IELTS Listening Test Overview

About the Listening Test

The IELTS listening test is the first test on the test day and is the same for both Academic and General candidates.

It is a 30-minute test with an extra 10 minutes at the end for candidates to transfer their answers onto the answer paper which makes the total time 40 minutes.

The listening test consists of 40 questions with 10 questions for each of the 4 sections. The sections of the test get increasingly more difficult and so the first section is the easiest and the fourth section is the hardest. Each section is about a different topic and involves different speakers and a number of different accents.

Section 1

is an informal conversation between 2 people, for example at a travel agents or in a shop. The candidate is usually required to fill in a form and sometimes check locations of places on a map.

Section 2

is a person talking on their own about something and is usually also fairly informal.

Section 3

is two or more people talking about something academic, for example how best to study or complete an assignment.

Section 4

is a lecture about an academic topic and usually contains a lot of specific academic vocabulary.

The recording will tell you to read the questions coming up and will give you time after each section to check your answers. Make sure you carefully read the questions carefully and try to predict the kind of information you need to listen for when reading the questions. Make use of the time between sections to check spelling and make sure you have answered all of the questions.

At the end of the test you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer paper.

We have many listening practice exercises on our listening page.

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