IELTS Listening Exam Preparation
- Learn skills
- eBook for a detailed guide to the test
- Do ALL the Cambridge books of past test papers 7-14!
- Learn from your mistakes! Make sure you check and figure out why any answers were wrong. Relisten to the recording to hear it or look at the transcripts at the back of the books.
- If you cannot understand an answer then ask me! Go to the comments section at the bottom of this page and tell me the book, test number, and question number and I will try to explain the answer to you.
Band Converter for the IELTS Listening Test:
If you would like to convert your score out of 40 into an IELTS band score (0-9) you can use the table below as a guide.
|Raw score||0||1||2 – 3||4 – 5||6 – 7||8 – 9||10 – 11||12 – 14||15 – 17||18 – 20||21 – 22||23 – 25||26 – 27||28 – 32||33 – 34||35 – 36||37 – 38||39 – 40|
IELTS Listening Exam Introduction
The IELTS listening test is approximately 40 minutes in length and there are four sections, with a total of 40 questions. The listening test is the same for both academic and general test-takers. The sections are structured as follows:
Section 1: A conversation between 2 people about an everyday situation
Section 2: One person talking about an everyday situation.
Section 3: A group talking about a specialised topic. The conversation is divided into 2 parts.
Section 4: One person talking about a specialised topic – often it is in the format of a lecture.
The listening test uses the following question types:
- multiple choice
- short answer
- sentence completion
- matching phrases
- completing a summary
- labeling a diagram
- gap filling
Tips Skills and Techniques
To improve your score in the IELTS listening section, you should focus on the following areas:
- Understanding the different question types, and how to answer them.
- Understanding how the listening test is graded
- Developing previewing skills (what to do with the 1 minute before each section)
- Developing listening skills, such as listening for key words (intonation and stress)
- Do lots of practice exams and receive feedback on why choices are incorrect and why the answer is the ANSWER.
Before the recording starts:
1. Check instructions – how many words/numbers are permitted for the answer
2. Skim and orientate – establish context (who, where, what)
3. Underline keywords and think of synonyms
4. Establish required information
5. Predict answers
During the recording:
1. Listen for keywords (stressed words)
2. Listen for signposts and synonyms of keywords in the question
3. Work on the current question and look ahead to the next question
4. Skip missed answers and move on
5. Watch out for distracters (incorrect answers)
After the recording (transfer time):
1. Check for spelling or grammatical errors
2. Fill in something for any missing answers
Listen to British English!
BBC English learning
Minimal pairs: words that sound similar
British pronunciation dictionary
Watch TV Shows!
I am recommending my students watch UK and Aussi TV shows to get used to the accents that are used on most IELTS listening tests – here are a couple of websites that introduce some of the shows: