IELTS listening Tips and Overview

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IETLS listening


There are four sections in the Listening module. There are 40 questions altogether. The audio will last approximately 30 minutes.

During the test, you will be given time to read the questions before you hear the audio. As you listen, you should write your answers on your question paper. Do not wait until the end. The answers in the audio follow the order of the questions. If you hesitate and think about one question, you may miss the next question. The audio keeps going.

At the end of each section, you will be given 30 seconds to check your answers. At the end of the Listening Module, you will have an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers from your questions paper to the official answer sheet. You must transfer your answers. If you don’t transfer your answers, your answers will not be counted and you will not receive a listening score.


The Listening modules are the same for both the Academic and General Training versions of the IELTS.

Listening Module
Sections Topics Speakers
1 General, everyday topics Conversation between two people
2 General, everyday topics One person
3 School or training-related topics Conversation between two or more people
4 School or training-related topics One person


There are a variety of question types on the IELTS Listening module. You will find examples of these in this chapter.

Multiple choice

Short answer

Sentence completion

Chart completion

Flowchart completion



Making notes


Labeling diagrams,plans and maps



Selecting from a list

Essential Listening Tips :

The following list contains some of the most essential Listening Tips that an IELTS candidate MUST know.


  1. All IELTS candidates take the same test which means both the Academic and General Training candidates take the same listening test and they are marked the same way.
  2. There are 40 questions.
  3. The sections get more difficult as the test progresses. Section of is the easiest section and section 4 if the most difficult one.
  4. Te listening is 40 minutes with :
    • 30 Minutes of listening
    • an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.
  5. Remember that IELTS is an International exam and there will be a range of different accents but the main accents will probably be British and Australian.
  6. IELTS accepts either British English or American English spelling.

Even more important tips:

  1. The audio will be played ONCE only ! You will not hear it a second time. You should practice completing a full listening test by listening only once before the test.
  2. Practice listening for a full half hour. Concentrate. Do not let your mind wander.
  3. Mark your answers carefully. If you are asked to give a letter (e.g, A), don’t answer with a phrase.
  4. Pay attention when speakers correct themselves. The second statement is usually the correct answer. Remember: They’re Usually the correct answers. NOT ALWAYS.
  5. When you write a word in the blank, you must spell the word correctly. It doesn’t matter if you use British or American spelling.
  6. Remember that your answers do not exceed word limits. Even use of or the will be marked as incorrect.
  7. You must write your answers in pencil not a pen. IELTS Reading and Listening answers must be written in PENCIL.
  8. You can write your answers using CAPITAL or lower case letter. We strongly recommend using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
  9. This is how words and numbers will be counted:
    • A date like “1557” is considered one number.
    • A large number like “100,000,000” is considered one number.
    • Hyphenated words like “part-time” is considered one number.
    • A compound noun which is not hyphenated like “walking shoe” is considered two words.
  10. If you don’t know an answer, guess.
  11. A lot of information given in the conversations and lectures is not tested. Try to listen for answers to the questions only.
  12. Watch out for words that are plural. Students make mistakes about words ending in plural S and these questions will certainly be given to test your listening abilities.

Listening Lessons and practices

Listening lessons