IELTS Listening Preparation (Part1)

IELTS Listening Exam Format and Question Type:

IELTS Listening test takes 30 minutes. You will get approximately 20 minutes to listen to the tape and answer the questions, and 10 minutes allocated for you to transfer your answers from the question booklet to the answer sheet.

  • All candidates taking the IELTS Test do the same type of Listening test, but the version differs according to the test date.

  • IELTS Listening test consists of 4 sections, and you will hear the tape only once. No part of the tape will be repeated. Generally, there are 40 questions in the listening module but this number can vary from 38 to 42.

  • The listening test becomes more difficult as you progress through the test. Each section is more difficult than the one before.

  • IELTS listening section 1 is based on social or real-life situations. For example, everyday events, such as conversations about accommodation or shopping, or short talks giving practical information for daily living, travel arrangements, visiting a new city, visiting a new university campus or making arrangements to go out. This is usually a conversation between at least two speakers.

  • IELTS listening section 2 is also based on social or real-life situations where you might expect to listen in the news broadcasts, weather forecasts, or a description of college facilities. This is usually one person speaking.

  • IELTS listening section 3 and 4 are usually based on education and training situations. For example, typical situations students face in their courses of study, discussions with tutors or administrators, introductory, course lectures, a group of students planning a project, or a tutor and a student discussing career options. This is often a conversation with up to four speakers.

  • Your answers need to be legible, i.e., they must be clear and readable. This applies to all the types of answers you give: letters, numbers and phrases.

  • You write your answers on the question paper as you do the Listening sub-test, and when it is completed, you have 10 minutes to transfer them carefully onto the Answer Sheet. Make sure that each answer is transferred accurately and is legible.

IELTS Listening Preparation Tips:

  • The voice on the cassette tape reads the instructions on the front of the question booklet. Read the instructions as you listen to the tape to become accustomed to the speed and accent of the speech.

  • Ask the administrator of the IELTS examination to adjust the volume in a suitable level, if necessary.

  • You should not open your booklet until you are told to do so.

  • You must answer the questions provided while you are listening. The questions mostly follow the same sequence as the information contained in the Listening cassette.
  • Write your answers directly into the question booklet. Do not write at answer sheet at this time. You are allocated 10 minutes to transfer your answers at the end of the exam.
  • Read the question and guess about the upcoming question. This will give you advantages to answer the questions correctly.
  • Use Pencils to write down the answers as you might need to change the answer or correct a spelling.
  • Pay special attention to the date, time & spelling of a person's name.
  • Become familiar with the instructions before you do the test.
  • Practice listening as much as possible before you do the test.
  • Listen carefully to the introduction to the test.

  • Listen carefully to any instructions on the cassette.
  • Write as much as you want in the question booklet.

  • Write notes and answers directly into the question booklet as you

When you go to university you will have to interact with many different people in a number of situations. The IELTS Listening test is designed to reflect some of these real-world listening situations. The level of difficulty increases through the paper and there is a range of topics and tasks which test your comprehension skills, e.g. listening for specific information, such as dates and place names, listening for detail, understanding gist and understanding speaker attitude/opinion. As you work your way through the Listening units of this website, you will be introduced to a wide range of IELTS question types and additional exercises to help improve your overall listening strategies.

Listening Test Format
Section 1: A conversation between two speakers in a social or semi-official context.
Section 2: A talk by a single speaker based on a non-academic situation.
Section 3: A conversation with up to four speakers based on academic topics or course-related situations.
Section 4: A university-style lecture or talk.

The IELTS listening question types vary and focus on a variety of different listening skills. For instance, some questions involve completing a form, chart or diagram, others require you to select pictures which represent what you have heard. In addition, there are note-taking exercises and multiple-choice questions. All aspects of the Listening test, as well as additional skills, are covered in this section. So read each part of this section to be prepared for each type of questions you will face in the real IELTS listening test.

UNIT 1: Orientin yourself to the text.
In order to understand what people are saying, it helps to know what their relationship is to each other and to you as the listener. The language we choose to use will depend on our relationship to the other speakers, e.g. we use different language to talk to a family member as opposed to a teacher or a salesperson. Knowing the context of a conversation also helps us to understand the language because it helps us to anticipate what the speakers are going to talk about.

Focus on :
Who are the speakers?
Where are they?
Why are they speaking?

Follow-up: Spoken and written language
Make a list of the types of language you hear spoken every day both in your own language and in English. Divide the list into two columns showing language which is spontaneous or unprepared and language which was probably written to be read out loud. Then discuss the questions below with a partner.

What are the main differences between spoken language and language which was
written to be read out loud? Is it harder to understand one than the other?
Why is it more difficult to understand people when they speak on the telephone?
How is this similar to listening to a recorded conversation?

UNIT 2: Listening for specific information.
Sometimes when we listen, we are only interested in finding out very specific information such as dates and times, names or keywords. It helps us to understand if we can work out what kind of words we are listening for.

Focus on :
What are the keywords?
What type of words are they?

UNIT 3: Identifying detail.
UNIT3 If someone is describing an object like an umbrella; it is the detail in the description, such as the colour or a reference to the shape, which allows us to differentiate it from another umbrella. So we need to listen to the words very carefully which describe the detail.

Focus on :
When do we need to listen for detail?
Why is detail important?

UNIT 4: Identifying main ideas.
When we take part in a conversation or listen to other people, we subconsciously separate the information that we need or that interests us from the rest of what we hear. In other words, we separate the main ideas from the supporting detail. Sometimes people use an introductory phrase to attract our attention and to give some clue to the topic.

Focus on:
What are the speakers talking about?
What are the main ideas and how are they developed?

UNIT 5: Looking for the original meaning.
People do not always say exactly what they mean. As listeners, we must learn to interpret the words people use as well as their intonation patterns. In this unit, we will investigate some ways of seeing beyond the surface meaning of spoken language while following a conversation.

Focus on:
What does the speaker mean exactly?
How can we interpret intonation?


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