Know all about IELTS Listening Test


The IELTS Exam Pattern involves four sections – writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills. There are two types of IELTS Format –  IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Candidates must check the requirements of the college/university they are applying to and then prepare accordingly. IELTS Academic is accepted by universities/colleges worldwide where candidates apply for pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate courses. On the contrary, IELTS General Training is taken by those candidates who are planning to migrate to a major English-speaking nation. It is also taken by those who are shifting to a different country for work-related training. 76% of candidates take the IELTS academic test, and only 24% opt for the general training.

The total duration of the IELTS Exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes. IELTS reading, writing, and listening are taken on the same day, whereas IELTS Speaking can be scheduled on the afternoon of the test day or anytime within a week.

What are the passing marks for IELTS? 

There is no minimum passing score for IELTS. Each university has a different IELTS band score threshold for admissions or enrollment. IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) is generated for everyone with a score range of 1-9. If a candidate fails to appear for IELTS, then band 0 will be issued as the result.

The IELTS pattern is outlined for two distinct sets of people, the contents of the sections are a bit different. The IELTS pattern for the reading and writing sections of each format is different. The sources of passages of IELTS reading and writing tasks are different and purpose-oriented accordingly for IELTS academic and IELTS general training.  

Sections Time Duration Total Questions/Tasks
Listening  30 Minutes 40 Questions
Academic Reading  60 Minutes 40 Questions
General Training Reading 60 Minutes 40 Questions
Speaking (Interview) 11-14 Minutes 3 Questions
General Training Writing 60 Minutes 2 Tasks
Academic Writing 60 Minutes 2 Tasks

Each section has a weightage of 25%, and each section contributes equally towards the overall band score of IELTS.

In this article, we will be analyzing the IELTS Listening Test Format and its Band Score Conversion.

IELTS Listening Test Format

The IELTS pattern for the Listening section includes four tasks. In a task, there will be one recording with 10 questions. In total, there will be 40 questions, and the total time is 30 minutes for this section. Candidates will be given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to the answer sheet. 

Recording Details

  • Section 1: 10 questions (Includes general conversation between 2 English natives)
  • Section 2: 10 questions (Includes monologue on the general topic)
  • Section 3: 10 questions (Includes conversation between 2-4 people around academics)
  • Section 4: 10 questions (Includes monologue on an academic topic)

IELTS Question Pattern for Listening

Questions of IELTS listening include:

  • Multiple choice
  • Match the following
  • Plan, map, diagram labeling
  • Form, note, table, flowchart, summary completion
  • Sentence completion
  • Short-answer questions

These questions analyze how the candidates are focused on the details, and their ability to fetch details as well as their understanding of visual details, key information, and concrete facts.

Note: There is no difference for this section for IELTS academic and general training.

Band score conversion

A Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the IELTS Listening test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole bands and half bands.

One mark is given for each correct answer in the 40-item test. Care should be taken when writing answers on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalized.

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