IELTS Listening In Detail


IELTS Listening Test consists of four sections, each with 1 recording. Each recording comprises of ten questions. You can hear the recording only once. While attempting IELTS Listening practice tests, you will notice that the questions are designed in such a way that their answers appear in order when the recording is played. You can note down the answers on the question booklet while listening to the recording. Then, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer answers from question booklet to the answer sheet.

Duration Sections Version
40 minutes 4 Academic & General Training Download Answer Sheet
  • Section 1: You hear a recording that depicts conversation (talk or chat) between two persons. It is set in an everyday context. For example, 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, speech on 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 group of students discussing about the project with a tutor.
  • Section 4: A monologue regarding some academic subject is heard. For example, a professor giving lecture in the university.

Different types of questions are asked in context to these sections. These question types include:

Question Type 1 – Multiple Choice

You will be given a question with three possible answers. Or a beginning of the sentence followed by three possible ways to complete it. 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

Question 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 connection between the facts with respect to the recording

Question Type 3 – Map, Plan or Diagram Labelling

A map, plan or diagram with labels will be given. You are supposed to complete those labels with either of the following ways:

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

Question 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 on the question paper and note down the correct letter on the answer sheet. 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 note down the main points while listening the recording

Question Type 5 – Sentence Completion

A set of sentences that summarise important information from the recording is given. 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 analyse the main idea of the listening text and identify important information from the recording

Question Type 6 – Short-Answer Questions

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

General Tips

  • You must practice to - read the question, listen to the recording and note down answer - all at the same time
  • Be careful about the spelling of your answer. If it’s spelled wrong, you will lose marks
  • Read the instructions carefully to identify 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

Attempt free IELTS listening practice tests available online and boost your IELTS test preparation. IELTS listening practice can be of great help.