. What if I spell the word incorrectly?

Your answer will be marked wrong if you have spelled the word incorrectly. Also, misspelling cities, names, places, or addresses mentioned in the audio will cost you marks.

14. Should I use American or British spelling?

You can use American as well as British spelling for the IELTS Listening module. Whether you write 'center' or 'centre', both will be marked correct. But, it is advisable that you stick only to one form of writing and continue with it. For example, if you have chosen to write American spelling, continue with the same for the rest of the answers.

15. Can I write answer in short form or abbreviations?

Abbreviations/Short forms are not accepted in IELTS Test. For example, if the answer is New Zealand and you write NZ, you will lose marks.

16. What am I supposed to write in answers with numbers - word or just the number?

You are free to write in either way. Let's say, 'seven' or '7', both answers are correct.

We hope that we have answered all your doubts concerning the IELTS Listening module in a satisfactory way. Still, if you have any more doubts, you can feel free to post them on international student forum. Our experts will provide you with genuine solutions.

All the best!