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All About IELTS

All there is to know about the IELTS test

Listening at a glance

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