All About

IELTS Listening

47 important instructions to achieve


Paper Based IELTS Listening: (30 Minutes + 10 Minutes to transfer the answers) = 40 Minutes

Computer delivered IELTS Listening: (30 Minutes + 2 Minutes to review) = 32 Minutes

A 30-minute audio recording will be played during which you will be writing answers to a series of 40 questions (4 parts with 10 questions each).

Part 1: Two speakers will be talking (Routine and social talk, Social context)

Part 2: A single person will be speaking (Every day life situation, Social Context)

Part 3: At least two and up to four speakers (Educational Discussion, Academic Context)

Part 4: A single speaker usually delivers a lecture. (Academic)

IELTS Listening Question Types:

Task Type 1: flow-chart, table, summary completion, Form, note

Task Type 2: Short-answer questions

Task type 3: Multiple choice

Task type 4: Matching

Task type 5: Plan, map, diagram labelling

Task type 6: Sentence completion

IELTS Listening Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: When should I reach the test center?

Answer: At least 90 minutes prior to your test so that you can relax and complete the registration process.

  1. Question: I am taking academic IELTS next month. How many questions do I need to answer correctly to achieve a band score of 6?


band score 06 = 23 to 25 correct answers out of 40

band score 6.5 = 26 to 29 correct answers out of 40

band score 07 = 30 to 31 correct answers out of 40

band score 7.5 = 32 to 34 correct answers out of 40

band score 08 = 35 to 36 correct answers out of 40

band score 8.5 = 37 to 38 correct answers out of 40

band score 09 = 39 to 40 correct answers out of 40

3. Question: Will there be an EXAMPLE ANSWER in the beginning?

Answer: No, the example answer has been phased out by IELTS.

4. Question: Can I listen to the recording again?

Answer: No, the recording will be played once only.

5. Question: Will there be any information about the speakers and the context in the recording before the test starts?

Answer: Yes, there will be a short description of the situation and the speaker, especially where they are and what the topic is about.

6. Question: Should I avoid listening to the information about the speakers and the topic?

Answer: Absolutely not. The information is very important, hence you should pay close attention to it.

7. Question: Do I need to understand everything in the IELTS listening question paper?

Answer: No, try to MARK the key words and develop an overview.

8. Question: Will I lose extra points if I give wrong answers?

Answer: No, there is no negative marking for incorrect replies. Any incorrect answer will not result in a loss of extra points. If you do not know the answer, it is always in your favour to make a guess and not leave the question unanswered.

9. Question: Will I have time to read the question paper before the test starts?

Answer: Yes, you will have. An intelligent candidate uses the time wisely by marking the key words and developing an understanding of the context of the tasks. Part 1 and 2 are easier than Part 3. Understanding the context and marking the key words in the section is a wise approach.

10. Question: Should I write my answers straight on the answer sheet?

Answer: Not advisable, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answer to the answer sheet at the end of the test. You have some time to correct your spelling errors and review while transferring your answers to the listening answer sheet.

11. Question: Can I do some rough work like marking, underlining or highlighting on question paper?

Answer: Yes, you can. Your answer sheet will be scored, so the examiner is not concerned about what you write on your question paper. Keep in mind that no extra paper for notes making can be requested.

12. Question: Should I use a pen or a pencil?

Answer: Pencil.

13. Question: What if I miss any answer?

Answer: Do not lose heart. Continue with the same level of involvement, else you will lose the track and get lost. At the end, while transferring your answers to the IELTS answering sheet, you may make a guess.

14. Question: Can I answer using capital letters?

Answer: Yes, you can. For example, ‘YAMUNANAGAR’ will be marked correct.

15. Question: Should I be concerned about my inability to spell certain words?

Answer: Yes, incorrect spelling means incorrect answer. No Marks!

16. Question: Can I use AMERICAN SPELLING?

Answer: Yes, you certainly can. However, it is preferable if you keep to one spelling style, either British or American. The answer will be marked correct if you write COLOR NOT COLOUR.

17. Question: In multiple choice questions, can I write words?

Answer: No, it is entirely dependent on the instructions. If you're asked to choose a letter, you must choose a letter rather than a word.

