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IELTS Listening Section-Introduction & all that you need to know.

Listening Section- IELTS

IELTS is an internationally standardized test which aims to measure the English language skills of a person. It focuses on the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills of an individual. It consists of four sections based on these skills.

Listening section is the first and most important section of the test. This part of the test aims to measure the ability of an individual to listen for a purpose and recognize the opinion and attitude of the speaker.

About the test

In the listening test, the candidate listens to various passages and answers the questions. A variety of accents are used in the test. A candidate might hear Australian, American, British or New Zealand accent. A pre-recorded CD-ROM is played during the test, the passages that one hears will increase in difficulty as the test goes on. The content of this test same in both the versions i.e. Academic IELTS and General IELTS.

This test comprises of four sections with ten questions each. The candidate gets a total of 40 minutes to complete the test. 30 minutes are for listening to the passages and answering the questions and 10 minutes are given to transfer those answers into the answer sheet.

The test begins by listening to a recording of the instructions followed by sample questions of section 1. After this, the candidate reads the questions, listens to the section 1 recording and then answers the questions. The whole procedure is repeated for section 2, 3 and 4.

There are total 40 questions and a variety of questions are asked like: multiple choice questions, fill in a form, fill in the blanks, short answers, complete a table and flow-chart. Each answer carries one mark each.  

Purpose of the test

The listening test intends to measure a wide range of listening skills of the candidate. It assesses:

  • How well the candidate understands specific ideas and facts given in the recording.
  • How well one is able to recognize the purpose and opinion of the speaker.
  • How well the candidate is able to develop or follow an argument.

Preparation of the test

It is very important that the candidate listens to the passage carefully so that he/she is able to answer the questions properly. Full attention and concentration is needed while listening to the recording. Listening to audio clips of various accents will help the candidate to get used to listening to various accents.


  • Underline key words in the questions so that you are able to identify the answer when the recording is played.
  • Just listening and understanding is not enough. The candidate needs to double check the answers in the given 10 minutes. He/she should be able to use the correct grammar and punctuation.
  • Listening to intonation and sentence stress of the speaker is very important specifically in section 4. This will help in answering the questions.
  • Start watching series and listening to English music.

Sample questions

Section 1

The first recording, for example, is about two people having a conversation about the express train which speaker 1 needs to catch. After listening to the audio answer the following questions:

  • Destination?
  • Complete the following table

  • Complete the sentence:
  • The express train is going to….
  • The nearest station is….

Section 2

The second recording will be a monologue based on a social situation. For example, A radio jockey talking about the Government museum and art gallery Chandigarh. The questions can be:

  • Well known for….
  • Historical background?
  • Opening and closing time: ………

Section 3

The third recording is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational context. For example A teacher and four students having a discussion on novel Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Questions can be:

  • Year of publishing:
  • An audience for the novel: Good for children- simple to follow?
  • Protagonist….
  • Themes?

Section 4

This recording is a monologue set in an educational context. For example A lecture about academic counseling. The question can be:

  • The target population is ……
  • The name of the counselor is ……
  • Is it first time you are seeing a counselor?
  • What are your concerns?

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