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Mar 17, 2015
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IELTS Listening Exam

In this course we will examine the IELTS listening test.

IELTS listening exam All six question types include;

  • Our successful tips on how to approach this section in the exam
  • sample recordings from past IELTS tests
  • many real time interactive tests for you to try
  • focus areas and transcripts where you may have missed an answer

First of all we will cover the format of the exam and what is required from the student to get a high mark.  We provide video guides and tips on how to use the best skills in doing the IELTS listening test.  With guides on how to approach each question type properly we also provide you with sample exam questions to practice the tips and skills you have learnt.  In addition we provide full transcripts for any wrong answers so that you can see where you’ve gone wrong.

Finally we have the best IELTS listening tests, that cover every possible exam question, for you to try so that you can see how well you would do in exam conditions.

Section 1The Listening Test
Lecture 1Format of the listening testFree Preview
The IELTS listening exam

The listening exam is one of the four components of the IELTS English language proficiency test.  It is held usually on the same day as the Writing and Reading exams.  The listening component is the same format for either the General or Academic versions of IELTS.

The Test lasts for 40mins: 30minutes of recordings and 10 minutes at the end to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.  Unlike other English listening tests, each of the four recordings are played ONCE ONLY for the student.  This can be difficult as even native English speakers will find it hard to hear everything that a person says, however with our successful method of preparing for the test we aim to help you achieve a band 7 or higher on this part of IELTS.

There are 4 Sections over which you will need to give 40 answers.   Each answer is worth 1 point.   In each section there are 10 answers.  Some of these will be 1 answer per question or others will be a few questions that require multiple answers.  The sections are made up of listening tasks that include:

  • Document completion
  • Short Answers
  • Multiple Choice
  • Diagram Labelling
  • Sentence Completion
  • Matching

Accents that you may hear in these listening tasks come from Australia, Canada, United States of America and the United Kingdom, as well as foreign speakers of English, however these accents should be the more neutral ones and not the extreme dialects that we have in all forms of language.


The sections get harder as you progress through the test.  Each section is composed from some of the 6 different types of listening task.  Therefore one of the sections may have a Form Completion task as part 1, and a Sentence Completion task as part 2 of the same section .  Although the types of test will vary within the sections, the people speaking will normally be the same.

What types of task go where in which section of the exam, changes every year as some exams have had multiple choice questions in the first section, whereas others have had them in the fourth section.  These are set each year by the examining body.

sw At the start of each section 30 seconds is given to prepare for the test, and at the end to check your answers.  There is also a 30 second break in the middle when the format of the listening task changes, to prepare for the next part of the section – though sometimes this does not happen, particularly in Section 4, when all of the questions are of the same listening task type.

At the end of the test you will have 10 minutes to review your answers and to transfer them onto your answer sheet.

Lecture 2Preparing for the Course
Lecture 3Your hacks for the Exam
Section 2Document Completion
Lecture 4Introduction
Lecture 5FormsFree Preview

Section 1 Example

A man is enquiring about shipping a package overseas.

Packham Shipping Agency

When ready to begin click Start Quiz

Section 1 Example 2

A man is booking a car for his visit.

Southern Rental Bookings

When ready to begin click Start Quiz

Lecture 6Tables
Lecture 7Notes
Section 3Multiple Choice
Lecture 8Introduction
Lecture 9Short Answers
Lecture 10Comprehension
Lecture 11Completing the Sentence
Section 4Matching
Lecture 12Introduction
Lecture 13Practice Exercises
Section 5Sentence Completion
Lecture 14IntroductionFree Preview
Fill the Gap
In this task type, test takers are required to understand what words could follow logically in the structure of an English sentence.  They have to complete a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER’. Test takers are penalised for writing more than the stated number of words. (Test takers should check this word limit carefully for each task: the limit is either ONE, TWO or THREE words). Contracted words such as they’re (they are), won’t (will not) etc. will not be tested. Hyphenated words (client-centered, same-sex, elephant-pound) count as single words.
This task will either ask you to complete a sentence, or to fill gaps within a sentence.  In either case it is important to relate what you write in the gap, with what is written in the rest of the sentence.
Take a look below at a sample Sentence Completion question.
samplequestion2By looking at the words that come before and after the gap in the sentence we can predict or guess what type of information should go in there.
  • In Question’s 11 and 12 we can expect a word or words that will describe what type of railway station that local services depart from.  This could be Main, central, side or a particular name such as Tara Street, Connolly.
  • Question 13 is talking about time but we wouldn’t expect the words day or week in the gap as they are in the rest of the sentence, also because the word before the gap is every, we also would not expect the time such as 11:45, 12:15 etc, instead we would expect something like 15 minutes or 2 hours to be used here because the instructions do tell us that it may include a number.
  • Finally Question 14 has not clues following the gap and instead requires you to simply complete the sentence.  So before the gap we have the verb includes and this relates to what goes with the price of a first class ticket.  Now this may seem like it could be anything but again the question instructions tell us NO MORE THAN TWO words so it will be just a noun or a noun with an adjective.
REMEMBER the sentence may not be read out by the speaker exactly as it is on the question paper, but all of the answers are given by the speaker and you write them down simply as the speaker says them.  There is no need to paraphrase or change the answers.
Fully reading the question where the gap has to be filled in and paying close attention to what logically could go in the sentence to connect with the words BEFORE and AFTER the gap will help you greatly in completing this task.
Finally remember that time is of the essence  – don’t waste time trying to work out what the speaker said.  Use Phonetic capturing to put the sound onto paper and then in the time you have after the recording finishes playing, then you can try to work out what the speaker was talking about.
Lecture 15Completing Sentence
Section 6Short Answer
Lecture 16Introduction
Lecture 17Practice Exercises
Section 7Diagram Labelling
Lecture 18Introduction
Lecture 19Practice Exercises
Section 8Full Mock Timed Tests
Lecture 20Band scores
Lecture 21Test 1
Lecture 22Test 2
Lecture 23Test 3