18. Question: Is it safe to use brackets?

Answer: No, it is commonly misconceived that it is safe to use brackets. Using them means that your question has two correct answers. By writing TABLE (S), you want to convey that both are correct answers: TABLE AND TABLES. So, you can avoid using brackets.

19. Question: Can I separate words with COMMAS in my answer?

Answer: There is no need to do so. You will waste your precious time. Commas do not affect IELTS marking. You can write TABLES CHAIRS COMPUTERS instead of Table, Chairs, and Computers.

20. Question: My answer requires the use of A PREPOSITION. Should I use it?

Answer: It depends upon the instructions and the number of words allowed. If you are allowed to use three words, then it is fine to write A GOOD TEACHER. Prepositions can be avoided, so GOOD TEACHER is also correct.

21. Question: What about the use of ARTICLES?

Answer: Unless the question is a sentence completion type, articles and prepositions have no effect on your answer. If you are asked to complete a sentence, then grammatical accuracy is paramount, so you must use article or preposition if the number of words allowed permits. Normally, while answering other types of IELTS listening questions, articles and prepositions can be skipped.

22. Question: What is the best way to write dates with months and years in IELTS listening answer?

Answer: There are quite many. Natives prefer the following type: 24/03/21 if no words are allowed or 24 MAY 2021 if one word is allowed.

23. Question: What is the best way to write a date with a month and without a year in IELTS listening answer?

Answer: 18/05 (18 May or May 18)

24. Question: How to write time?

Answer: 9.15 (a quarter past nine) 9.45 (a quarter to ten) (Single Dot is more common)

7am, 9pm, 7:00am, 9pm, 7.00AM and 9.00PM all are accepted by IELTS.

25. Question: Can I use abbreviations?

Answer: No.

26. Question: How can I write numbers (8 OR EIGHT)?

Answer: 8 and EIGHT are both accepted as numbers, so either will be fine.

27. Question: If the recording says 7th March, will ‘th’ be considered a word?

Answer: No, 7th will be considered a number because ‘th’ is part of the number 7. The same is with 3rd, 2nd and so on.

28. Question: Twenty-five is one word or two words?

Answer: One word.

29. Question: Is it OK if I write twenty two boys?

Answer: Twenty-two boys will be the right way.

30. Question: How can I write 8th July in a number?

Answer: 08/07.

31. Question: Is 8th July one word or a number?

Answer: One word.

32. Question: Which of the followings is correct? 8th July, July 8th, July 8, 8 July or 08/07.

Answer: 8 July, 8th July, and 08/07 are more suitable options.

33. Question: Is it OK if I write the date as 8 July, 1980?

Answer: Natives prefer to write 8 July 1980.

34. Question: What about July 8 1980?

Answer: July 8, 1980.

35. Question: The answer is Eastside, but I wrote East Side.

Answer: Incorrect, it is important that you learn how to form compound words.

36. Question: Is 15% a number and a word.

Answer: No, it is one number only. Here % is a component of the number 15. It is not a separate word.

37. Question: What about 15 per cent?

Answer: One number and two words.

38. Question: Percent or per cent?

Answer: per cent.

39. Question: Is 7th a number or a word?

Answer: A number only.

40. Question: How to write 20000?

Answer: 20,000 (Comma before every set of three zeros).

41. Question: In $100, is $ a separate word?

Answer: No, $100 is only one number.

42. Question: Can I write 10m if my answer is 10 metres?

Answer: Yes.

43. Question: Can I give the answer 20cm for 20 centimetres?

Answer: Yes, 20cm will be fine, but not 20cms.

44. Question: Is it OK to use 10kgs for 10 Kilograms?

Answer: No, the correct way is 10kg rather than kgs.

45. Question: How to write three thousand five hundred and twenty-five dollars?

Answer: $3,525 or 3,525 dollars (Depending upon instructions).

46. Question: The recording says Two Oh Five. What does it mean?

Answer: ‘Oh’ here means zero, so it is 205.

47. Question: What accent do the speakers use in IELTS listening?

Answer: Mostly British, American and Australian. You need to practice listening to a variety of accents.

To practise listening, you may visit the following sites:

BBC Listening

Oxford Listening

Cambridge Assessment Listening

Practise Listening

Cambridge IELTS Book 15





Cambridge IELTS Book 14





Cambridge IELTS Book 13