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What is there in IELTS listening? On what grounds are the test takers tested?

The IELTS Listening test will take about 30 minutes, and you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. There are 4 sections with a total of 40 questions; testing different skills such as:

  1. Section 1: A conversation between 2 speakers in a social/informal situation.

  2. Section 2: One person giving a talk based on a non-academic situation.

  3. Section 3: A conversation with 2 -4 people based on academic topics or course-related situations.

  4. Section 4: A university-style lecture or talk.

Note: the test takers should look for also

  1. Specific information like dates, numbers and place names, etc.

  2. Identifying details

  3. Identifying gist/main ideas

  4. Interpreting beyond surface meaning of words, such as the speaker attitude or opinion.

A variety of question types is used, and you may be asked to

  • answer multiple choice questions

  • label a plan, map or diagram

  • fill in a form

  • complete a table

  • complete a flow-chart

  • give short answers


Each correct answer receives one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. You will not be losing any point for not answering or wrong answer. Though it is advisable to not to leave any answer blank. Sometimes wild guesses can be correct.

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