The listening sub-test comprises four sections, with ten questions in each section. It takes 40 minutes: 30 – for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.

Sections 1 and 2 are about everyday, social situations.

  • Section 1 has a conversation between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements)
  • Section 2 has one person speaking (for example, a speech about local facilities).

Sections 3 and 4 are about educational and training situations

  • Section 3 is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, a discussion between two university students, perhaps guided by a tutor)
  • Section 4 has one person speaking about an academic subject.

Each section begins with a short introduction telling the test taker about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing test takers to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.

At the end of the test students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet.  Test takers will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

The Listening test is exactly the same for both Academic and General modules.


How IELTS Listening is Scored

The Listening sub-test is scored according to the number of correct answers given by a test taker. The number of correct answers and their corresponding Band scores are given in the table below:

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