What is IELTS Listening Test?

The listening test has four different sections. And each of the sections is slightly different. And one of the differences is that you're gonna hear different kinds of listening parts, different recordings, different situations, different kinds of topics discussed throughout the test. The first two parts are going to be more about everyday social context. They tend to be simpler, less complicated, less difficult vocabulary, and the topics being discussed are things you would hear in daily life. Part 3 and 4 are going to be more academically oriented. These get a little bit tougher, the language gets a little more academic, and the vocabulary a little bit harder to follow, and the complexity of what they're saying is a little more dense, is a little more complex. 

Part 1

In this scenario, you're going to have two people talking, and usually just exchanging information of some kind. An example of this something you might hear in the first recording on the listening test. Would be two people talking maybe one person is calling into a store and asking a store employee for some information about a product. Or maybe there's a problem that the person calling in is trying to solve with one of the products they purchased at the store.

Part 2

This part is going to be more informative, there's gonna be one person talking, and that person is going to be providing information about something. It's going to be more like a monologue, a speech of some kind, but it's still not a formal speech, it's gonna be a casual scenario. For example you, often find people leading tours, a tour of a city or of a building, things like that. 

Part 3

This part is gonna be a conversation. There could be two people, three or four people talking that you might have to follow along with in the conversation. This is going to typically be a situation where you have some students maybe working on a project of some kind. Maybe they're just working together all students in the group discussing something that's coming up in class that they're preparing for. Or maybe they're talking to a professor, or a teaching assistant of some kind. So somebody might be more of an expert in the group, and the the students are asking questions or getting information from that person.

Part 4

Part 4 is going to be a lecture, one person speaking. The professor is going to be telling you about some topic, and it's going to be difficult content, the kind of content you might expect in a college level lecture. This part is quite a bit more difficult, especially than part one and two of the exam.


In between each recording, each part, you're going to have a little break to look over your answers, and then to look at the upcoming questions that you're going to need to answer. And then at the end of the entire test after all four sections, all four recordings have played, you do have a little bit of time. Thus, you use this time to check answers, to make sure that you didn't make any spelling mistakes, things like that.


It's important to keep in mind that it does differ the timing and the amount of time you're provided to check your answers is different. If you're depending on whether you're taking the paper test or the computer IELTS test. So on the paper test, at the end of the listening section, you have 10 minutes. This is extra time where you get to, basically, take your answers from your answer booklet, and transfer them over to your final answer sheet. The thing you submit with your final answers. They do this because as you're listening they know you're scribbling notes in your test booklet. And you need to have a little time to take all those notes and correctly input them on your answer sheet that you'll hand in for grading.


Computer test is different than that. On the computer test, you don't have any transfer time, because as you're listening to the speaker's talking, you're actually entering your final answers into the computer screen. They give you much less time on the computer test to check your final answers after the last recording has played. You only have two minutes on that test. Therefore, definitely keep this in mind, if you're taking the computer test, I've had students come and say well I expected to get ten whole minutes to go back through the whole test and check my answers. Actually, that doesn't happen on the computer test. You only have two short minutes so there's a little different strategy on that.


Some other important features about the listening test, you can expect different accents, i.e., British accents, American, Australian, New Zealand. Different native English-speaking accents will be represented on the test. Thus, you have to practice listening to people from different parts of the world.