This video helps you understand the IELTS Listening test format and provides you with strategies and tips to help you practice online. The Listening section is part of both the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training tests.

IELTS Listening

  • It includes 40 questions, split into four sections. Difficulty increases as you progress.
  • You can only listen to the audio once.
  • The section lasts 30 minutes and an additional ten minutes to complete the answer sheet if you are taking your IELTS test on paper. If you are taking the IELTS on computer test you will not have that extra time.
  • Follow the instructions carefully. For example, if the question asks for an answer of no more than three words, four or more words will be marked as incorrect.
  • The correct or incorrect spelling of your answers will be taken into account.
  • Answer the whole test, even if you are not sure of the answer. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Tips for IELTS Listening

1. Analyse the content

Read the questions carefully before starting. It will help you get an idea of what the conversation will be about and what you should pay more attention to.

2. Search for keywords

If you are working on paper, you can underline the key words in the questions (usually verbs or nouns). On a computer, you can write them down on the sheets provided.

3. Try to predict the answers

When you read the questions, try to picture the possible answers. Try to figure out who can give you that answer and how.

4. Be aware of synonyms

It is possible that the question includes a specific word, but you may find the answer in the audio with a synonym. So it is important to practise your vocabulary.

5. Identify traps

It is likely that someone in the audio could be giving the answer, but saying the word 'not' before. They may also change their mind later in the sentence. Pay close attention to these details.

6. Listen to the tone of voice

There are questions that focus on the emotions of the characters. It is important that in these cases you identify the way they are expressing themselves, beyond what they are saying.

7. Be aware of the entire questionnaire

You should pay attention to all the information in the questionnaire. If you focus only on one question, you may miss important information for the following questions.

8. Practise with different resources

You can prepare for this section of the test using different tools. Take advantage of resources such as television, films or podcasts to practise in your free time.

Continue your IELTS preparation

Check out our IELTS preparation resources and continue to prepare for your test day.