IELTS Listening Tasks

General Overview

The IELTS Listening test assesses your ability to understand spoken English across various contexts. 

The listening test in IELTS is the same for Academic and General Training candidates. It consists of four parts, each with 10 questions, totaling 40 questions. The difficulty increases gradually. Answers follow the order of information in the recording. The test takes about 30 minutes, including instructions, reading and listening time, and transferring answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.


The Test consists of four sections, each designed to assess different listening skills:

Section 1: Social Situation. (10) questions

  1. Format

    • In Section 1, you will hear a conversation between two speakers.
    • The topics covered are usually related to everyday situations, such as travel arrangements, booking accommodation, or decisions about a night out.
  2. Examples:

    • Here are some scenarios you might encounter in Section 1:
      • Booking a Hotel Room: A conversation between a guest and a hotel receptionist discussing room preferences, check-in procedures, and amenities.
      • Travel Arrangements: Two friends planning a trip, discussing flight schedules, transportation options, and sightseeing plans.
      • Social Invitations: A dialogue between colleagues deciding on a restaurant for a team dinner or a movie night.
      • Section 2: Social situation with one speaker

        • Format:

          • In Section 2, you will hear a monologue (a speech by one person).
          • The monologue is set in an everyday social context.
        • Examples:

          • Here are some scenarios you might encounter in Section 2:
            • Campus Services: A university staff member giving a speech about student services available on campus (e.g., library, counseling, health center).
            • Conference Arrangements: A speaker discussing arrangements for meals, breaks, and sessions during a conference.
            • Tour Guide Information: A guide providing details about a tourist attraction or historical site.

Section 3: Academic Discussion with two or more speakers

In Section 3 of the IELTS Listening Module, you will hear a recorded conversation between two to four speakers. These speakers are usually students or teachers discussing an academic topic. The topic could be related to a specific course assignment, project, or a more general academic subject, such as study skills or university-related matters.

Here are some key points about Section 3 of the IELTS Listening test:

  1. Content: The conversation typically revolves around academic themes, such as presentations, seminars, or organizational aspects of university life.
  2. Difficulty Level: This section is considered moderate to challenging because it involves multiple speakers and more complex language.
  3. Listening Skills Tested:
    • Understanding Details: You need to listen carefully to grasp specific details, such as names, dates, and facts.
    • Inference: You’ll need to infer meaning from context and understand the speakers’ opinions or intentions.
    • Note-Taking: Effective note-taking is crucial to keep track of relevant information.

Section 4: Academic lecture 

In Section 4 of the IELTS Listening Module, you will encounter a single speaker delivering an academic lecture. This section is considered the most challenging because it involves complex language, longer passages, and detailed information. Here are some key points about Section 4:

  1. Content: The lecture usually covers an academic topic related to science, history, social studies, or technology. It could be a university lecture, a research presentation, or an educational talk.
  2. Difficulty Level: Expect a higher level of difficulty compared to previous sections. The speaker may have an accent, and the content can be dense.
  3. Listening Skills Tested:
    • Understanding Main Ideas: Focus on the central theme and purpose of the lecture.
    • Identifying Details: Pay attention to specific facts, examples, and supporting evidence.
    • Note-Taking: Effective note-taking is crucial to capture essential points.
    • Question Types:
      • Multiple Choice: Choose the correct answer from options provided.
      • Gap Fill (Sentence Completion): Fill in missing words or phrases.
      • Matching: Match information to specific categories or statements.
  • Map Completion:
  • Form Completion
  • Flow chart Completion
  • Labeling

How are IELTS Listening answers scored?

Your answers are evaluated by a human examiner. You earn one point for each correct answer, totaling a ‘raw score’ out of 40. This raw score is then converted into a ‘band score’ ranging from 1 to 9. For instance, achieving 30 correct answers corresponds to a band score of 7.0. Although IELTS materials undergo trials and pre-tests, there may still be variations in test difficulty.

To ensure consistency across different test versions, specific band score boundaries are established. This ensures that all test takers’ results align with the same proficiency scale. Essentially, this means that the raw score needed for a Band 6 may vary across different test versions.

 IELTS Listening test band scores and the corresponding number of correct answers:

  1. Band Score 5:

    • To achieve a band score of 5, you need to demonstrate a limited understanding of spoken English.
    • Typically, you should aim to answer 16 questions correctly out of the total 40 questions in the Listening test.
  2. Band Score 6:

    • For a band score of 6, you should have a competent understanding of spoken English.
    • Aim to answer 23  questions correctly.
  3. Band Score 7:

    • To reach a band score of 7, you need a good understanding of spoken English.
    • Aim for 30 correct answers.
  4. Band Score 8:

    • Achieving a band score of 8 indicates a very good understanding of spoken English.
    • You should aim to answer 35 questions correctly

Band Score Threshold

Basic Score Out of 40









Listening Answer Sheet

Sample IELTS Listening Tests