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The questions in your Listening test will be based on four audio recordings taken from different scenarios. Each recording will cover a different situation you might encounter in everyday life which can be a conversation between two people, a monologue from an everyday social situation (a speech), a conversation between up to 4 people and finally a monologue from an academic context (university lecture).
You will need to answer 40 questions in your Listening test where you will be given one mark for each correct answer. The total correct answers will be used to calculate your final Listening band score. It is very important to try and answer every question as a blank answer will get no marks.
For instance, you will need a raw score of 35 out of 40 to achieve a band score of 8 in the Listening test. This score will turn be used to calculate your overall band score for IELTS.
Listening band scores
- Band 9
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
- Band 8
Very good user
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
- Band 7
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
- Band 6
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
- Band 5
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
- Band 4
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
- Band 3
Extremely limited user
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
- Band 2
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
- Band 1
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
- Band 0
Did not attempt test
Description No assessable information provided.
Find out about the IELTS Listening test in the IELTS on computer format
Here are some handy tips to help you understand the IELTS Listening test in the IELTS on computer test format.