How to Ace the IELTS General Listening Test: Expert Tips and Tricks

Unlocking Success: Mastering the IELTS General Listening Section with Ease

PI - Prepare IELTS


ielts general listening


IELTS General Listening is not just a test. It also holds power to unlock countless opportunities and make your dreams come true. You must be nervously anticipating the examination hall, but it is the road to the pursuit of a better life. As the sounds of listening passages fill your ears, every word carries significance and holds the key to achieving greatness.

From everyday conversations to workplace discussions, the voices in those recordings resonate with real people's struggles, triumphs, and emotions. When you’re navigating through the IELTS, you tackle challenging accents, complex vocabulary, and unexpected twists with unwavering resolve.

IELTS general listening test holds immense significance in showing effective communication skills, strong academic pursuits, enhancing your professional opportunities, empathetic personal development, and cultural engagement, among others. Take a look at a brief understanding of the IELTS General Listening section.

What is IELTS General Listening Section Exactly?

IELTS General Listening is basically designed to assess your listening skills, including how well you understand the main idea being conveyed, as well as your ability to grasp opinions, thoughts, attitudes, and specific facts, as you follow an argument related to everyday social or workplace contexts.

The section usually consists of 4 parts, with 30 minutes for each. General Listening in IELTS is structured like this:

  1. Recording: You will hear a conversation between two people in an everyday social setting. It could be about travel arrangements or ordering food.

  2. Questions: You will get a question paper for different task types, designed to test for specific details, ideas, thoughts, opinions, or the ability to follow the conversation.

  3. Instructions: You will get time to read the questions and instructions before each recording to understand the information you need to listen to.

  4. Listening: You will only hear the recording once, so pay attention. Since the recordings are authentic, you will hear all kinds of accents. Answer the questions while you listen, and write your answers down.

  5. Transferring Answers: After hearing each recording, you are supposed to jot down all your answers in the real answer sheet. Ensure your answers are clear and eligible.

  6. Same Process Repeated for Each Section: The process is repeated with different recordings and questions for three more sections. Discussions of general topics, monologues about work, or conversations about workplace issues may be included.

  7. Variations in Task Types: The varied questions or tasks include multiple-choice, matching, labelling diagrams or maps, completing forms or notes, or completing sentences.

  8. Scoring: Each correct answer gets one mark, and incorrect answers are not penalised. The final IELTS band score is calculated on the basis of correct answers.

The listening section of the IELTS test requires consistent practice in some areas where you may feel challenged, such as understanding different accents, listening to pick out specific information, rapid speech, distractions or background noise, managing your time effectively, different question types, and misspellings or grammatical errors. Hence, you must prepare beforehand for the IELTS general training listening section.

How to Prepare for IELTS General Listening?

Now that you’ve got a deep insight into the IELTS General Listening section, a systematic approach and regular practice are needed. Let’s have a look at some tips to help you prepare effectively:

  • Developing active listening skills: Practice your active listening skills by engaging in English audio materials. You can listen to podcasts, news broadcasts, movies, and TED talks in English.

  • Expose Yourself to Different Accents: Familiarize yourself with various accents and speech patterns from English-speaking countries. You must expose yourself to improve your understanding of different accents that you may hear in the featured recording. 

  • Practising time management techniques: The exam is timed, so you must work on your time management skills. Take a timed IELTS general listening practice test to imitate the real test environment and understand how much time you can devote to each recording. 

  • Develop Note-Taking Skills: Utilize effective note-taking skills to capture crucial information while listening to the recordings, such as jotting down symbols, abbreviations, or keywords to help you remember the key points. You can also practice such strategies while listening to audio materials at home. 

Thus, consistency and dedication while practising are important to perform well in the IELTS General Listening section. Head to our next part on practices for the same.

What are Some Practical Resources for IELTS General Listening?

Besides IELTS General Listening tips, here are some practical resources available to help you better prepare for the same section. 

  1. Utilising official practice materials: Prepare IELTS (PI) and the official IELTS organisation both make available various practice materials, like sample tests, books, and other resources. 

  2. Seeking online resources and sample tests: With Prepare IELTS (PI), you get a free IELTS General Listening Test. This test will help you practice if you want to live or work in a country where English is the native language.

  3. Joining study groups or finding a study partner for practice sessions: Engaging with study groups or exchange partners can effectively improve listening skills. Your ability to understand spoken English will improve as you talk to native English speakers regularly.

  4. Implementing self-assessment and feedback mechanisms: When you implement self-assessment and feedback mechanisms, you will be able to evaluate your progress over time, identify areas for improvement, and receive valuable feedback from others.

What Are a Couple of IELTS General Listening Test Day Strategies?

As you now have a thorough understanding of practical resources for the IELTS General Listening section; thus, a couple of test-day strategies are also essential. Let’s have a look. 

  • Keep Your Cool and Be Confident: Throughout the exam, keep your cool and be confident. You can control exam anxiety by taking deep breaths and focusing on your preparation. Put your faith in yourself and put your best effort forward.

  • Time Management: Pay attention to the allotted time for each section. The number of questions and the time allotted should be noted in your head. Ensure you have adequate time to answer all the questions by keeping your pace correctly.

  • Read Instructions Carefully: Before the recording starts, read the instructions for each set of questions. Make sure you know what the requirements are, what the word limit is, and what any special instructions are.

  • Stay Until the End: Stay until the end of the listening part, even if you believe you have answered all the questions. There could be more inquiries or assignments to finish. Make the most of this time by carefully considering your responses and making any required adjustments.

Henceforth, you can confidently approach the IELTS General Listening part and perform at your best on test day by putting the strategies mentioned above into practice. You must use these strategies during your study period to become comfortable with their efficacy and customize them to fit your unique test-taking style.

What are Some Additional Tips and Resources Available?

To help you improve your preparation for the IELTS General Listening section, consider the following additional recommendations and materials:

  • Books: Some genuine practice tests are part of the "Cambridge IELTS Practise Tests" series, which Cambridge University Press publishes. Numerous listening exercises, answer sheets, and audio files are included.

  • Website: IELTS practice tests, sample questions, and advice for each area, including the Listening section, are available on the official British Council IELTS website, while IELTS Liz provides video lessons and useful blog posts. 

  • Apps: The IELTS Prep App - Official British Council is accessible on both iOS and Android devices and offers interactive exercises, example questions, practice tests and advice for all IELTS exam sections, including the General Listening section.

Apart from studying by yourself, practising under professional guidance and coaching can be immensely beneficial because qualified instructors, expert tips and strategies, authentic study materials, immediate feedback on your performance, familiarity with the exam's intricacies, and a good coach can boost your confidence.

Focus more on mock tests and simulation exercises that closely replicate the exam environment and allow for realistic practice. Setting reasonable goals to keep on track and make progress while maintaining a consistent study routine is essential for efficient IELTS General Listening section preparation.


Summing up, this blog post covered valuable insights and strategies for excelling in the IELTS General Listening part. Mainly, it emphasises the significance of the daily practice, self-assessment, and seeking professional coaches. Now you can enhance your listening skills, boost your confidence, and achieve great success in the IELTS general training listening section.

Stay focused with consistent practice; you have the power to excel and achieve your desired band score. Embark on your journey to master the IELTS General Listening with enthusiasm, knowing that each step you take brings you closer to success and a brighter future.

We hope we have provided you with helpful insight into mastering the IELTS General Listening section. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best guidance in preparing for IELTS.

You can get on a one-to-one free counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


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