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When you start preparing for your IELTS Listening test, make sure to prepare well through the practice test samples. This will help you understand the types of questions in the Listening test and enable you to achieve your best score when you take the real IELTS Listening test .

A quick look at the IELTS Listening test

Duration: 30 minutes 

The Listening test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. You will need to answer 40 questions in response to four recordings.  

You will listen to four recordings which are a mix of monologues and conversations from a range of native speakers and you will only hear each recording once. There are 10 questions for each part of the Listening test.  

These questions test your ability to understand: 

  • Main ideas and detailed factual information 

  • The opinions and attitudes of speakers 

  • The purpose of an utterance 

  • The ability to follow the development of ideas. 

IELTS Listening parts details:

Recording 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.

Recording 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.

Recording 3: A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.

Recording 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

IELTS Listening sample questions and answer sheet

IELTS Listening practice test

Check out the IELTS Listening practice test to help you become more prepared for the real test. 

Multiple-choice

Multiple-choice questions can be answered with one correct answer, or more than one correct answer. Read the question very carefully to check how many answers are required.   

In a multiple choice question, where you are required to choose one correct answer (A, B or C), you will be given:  

  • A question followed by three possible answers  

  • The beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete the sentence 

In a multiple choice question, where you are required to choose more than one correct answer you will be given a longer list of possible answers and told that you have to choose more than one answer.

Multiple choice questions are used to test a wide range of skills. You may be required to have a detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main points of the listening text. 

Matching

You are required to match a numbered list of items from what you hear in the listening audio to a set of options on the question paper. The set of options may be criteria of some kind. 

Matching assesses the skill of listening for detail and whether you can understand the information given in a conversation on an everyday topic, such as identifying different types of hotels or guest house accommodations. It also assesses your ability to follow a conversation between two people. It may also be used to assess your ability to recognise relationships and connections between facts in the listening text. 

Plan, map, diagram labelling

You will need to complete labels on a plan (e.g. of a building), map (e.g. of part of a town) or diagram (e.g. of a piece of equipment). You can usually select your answers from a list on the question paper.  

This matching task assesses your ability to understand, for example, a description of a place, and to relate this to a visual representation. This may include being able to follow language expressing directions (e.g. straight on/turn left/opposite). 

Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion

In this completion task, you are required to fill in the gaps in an outline of a certain part or of all of the listening text. The outline will focus on the main ideas/facts in the text. It may be:  

  1. A form: used to record factual details such as names, addresses or telephone numbers.  

  2. A set of notes: used to summarise information using the layout to show how different items relate to one another.  

  3. A table: used to summarise information that relates to clear categories – e.g. place/time/price. 

  4. A flow-chart: used to summarise a process that has clear stages, with the direction of the process shown by arrows. 

You will select the missing words in either way:

  • From a list presented in the question paper  

  • From the recording 

You must commit to the word limit stated in the instructions and use the exact words you hear from the recording.  

You should read the instructions very carefully, as the number of words or numbers you can use will vary. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. If you use more than the word limit, your answer will be marked as incorrect, so check the word limit carefully for each question. Contracted words will not be tested, e.g. ‘don’t’. Hyphenated words count as single words, e.g. ‘check-in’.  

This gap completion task focuses on the main points which a listener would naturally record in this type of situation. 

Short-answer questions

In the short-answer question type, you are required to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text. Sometimes test takers are given a question which asks them to list two or three points.  

A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. If you use more than the word limit, your answer will be marked as incorrect, so make sure to check the word limit carefully for each question. Contracted words will not be tested, e.g. ‘don’t’. Hyphenated words count as single words, e.g. ‘check-in’.  

Short-answer question types focus on the ability to listen for concrete facts, such as places, prices or times, within the listening text. 

Be better prepared and check out these tips to help you during your test, as well as seven mistakes to avoid during your IELTS Listening test