IELTS listening

The IELTS listening section is the first part of the IELTS. The listening section is identical between the Academic and General Training versions of the test. The IELTS listening section takes 40 minutes and includes English speakers with different English accents (British, American, Australian, etc.). The first 30 minutes are composed of recordings with time given to answer questions about the recordings. The final 10 minutes are to allow students to transfer answers from their test booklets to their answer sheets.

Question types

Answers to IELTS listening questions are not only multiple-choice. They can be multiple-choice, but they can also be sentence completion or other types of handwritten responses. IELTS listening questions are printed in the test booklet in the same order as their responses are given in the recordings. Students are encouraged to read the questions before the recording starts in order to listen for the answers as they go along. Each recording is played only once.

Test structure

There are 4 parts to the IELTS listening test. The first two parts deal with everyday situations while the second two deal with academic situations:

Part 1 – Dialog

Part 2 – Monolog

Part 3 – Dialog

Part 4 – Monolog


The IELTS listening test has 40 questions in all, with each question counting 1 point. The total score is between 0 and 40, but that score is then converted to a scale of 0 to 9. The IELTS listening section has equal weight to the other three sections of the test in calculating the final IELTS result.