The IELTS Listening Test will take about 30 minutes, and you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

IELTS LISTENING – 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes

Test takers listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write their answers to a series of questions.

I always make sure students:

• Think about the context before they listen and identify the type of information they will need to listen for

• Read the questions before they hear the text and use the time between each section to prepare for the following section

A few more of the best IELTS Listening Tips that you can keep trying include:

  • Work on Your Vocabulary
  • Practice! Be a regular at IELTS Listening Practice Test.
  • Use a Pencil (Neatness Matters!)
  • Answer in CAPITAL LETTERS (Highly Recommended)

LISTENING’s 4 sections, [40 questions, 30 minutes]

IELTS Listening syllabus 2022 has four sections that last for 30 minutes. There are 40 questions in total, and each question carries one mark. The questions get gradually tricky as the test goes on. Timing is critical while attempting this part.

The applicant gets only 10 minutes to transfer answers to the answer sheet provided at the end of the test.

LISTENING Test’s 4 sections are divided into:

Section 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context. This section consists of a conversation you need to listen to where two people talk on everyday social topics. The conversation can be related to anything such as arranging a trip, organizing an event etc. include social needs and conversation between two speakers. Example- travel planning, booking accommodation, unknown city, etc.

Section 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities. In this section you will listen to a talk by one speaker on a general topic. The topic might be about a person giving information on a public event, a service provided etc. described social needs, and it is a monologue. Example- student services on campus, interviews, shopping, etc.

Section 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. education and training context. The third section is a conversion between 4 people. Example- academic assignment, professor’s speech, research project, etc. In this section you will hear a conversation between two or four people about an educational or training context. Aspirants have to listen to the conversation given by four people talking to each other about an assignment for a course or anything related to it.

Section 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture global warming, talk about endangered species, children grow up, forest reserve,

Each section is heard once only. They include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian. This section consists of monologues on an academic or study related topic. You will listen to a talk by a person which is focused academically.

The different types of questions used in IELTS Listening Test include:

  • Multiple choice
  • Matching
  • plan/map/diagram labeling
  • Form completion
  • Note completion
  • Table completion
  • Flow-chart completion
  • Summary completion
  • Sentence completion
  • Short answer completion

Common Reasons Why IELTS Listening Is Problematic

The Listening aspect is yet another aspect to be covered in the IELTS Listening test. This could be a tough and critical aspect but if observation and good listening powers are developed, then it is easy to interpret and score. The Recording is done only once. So it is a huge task on the aspirant to understand, remember and reproduce it correctly.

Some common mistakes that candidates make are:

1. Lack Of Knowledge About The Exam Format

The IELTS academic listening test taker should know the IELTS test format. If you have no proper knowledge of the structure, you can’t take good preparation. For this reason, the IELTS listening exam will be so hard for you. My recommendation is first to know about the test format and then start practice.

2. Less Concentration on the Audio

We as human beings end up with a pre-conceived notion. Most people are bad at listening. The biggest mistake that the IELTS test aspirants make is that they casually listen to the video clip without absorbing all the information given in it. The problematic situation arises when they are unable to remember the correct answer. The foremost important thing is that the aspirant must read the instructions properly, then look for ideas on the given topic and lastly listen carefully to the context of the topic followed by the location. If possible and depending upon the intelligence of the IELTS aspirant, read up all the questions before hand and recollect the answers after listening to the video clip.

3. Avoid Prediction Skills

After having numerous practice sessions, try to predict the kind of audio clip that would be given in the test. Also, be on the watch for the ‘type’ of question that would be asked. From the given transcript of the question paper, underline the phrases which would make for probable questions to be asked. Listen carefully to the key words and other phrases. This may help you determine the nature of the questions.

4. Not Using The Listening Answer Sheet During Practice

If you are using an official listening answer sheet during the practice period, it will be familiar in the exam hall. You can easily use this sheet in the exam hall because you already know the answer sheet format. Another benefit of practicing on the sheet is how to fill up all essential information. Example- Full name, center name, code name, etc.

