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IELTS LISTENING OVERVIEW 


There are 4 sections in the Listening part of IELTS containing 40 questions.


Let’s have a look at the sections separately


Section one:  In this section test takers can expect to hear a conversation between two people about everyday subject matters like booking flight tickets, organizing a trip with a travel agency, asking for information about fitness clubs, etc. Test takers should prepare themselves for any topic which fits typical social situations. 

Section two: In this section, test-takers will expect to listen to a monologue where one person will be speaking. This is also a social context but test-takers will listen to one person offering important details and explaining local facilities.

Section three: This section includes educational context or training context. Test takers can expect to listen to a conversation by up to 4 speakers. Usually, the conversation features a professor with students or a college counselor with students discussing career options.

Section four: For most test-takers, this section is challenging for its abstract content and difficulty level. Like section two, this section also features a monologue on any academic subject matter. 

For the paper-based exams, test-takers will have 30 minutes of active listening and 10 minutes for transferring answers in the answer sheet.  For the computer-based tests, test takers have to answer at the same while listening and extra 2 minutes for checking.


Let’s now check the band score and types of questions test-takers will expect in the listening part of IELTS.



Types of Questions 


In Listening, test-takers will expect to have a variety of question types. Each question type has different tips and strategies. Before we cover the tips and tricks, let’s get familiar with the question types.


Task type 1- Multiple Choice:

In this task, test-takers need to choose the appropriate answer from a series of options based on the listening. In some cases, they may be asked to select two correct answers. In such cases, test takers should read the instructions carefully to check how many answers they have to choose. This type of question is used to test the detailed understanding of specific information or an overall of the main points of the listening text.


Task Type 2- Form, Note, Table, Sentence Completion: 

In this type of question, test takers are required to fill up missing information based on the listening text. There will be specific instructions on how many words to use. Sometimes, test takers will see instructions like “NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS” for each answer. It is very important that test takers follow this instruction as they will lose points for writing more than the words stated.


Task Type 3-Matching:

Test takers will be required to match a numbered list of items from the listening prompt to a set of options on the question paper. This type of question assesses the skill of listening for detail and understanding information given in a conversation. It also tests the candidates’ ability to recognize relationships and connections between facts in the listening text.


Task Type 4-Plan, Map, Diagram labeling:

In this type of question. Test takers will be asked to label a plan, map, or diagram. This type of question requires the test takers to visualize the layout and connect the image to the listening text. For example, the speaker could be talking about the layout of any building. Or providing instructions of any tourist spot or explaining how a particular device works. This task assesses test takers’ ability to understand a description and connect it to a visual representation.


Listening Strategies 


If the test takers practice the following tips and strategies, they will be able to score higher points successfully.

  1. First and foremost, read the instructions carefully. Remember, this is always the first step in any section of the listening prompt.

  2. While you are reading, try to underline the key words in the question and information.

  3. Now, it’s time to listen to the audio. Use your test booklet to take notes. You can also take notes next to your answer options.

  4. Be very accurate. You have to be very careful when you are transferring your answer to the answer sheet.

  5. Pay very close attention to the instructions always.  It directs you to the word limit for the gap. Make sure you are not exceeding the limit.

  6. Don’t waste time. If you miss an answer, move on to the next question

  7. Be careful about the spelling of your answer. If it’s spelled wrong, you will lose marks

  8. You must practice to – read the question, listen to the recording and note down answer – all at the same time

  9. Familiarise yourself with the different question types and range of accents.