IELTS Listening

On this page you can find all the essential information about IELTS Listening test, learn how IELTS Listening test is scored and see useful practice tests, tips and strategies to improve your listening skills.


Information about IELTS Listening test

IELTS Listening test is made to assess you listening abilities. This module is the same for Academic and General IELTS.

Time 40 minutes
Questions 40
Sections 4

The Listening module takes 40 minutes: 30 min for testing and 10 min for transferring your answers to the answer sheet.

There are 40 questions in Listening module, with 10 questions in each section. Sections get increasingly difficult.


IELTS Listening consists of four sections:

  • Section 1: conversation between 2 speakers about everyday situations.

    This is the easiest section. Speaker talks quite slowly, making pauses. The key information is usually repeated.

    Examples: two people talking about their journey planning; one person asking another how to reach an unknown city; woman giving advice to her colleague about a new project; two men discussing results of a football match; tourist registering at the hotel etc.

    In Section 1, focus only on given facts.

    IELTS Listening section 1 sample >


  • Section 2: a monologue about everyday situations.
  • Speaker talks quite slowly, but makes less pauses than in previous section.

    Examples: information for potential buyers about new-built flats, radio interview about lake resort, advertisement about positive effects of a new toothbrush etc.

    In Section 2, focus only on given facts.

    IELTS Listening section 2 sample >


  • Section 3: conversation between 2, 3 or 4 speakers about educational or training situations.
  • This section is harder than the two previous, speakers discuss topics at a faster pace and sometimes use advanced vocabulary.

    Examples: students talking about a class assignment, people discussing professor's academic speech etc.

    In Section 3, focus on given facts and speakers' opinions and attitudes.

    IELTS Listening section 3 sample >


  • Section 4: a monologue on academic subject.

    It is the most difficult section. There is no break in the middle, the speaker talks quite quickly and uses a wide range of vocabulary.

    Examples: lecture about endangered species, talk on bringing up children subject, speech about global warming and its effects, lecture about forest reserve etc.

    In Section 4, focus on given facts, key ideas and speaker's opinions and attitudes.

  • IELTS Listening section 4 sample >


    You will be given about 30 seconds to study the questions before the start of each section.


    IELTS Listening score

    Each of the 40 questions is worth 1 point. Depending on how many points you gain, you can receive a score from 0 to 9 points for the Listening Section. The following conversion table applies to calculate your IELTS Listening score:

    Raw score
    (out of 40)
    39-40 37-38 35-36 32-34 30-31 26-29 23-25 18-22 16-17 13-15 10-12 8-10 6-7 4-5
    Band score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5

    Types of questions on IELTS Listening:

    1. multiple choice
    2. short-answer questions
    3. sentence completion
    4. notes, summary, plan, diagram, table or chart completion
    5. labelling a diagram which has numbered parts
    6. classification
    7. matching

    How to prepare for IELTS Listening?

    The key point in preparation for IELTS Listening test is pratice. It's a very good strategy to listen to English speech as often as you can.

    1. You may watch your favourite TV programs in English, listen and translate English songs, watch English YouTube videos.
    2. But most importantly, you should complete IELTS Listening practice tests and analyse your mistakes.
    3. After that, you should complete IELTS Listening exercises for different types of IELTS Listening questions. This way you'll develop your own techniques for answering various types of Listening questions.
    4. Also, you can read IELTS Listening tips that will help you to gain a better score.