What is IELTS Listening Test


The IELTS Listening test is of 40 questions and the duration of the IELTS Listening test is around 40 minutes, including the extra time given to the candidates to put the answers on the answer sheet. The listening test is same for both the IELTS Academic test and the IELTS General test, the listening test will be same. The test is divided into four different sections, which are elaborated below:

  1. Section 1: General Conversation:
  2. Section 2: General Monologue:
  3. Section 3: Academic Conversation:
  4. Section 4: Academic Monologue:

Section 1: General Conversation:

In the first section of the IELTS Listening test, you will hear audio based conversation between two people. There are mostly 1 to 10 questions in first section of the IELTS listening test. You need to answer them one by one. Usually, the questions are fill-in-the-blanks or complete a form.

Section 2: General Monologue:

The second section will have questions 11-20, which you will answer after hearing to a monologue conversation. The audio is related to our daily lives and our daily routine. The question format is similar to the format in the first section.

Section 3: Academic Conversation:

In the third section, the conversation becomes more direct and focuses on a particular subject. There are questions from 21 to 30, based on the conversation. The format of this section is different from the first two sections. There may be MCQs, Fill the blanks, etc

Section 4: Academic Monologue:

The last section will be based upon a monologue on an academic subject. You need to answer the final questions 31-40 in this section. The format of this section is also a bit unique from the other sections.

Question Types in the IELTS Listening Test:

There are six different types of questions/tasks in the IELTS Listening test and each task is clearly different in format.

  1. Multiple Choice Questions
  2. Match the Items
  3. Visual Labeling
  4. Fill in the Gaps
  5. Finishing the Sentence
  6. Short Questions

Multiple Choice Questions:

In this task, the candidate will be given a question with three or four choices. They will have to choose one correct option among all the choices, either A, B, C or D. This is also known as “MCQs”.

Match the Items:

This task requires candidates to match the list of the items to the given questions in the question paper. The information provided is based on the context of the audio.

Visual Labeling:

This task is known as “Diagram or Map labeling task”. In this task, the candidate can be given different options based on the audio script. There may be an uncompleted structure or a building plan, which you are need to fill.

Fill in the Gaps:

This task might come in different shapes. It can be a form to complete or a table to fill. It can be a flow chart or a summary passage to complete. All these forms will be related to the audio file.

Finishing the Sentence:

The question type Finishing the sentence is also like fill in the blanks. The candidate is required to complete a sentence based on the information in the form of audio script. There may be a word limit on this type of questions, if the candidate goes above the limit then they are penalized accordingly.

Short Questions:

This format of this IELTS Listening task requires candidates to read a question and then answer it according to the topic discussed in the audio. There may be a word limit in this section as well and if the candidates violates it, the scores are deducted.

Scoring of the IELTS Listening Test:

The score bands are assigned according to the number of correct answers given by the candidate in the IELTS Listening test. The picture below sums it up pretty accurate.



Here is the official IELTS score chart:


This article summarized all the necessary information one needs to know about the IELTS Listening test. In order to do well in the test, one should look upon IELTS Listening test tips. The tips will come in really handy along with the basic information mentioned in this article.