Many beginner IELTS exam candidates don’t use listening answer sheets, and they are unfamiliar with it in the exam hall. For this reason, the listening section is so difficult for them.

5. The Test Taker Doesn’t Understand The British Accent

In IELTS Listening Test, the British accent is used for conversion. For this reason, the candidate doesn’t understand the recording, and they get a low score. The beginners face more problems answering the question, especially the multiple-choice questions. To overcome accent problems, always practice using British accent audio. Try to listen to the guardian news podcast. Watch English movies with subtitles first and then without subtitles.

6. Lack Of Concentration

If you want a high band score on the IELTS exam, you must concentrate on listening to recordings. If you have a lack of concentration in listening, you can’t find the correct answer. In my experience, it will be so frustrating in the exam hall if you don’t understand the recording. To improve concentration, listen to podcasts with audio transcripts, and watch late-night shows.

7. Guard Yourself Against Distractions

IELTS Examiners use distractor questions in order to confuse the candidates. Pay more attention to minute details. For instance, in one video clip the speaker will speak something wrong and then correct himself. The Multiple Choice Questions also have four confusing options for which you would be required to choose only one correct answer.

8. Lack Of Multitasking Skills

Multitasking is another skill that you have to need in the IELTS listening test. You have to listen to the recording, find out the correct answer, and write the solution simultaneously. Practice on the listening answer sheet for improving your multitasking skill.

9. Knowing Less Range Of Vocabulary

Sometimes you will listen to rich vocabulary within the conversation. If you don’t know the meaning of a vocabulary, it will be hard to find the correct answer. To improve vocabulary, learn topic-specific vocabulary.

10. Concentration Block

 Do not answer all your questions in the same order of the transcript. First of all, answer the questions that you know well, then move on to the lesser known ones. Try hard to answer all the questions but do them correctly. Do not just lean on to one question.

11. Spelling Errors and Grammar Mistakes

 Incorrect spelling would lead to losing marks. Especially, names of countries and places need to be written correctly. In certain cases, names of individuals too need to have the correct spelling. Correct Functional Grammar needs to be used in order to make meaningful sentences.

12. Unanswered Questions

The IELTS Listening test does not deduct marks for wrong answers. But try hard not to leave answers as, if there is an unanswered question then the IELTS aspirant can end up writing the answer in the wrong place.

13. Writing and Listening At the Same Time

Since the Audio clip is played only once, avoid writing important points on the paper simultaneously. This would distract attention from the main audio being played. After the audio clip is played, utilize those extra 10 minutes given for writing the responses on the answer script from memory.

14. Lack of Time Management Knowledge

Time management is another crucial factor in the IELTS exam. If you can’t handle time management properly, it will be so hard to answer the 40 questions at the right time.

15. Less Practice

Less practice is another reason why IELTS Listening Test is so hard. If you don’t have enough practice, it will be hard to get a high band score; for this reason, practice a minimum complete listening test everyday.

16. Not To Keep A Daily Report And Analyze It

Keep a record of your correct and wrong answers during the practice period. Then analyze how much you improve. This method is so powerful. So, you should keep a report and analyze it.

17. Ignoring The Given Instructions

IELTS Listening Test always starts with a set of instructions that candidates need to follow. You must not ignore the instructions in the IELTS Listening Test. Just remember to read the instructions carefully, then the questions, and write answers accordingly.

LASTLY, remember that . . . .

IELTS Listening Test is not very difficult but it can be tricky. Try to avoid these common mistakes in the IELTS Listening Test by practicing as much as you can. These IELTS Listening tips given above will help you in better preparation of IELTS Listening Test and attain a great score.

Just get familiar with different question types, learn different strategies to solve them, and ace the actual test with your desired score. If there are any doubts, do reach out to me!

Good luck in all your endeavours.


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