1. How long is the IELTS listening test?
40 minutes. You will listen to recordings and write down your answers for 30 minutes, and then you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the test sheet.
2. How many questions are there?
There are 40 questions.
3. How are the scores calculated?
You get one point for each correct answer. You do not lose points for an incorrect answer.
4. What is the difference between the academic test and general test?
There is no difference. Both types of candidates are given the exact same test.
5. Will I have time to look at the questions before I listen?
Yes. There is time to look at the questions before each set of questions. The recording will tell you which questions to look at.
6. Can I write on the question paper?
Yes, you can. You can make notes, underline words and write on any part of the question paper. Only your answer sheet will be marked.
7. How is the listening test marked?
Usually, the local staff, in your local test centre, will mark your paper by hand. The examiners who mark the speaking and writing tests do not usually mark the listening test.
8. Are capital letters important?
No, they are not. For reading and listening capitalisation does not matter. Therefore, even if the answer is London and you write it with a small “L” you still get it right.
9. Is spelling important?
Yes, it is. If the answer is spelt incorrectly, it will be marked wrong. You can use British or American spelling.
10. Do my answers have to be grammatically correct?
Yes, pay close attention in order to make sure that your answer is grammatically correct.
11. What counts as a word/number for an answer word/number limit?
Words with hyphens count as one word. Right-handed is one word. For dates, 12th December is one word and a number. 100 is one number, 1,000,000 is one number.
NOTE: If you are told – NO MORE THAN ONE WORD – it means exactly that. If you use two or more words (even if your answer contains the correct word) the examiner will mark it incorrect. If you are told – NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS – you can use up to a maximum of three words but possibly only one or two words are needed.
12. How many times do I hear the recording?
You will hear each recording ONCE only (other than for the example at the beginning of the test).
13. Do all answers come in order?
All answers occur sequentially [one after the other], for all question types. What this means is that the answer to question 2 will always follow question 1 and so on.
14. How can I quickly improve my score?
The key to success in the listening test is getting used to the way questions get asked and the logic needed to answer them. Do lots of practice tests to learn and understand this. In addition, do lots of listening to English recordings and TV shows to improve your English vocabulary and also become a better listener.
15. What accents do the speakers have on the recordings?
You will hear a range of English accents on the recordings (for example, Australian, British, New Zealand and North American speakers). Accents can be a big issue for a lot of students especially if they are not used to listening to a range of accents. In the IELTS test, you might hear British (English, Scottish, Welsh Irish), Australian, New Zealand, and North American accents. If any of these are unfamiliar to you I would recommend going online and looking for websites that offer the chance to listen to these accents. By simply typing in something like “Australian accent listening practice” you will find some suitable sites to help you practice for free.
See details of my IELTS listening eBook