IELTS Listening Guide
I. What is IELTS listening
IELTS listening has four parts. Each part has 10 questions and there are 40 questions in total. Each part is harder than the one before it, so part 1 is easiest and part 4 is hardest.
- Parts 1 and 2 are about everyday topics. Parts 3 and 4 are about academic topics
- Part 1 will always be a conversation between two people.
- Part 3 will have two or more people having a conversation or discussion.
- Parts 2 and 4 will always have only one speaker.
Look at the chart below for a summary of this information.
II. How are you graded
- Each question is worth 1 point. There are no 1/2 points.
- You have to follow the instructions exactly to be correct. Do not go over the word/number limit.
- Spelling and grammar (singular/plural nouns and verb tense) must be correct.
- Proper nouns (names of people and places) must be capitalized.
- Even a small error will cause you to be incorrect. At the end of IELTS listening you will have time to check your answers and copy them onto a special test paper. During this time, you should double check all your answers for spelling and grammar.
- Look at the chart below to find your listening band score.
Listening Score Chart
III. How to improve your listening band score
- Find and use key words
- Before the recording begins, take time to read the questions and underline key words. Key words are the most important words in the sentence. Pay special attention to proper nouns (names of people and places) because it is very likely that the speaker uses the same proper nouns. Proper nouns can help you to find your place if you get lost.
- One question at a time
- In IELTS listening, the questions are in sequence. That means that you will hear the answer to question 1, then question 2, then question 3, etc... If you miss the answer to a question, don't panic. Move on to the next question and you will have time to make a guess later.
- Listen for negative statements
- Sometimes the speaker will make a statement, and then correct themselves. For example, they might say "the library is on Maple road...no wait, I'm sorry, it's on Main street." If you only listened to the first answer and wrote that the library is on Maple road, you would be incorrect. Always listen to the full statement to be sure that you have the correct answer.