IELTS Speaking Part 2

IELTS Listening: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The questions below are among those most frequently asked about the Listening module of IELTS. If you are looking for basic information about the structure of the Listening module, you should probably read IELTS Listening: Introduction first.

What kinds of recordings will be played?

There are four listening passages, or sections, and these always follow the same order: Section 1 is a general conversation; Section 2 is a general monologue; Section 3 is an academic conversation; Section 4 is an academic monologue. You might hear, for example, a telephone interview, followed by a radio programme, followed by a seminar discussion and finally an academic lecture.

How much time is there to read the questions?

Before each section begins, you will have a short time of up to 30 seconds to preview questions. There will usually be one more short break in the recording to preview further questions. That is why you should listen carefully to the instruction which tells you exactly which questions will be covered in the next part of the recording. For example: You now have some time to look at questions one to five.

How many times will each listening passage be played?

Once only. If you miss the answer to a question, you should quickly have a guess and then focus your attention entirely on the next question.

Which English accents will I hear in IELTS Listening?

Since IELTS is accepted by institutions in all major English-speaking countries, you should expect to hear any standard variety of English, including British English, American English and Australian English. This may also include different regional forms within each variety. The UK, for example, has a large number of accents including Scots, Northern Irish, Welsh, Scouse, Yorkshire, Mancunian, Geordie, Cockney, Brummie and West Country.

What question types are there in IELTS Listening?

Unlike TOEFL, IELTS includes more than just multiple-choice questions. You may have to answer short questions, complete sentences or a summary, or label a diagram. A very common question type involves completing a set of notes based on the passage. There are ten questions in each section and these will generally be of one to five different types.

Can I write on the question paper?

Yes, you can write freely on the question paper in both English and your own language if you prefer. After the recordings have been played, you will then have ten minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Will I lose marks if don’t spell an answer correctly?

IELTS examiners can overlook very minor errors in spelling or grammar in the Listening module if they judge you have clearly heard the correct answer. But in other modules of IELTS, accuracy in spelling is very important.

Should I use British or American spelling?

Just as you will hear different varieties of English, you can also use different varieties of spelling in IELTS, so both centre and center are acceptable. As a general rule, it is better to decide which spelling variety you want to use and stick to it. That’s true not only in the Listening module but also in the Writing module of IELTS.

How are IELTS Listening scores calculated?

You will be given a score out of 40 and this will be converted into an IELTS band score of 0 to 9 according to the IELTS band score calculator.

What IELTS Listening score is required for university entry?

It varies by university and many do not specify a requirement for each module. However, you should be aiming to achieve a score of at least 6 in IELTS Listening (23-29 correct answers) if you intend to study at an English-speaking university. A band score of 5 (16-22 correct answers) may be sufficient for some foundation and presessional English courses.

How can I raise my IELTS Listening score?

Check out other posts about listening on IELTS Academic for advice on listening techniques, ways you can practice, and explanations of the different question types.


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