IELTS Listening Test Format


IELTS Listening Format in Detail

The format of the IELTS Listening Test is the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates. IELTS Listening Test consists of four sections, each with 1 recording. There are ten questions in each recording. You can hear the recording only once.
P.S. Start your listening preparation with us to learn faster. Our questions are designed in such a way that their answers appear in order when the recording is played.
30 minutes
Academic & General Training
Section 1:
You hear a recording of a conversation (talk or chat) between two people. It is set in an everyday context. For example, a telephonic conversation between a customer and a shop owner.
Section 2:
In this recording, a monologue is heard. It is generally based on a daily context. For example, a speech about some places or facilities.
Section 3:
This recording is a conversation (discussion) between up to four people. It is either related to some educational topics or training sessions. For example, a sports instructor explains to their students the format of the game.
Section 4:
A monologue regarding some academic subject is heard. For example, a professor giving a lecture in the university.
Extra 10 Minutes for Paper-Based Test • and 2 Minutes for Computer-Based Test

Types of Questions asked in the IELTS Listening Test include:

Type 1 – Multiple Choice

You will be given a question with three possible answers. The question can be at the beginning or in between the sentence. You are supposed to choose one correct answer – A, B, or C.

Sometimes, you are given a long list of possible answers and are asked to choose more than one answer. In such question type, you need to read the given instructions carefully.

Skills Assessed
Ability to understand the main points covered in the recording

Type 2 – Matching

In this question type, a list of options will be given on the question paper. You need to match these options with the list of items in the recording. Then, you have to write the correct letter (A, B, C, or D) on the answer sheet.

Skills Assessed
Ability to identify a connection between the facts with respect to the recording

Type 3 – Map, Plan, or Diagram Labelling

There will be a labelled diagram, map, or plan in the question. You are supposed to complete those labels in either of the following ways:

  • Select answer from the list of options and write the correct letter choice.
  • Select appropriate words that fit in the label from the recording.
Skills Assessed
Ability to understand the description of an image (Map, Plan or Diagram) and relate it to its visual representation

Type 4 – Form, Table, Flowchart, Note, or Summary Completion

In this question type, you have to fill in the gaps provided in the form, table, flowchart, note, or summary in context to the recording. You either have to select your answer from a list of options given in the question or identify the missing words from the recording. You do not have to change the words ( i.e. write the word as it is) if selected from the recording.

Skills Assessed
Ability to understand the main points covered in the recording

Type 5 – Sentence Completion

There will be a set of sentences that summarise important information in the recording. You have to fill in the gap in each sentence using the information provided in the recording. Read the instructions carefully before noting down the answers.

Skills Assessed
Ability to analyze the main idea of the listening text and identify important information from the recording

Type 6 – Short Answers

In this question type, you are supposed to read the given question and answer it shortly with the help of the information in the recording. Sometimes, you might be asked to write down two or three different answers to the same question.

You must read the instructions carefully. For example, sometimes it may be 'answer in one/two words' or at times it might be 'answer in no more than a word/number'.

Skills Assessed
Ability to analyze the main idea of the listening text and identify important information from the recording
IELTS General Tips
  • You must practice to - read the question, listen to the recording and note down the answer - all at the same time
  • Be careful about the spelling. If it’s spelled wrong, you will lose marks.
  • Read the instructions carefully to determine what you are asked to write – 'word' or 'letter', 'no more than two words' or 'number', and so on.
  • Don't waste time. If you miss an answer, move on to the next question.
  • You will hear the recording only once. So, don't lose your focus
You can begin by working on the Sample Questions that are divided according to the IELTS test format. You can also directly attempt the free online IELTS listening practice tests and boost your IELTS test preparation. IELTS listening practice can be of great help.