IELTS Listening

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Three parts of the IELTS exam are taken on one day. The first of these is the IELTS listening exam. The listening exam is the same for academic and general test takers.

If you are taking the paper-based version of IELTS, the listening lasts for 40 minutes, which includes 30 minutes for the listening test and an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto an answer sheet.

If you are taking the computer-based IELTS, you will have the same amount of listening, however you will have some time at the end of each section to check your answers.

In both cases you will only hear the recording ONCE.

Test Format

The listening test consists of 40 questions in 4 sections. There are therefore 10 questions per section.

The four sections get progressively more difficult, so you should expect to score higher in the earlier sections.

Part Speakers Situation Example Common Question Types
Someone phoning to obtain details about a part time job.
A museum guide explaining what you can see in the museum today.
A professor giving feedback to a student about a presentation they did.
A professor giving a lecture about marine biology.

Question Types

IELTS use the following types of questions in the listening tests:


IELTS listening scores are calculated by adding up the number of correct answers and converting these to an IELTS band score. For the conversion table, click here.

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