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How the IELTS Listening Test is Structured

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Are you planning to take the IELTS test?  If so, it is essential to find out how it is structured in order to know what to expect and how to prepare.  In this blog post, we’ll give you an overview of the Listening test as well as a few exam tips.  The purpose of the IELTS listening test is to assess your ability to identify the main points and some specific details about what you have heard in a series of recordings. 

How many sections are there?

There are four sections in the Listening test:

How many questions are there?

There are 40 questions in total – 10 in each section – and there will be various question types e.g. multiple choice, short answers, filling in a form & labelling a diagram.  Make sure you’ve done plenty of practice before the test to get experience of these different question types. 

How many times do I listen to each section?

Only once I’m afraid.  However, you will have time to read the questions and check your answers.  There will also be an example played for you at the start of the first section. 

How long does the test take?

The test takes about 30 minutes and you will have an extra 10 minutes at the end to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. 

Does it matter if I make spelling mistakes?

Yes – all spelling must be correct so be careful when you are transferring your answers.  It is also a good idea to write all your answers in capital letters as these tend to be easier to read than lower case.  

Will there only be British speakers?

No – the recordings include speakers with a variety of accents. 

Do I need to understand everything in the recordings?

The most important thing is to read the tasks carefully and listen for the information required to answer the questions.  There may well be information you do not need.  In the time you have to read the questions, you should try to anticipate what the speakers are going to say.  If you can’t answer a question, do write something even if you think it’s wrong – you will not be penalised for incorrect answers. 

S.L.L.

 

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