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Changes to IELTS Listening Test in January 2020

Starting from 4 January 2020 the IELTS Listening test has changed. The changes are quite small but important to be aware of, because encountering an unexpected change can take you by surprise and affect your performance. added a brief notice on their website describing the changes, however no major announcement was made – so this information is easy to miss unless you are specifically looking for it.

The changes have been made to the instructions and layout of paper-based IELTS Listening test.

IELTS Listening Test Changes January 2020

Change #1 – from ‘Sections’ to ‘Parts’.

The word “Sections” has changed to “Parts”. Instead of Section 1, Section 2, Section 3 and Section 4 there are now Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 in the Listening test.

Change #2 – no more references to page numbers.

Page number reference has been removed from the instructions. This means that, for instance, instead of asking you to ‘look at questions 1-5 on page X’, you will be just asked to ‘look at questions 1-5’ without a page number. This shouldn’t present a problem because there is just one group of questions numbered 1-5, and it will be easy to find.

Change #3 – Part 1 Example has been removed.

Prior to the change in the Listening Part 1 a short part of conversation was played twice, first to demonstrate where the answer is and what it is, and then as part of the actual Listening test. Now Part 1 recording will be played only once, with no parts of it being played twice. Get ready to listen for the answers as soon as the test begins.

Change #4 (unconfirmed) – 45 seconds to check answers after each section.

We received information from a test taker that the time given to check your answers after each Part is now 45 seconds (previously it was 30 seconds). This change hasn’t been announced on website and at present we are trying to confirm it.

Luckily there are no more changes to the content, format or accents used in the Listening test.

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