Duration and format
The Listening test takes around 30 minutes. There are 40 questions and four sections.
The Listening test is recorded on a CD and is played ONCE only.
During the test, time is given for candidates to read the questions and write down and then check their answers. Answers are written on the question paper as candidates listen. When the recording ends, ten minutes are allowed for candidates to transfer their answers to an answer sheet.
The first two sections are concerned with social needs. There
is a conversation between two speakers and then a monologue. For example – a conversation about travel arrangements or decisions on a night out, and a speech about student services on a university campus or arrangements for meals during a conference.
The final two sections are concerned with situations related more closely to educational or training contexts. There is a conversation between up to four people and then a further monologue. For example – a conversation between a tutor and a student about an assignment or between three students planning a research project, and a lecture or talk of general academic interest.
A range of native-speaker English accents are used in the recordings which reflects the international usage of IELTS.
A variety of questions are used, chosen from the following types:
• multiple choice
• shor t-answer questions
• sentence completion
• note/summary/flow-chart/table completion
• labelling a diagram
Marking and assessment
One mark is awarded for each correct answer in the 40-item test.
A confidential Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the Listening test, which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. Care should be taken when writing answers on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalised.