A Guide to IELTS Listening: Format and Question Types

The IELTS Listening Test includes four recordings of native English speakers, and test takers are required to answer a set of questions related to each recording. These recordings consist of:

1. A conversation between two people in an everyday social setting.

2. A monologue in an everyday social setting, such as a speech about local facilities.

3. A conversation between up to four people in an educational or training context, such as a discussion between a university tutor and a student about an assignment.

4. A monologue on an academic topic, such as a university lecture. The assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to comprehend the primary concepts and detailed information provided, understand the opinions and attitudes expressed by the speakers, identify the purpose of each utterance, and demonstrate your ability to track the development of ideas presented in the recordings.

Each of the four parts of IELTS Listening consist of ten questions. In the IELTS Listening Test, the questions are arranged in a manner that corresponds to the sequence of information presented in the audio recordings. The initial two sections concentrate on common social situations and comprise a dialogue between two speakers (e.g., arranging a trip) in Part 1 and a single speaker discussing a topic such as local amenities in Part 2. The remaining two parts cover educational and training contexts, with Part 3 featuring a conversation between two primary speakers (e.g., university students with a tutor’s guidance) and Part 4 consisting of a monologue on an academic topic. The recordings are played only once and feature different accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American, and Canadian.

Time Allocated: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time).

No. of questions: 40

Task types: The IELTS Listening Test includes a range of question types, selected from the following: multiple choice, matching, labeling plans/maps/diagrams, completing forms/ notes/ tables/flow-charts/summaries, and sentence completion.

Marks: Each question is worth 1 mark.

IELTS Listening Test: In-Depth Analysis of Question Types

Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to listen for concrete facts, such as places, prices or times, within the listening text.

Listening Band Score as per the number of correct answers:

Band ScoreCorrect Answers
940 - 39
8.538 - 37
836 - 35
7.534 - 32
731 - 30
6.529 - 26
625 - 23
5.522 - 18
517 - 16
4.515 - 13
412 - 11