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The Listening test consists of 4 sections. There are 40 questions in total. You need to answer all the questions as you listen to the recording. The recording is not paused at any time and you hear it only once. The questions get more difficult as you progress through the test.

A question that students often ask me is, “If the recording doesn’t stop, when do I get time to read the questions?”

My answer is – don’t panic just yet! There are pauses for you to read the questions.

You will be given some time to read the first group of questions before Listening Part 1 starts, and then the conversation on the recording will be played. You have to write your answers in the question booklet while listening (in IELTS on paper), or select / type them into the gaps (in IELTS on Computer).

Then, in the middle of Listening Part 1 you will be given time again, to read the second group of questions, and then the rest of Part 1 recording will be played.

The same process repeats in Listening Part 2 and 3 – you get time at the start and in the middle of Listening Parts 2 and 3.

But Part 4 is different! You will only get time to read the questions BEFORE it starts – though you will get MORE time than previously, because you will need to read 10 questions.

Feeling nervous? Relax. Listening is a skill, not a gift – read here what you can do to improve it. During the Listening test you will hear many distractions, and here is a technique how to deal with them. There are also clues to answers and you should be able to recognize them in the recording, read more about it here. And whatever you do, don’t leave anything for later as there is no later in the IELTS Listening test.

Remember, it is important that you spell correctly all of your Listening answers, not just the words they spell for you on the recording. Also, make sure that your answers are readable and understandable, when you copy them to the Answer Sheet. You may write in pencil only.

Click here for more IELTS Listening tips

15 thoughts on “Listening at a glance”

  1. As you told don’t scared, but I have to man. Like, I am able to score between 23 to 27 out of 40. I am able to correct answer in choices like A,B,C or D. But the toughest part of listening is writting words in blanks. Is there any tricks to crack listening part. And also let me how many marks we need for reading and writting to get 7 bands. I heard that, 27 out of 40 means, 7 bands. Please advice me..

  2. No one knows for sure how they calculate the band score (and if someone says he does ? it?s a lie), but we do have some hints.
    First, the official IELTS site has some tables and formulas, here is the link.
    Basically they say that 30 correct answers in Listening and Academic Reading give you Band Score 7, and in General Training Reading you need 34 correct answers to get Band Score 7.
    Their rules of rounding are as follows:
    1) If you get score from 6 to 6.24, they round it to 6.
    2) If you get score from 6.25 to 6.49 they round it to 6.5
    3) If you get score from 6.5 to 6.74 they round it to 6.5
    4) If you get score from 6.75 to 6.99 they round it to 7

    Now about more listening tips ? there are really great ones in “Ace The IELTS” e-Book .I don?t just recommend it because I sell this book (the profits from sales are used to improve IELTS-blog), but I really believe that it can help you a lot to improve your IELTS score. Those techniques have helped a lot of my students. The book has 66 pages filled with IELTS tips and it is impossible to squeeze all that in just one post. I will try though to add more Listening tips in my future posts, thanks for the feedback, man!

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  4. I need to know where do we write capital letters except normally where we write such as name? As an example, if answer starts the sentence like library. Is it Library or Library

  5. Hi S, if you’re asking about Listening and Reading, capital letters don’t matter. You can write in all capitals as in ‘LIBRARY’, or in lowercase (‘library’), or just the first capital (‘Library’), it doesn’t affect the score.

  6. Hi Minhajul, you can definitely get 8.5 in Listening and Reading, many of our students have done that. A good way to start is to do a practice test and look at your mistakes. Can you do that, and then leave a comment here telling me what your typical mistakes are? I will then be able to give you detailed suggestions how to get rid of each type of mistake.

  7. I cannot manage time when i am doing a reading , please give me advice that how i manage time when i doing reading

  8. I want to know how to download the audio for my IELTS Book 5 practice tests, General Set test No.1-5. I did what the book tell me to do but I still can’t find the right audio.

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