IELTS Academic Listening Test - Prepare for IELTS

IELTS Academic Listening Test


English is a native language in many countries, and to study in these countries, you have to prove your proficiency in the language. The IELTS Academic test will help you establish this and get admission to top universities abroad.

The IELTS Academic test checks the candidates’ proficiency in English through 4 skills - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Here, we are going to discuss the IELTS Academic Listening Test.

IELTS Academic Listening Test - A Quick Snnipet

The IELTS Academic Listening test consists of four parts. Each part has one recording and 10 questions. You must listen to all four recordings and answer all 40 questions in 30 minutes.

In all 4 recordings, you will receive different situations, but the first 2 recordings are based on the everyday context that you have experienced, and the last 2 might occur in an academic context. The same as the 1st and 3rd Recordings, the conversations are between two or more speakers, whereas the rest of the recordings are monologues.

You will have to listen to all the recordings carefully and answer the questions asked in the test. You will get many types of questions in your listening test: multiple-choice questions, map plans, matching practice, sentences, summaries, notes, tables, diagrams, flowchart completion, etc.

Part 1 Conversation between 2 people in an everyday social context. (e.g. a conversation to book a room in a hotel)
Part 2 A monologue set in an everyday social context. (e.g. a talk on using time effectively)
Part 3 Conversation among 3 or 4 people set in an educational or training context. (e.g. students discussing an assignment)
Part 4 Monologue related to academics. (e.g. a university lecture)

Types of Questions/Tasks in IELTS Listening

Based on the recordings, students are asked different types of questions in the IELTS listening test. So, below, let’s explore the different types of questions that are asked in the IELTS listening test.

Multiple Choice Questions

Selecting one right answer or several accurate answers is possible on multiple-choice questions. To ascertain how many replies are necessary, it is imperative that you carefully read the question.

When you come across a multiple-choice question where there is only one right answer (A, B, or C), you will come across:

  • A question with three potential responses

  • The start of a sentence, then three possible ways to finish it

On the other hand, if a multiple-choice question asks you to select more than one correct response, you will be given a longer list of options and told to make several selections.

A wide range of skills are evaluated through multiple-choice questions. They could assess how well you can understand certain details or the key ideas made in the hearing text as a whole.

Matching type questions

Matching questions require you to match answers on the question paper with a numbered list of items that were mentioned in the listening audio. These choices could be some kind of criterion or descriptors.

Pairing exercises assess your ability to pay attention to particular details while determining how well you understand the material shared in talks on common topics. For example, you may be asked to match several types of famous places with their locations. This evaluation also measures how well you can follow conversations between two people. It can also be used to assess how well you comprehend the connections and links between the facts delivered in the listening text.

Completing plan, map, and diagram labels

Your goal in answering this question is to complete any blank labels on a map (such as a town's specific territory), diagram (such as an equipment depiction), or plan (such as a building layout). Usually, the question paper will have a list of options for you to choose from when answering.

This sort of labelling question assesses your ability to understand location descriptions and relate them to visual aids. To correctly evaluate the visual environment, one must be aware of the words used to indicate directions (e.g., straight on, turn left, opposite). This exercise allows you to be evaluated on how well you can combine knowledge from spoken and visual sources.

Completing forms, notes, tables, flow charts, and summaries

Your goal in this completion exercise is to produce an outline that partially or fully depicts the listening text. The primary concepts or information in the text are highlighted in the outline. It can be in a number of formats, including:

  • A form: Used to record accurate information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers

  • A set of notes: Used to summarise information and highlight connections between various components through design

  • A table: Used to summarise data categorised under various headings, like location, time, and cost

  • A flowchart is a visual representation of a process with distinct stages. It uses arrows to illustrate the process's direction.

One of two approaches will be used to choose the missing words in order to finish the outline:

  • From a list on the question paper that is provided

  • By determining the absent words straight from the audio

It is imperative that you adhere to the word restriction mentioned in the instructions and precisely record the words you hear in the recordings.

The amount of words or numbers that must be included in the instructions may vary, so be sure to read them carefully. A word count restriction, such as "NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER," will be specified in the instructions. Please take note of the word limit for each question, as exceeding it may result in your response being marked as wrong. Note that contractions like "don't" will not be evaluated. Moreover, hyphenated terms like "policeman" will be counted as single words.

This gap-filling exercise aims to record the key details that an attentive listener would unavoidably note in this specific situation.

Short-answer questions

You will be offered a question and required to respond succinctly using details from the listening text in the short-answer question style. In some situations, the question asks you to list two or three points.

There will be a word limit stated, such as 'NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER.' Following the word limit is essential, as going over will mark your response incorrectly. Make sure to review the word count for every question closely. Words that are contracted, like "don't," will not be evaluated, while hyphenated words like "policeman" will be counted as single words.

The purpose of short-answer questions is to evaluate your ability to listen for specific details in the listening text, including locations, costs, or timings. It calls for precisely detecting and giving succinct responses depending on the particular details provided in the audio.

Sentence Completion

In this sentence completion exercise, you will come across several sentences that summarise crucial details from either the listening text in its entirety or a certain section of the reading material. It is your responsibility to use the information from the listening text to complete the blanks in each sentence.

There will be a word limit, e.g., 'NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER.' Note that the required word count or number of numbers may change, so carefully read the instructions. Word limits for each question will be indicated, e.g., 'NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER.' It is important to check the word limit for each question because going over will result in your response being flagged as wrong. Words that are contracted, such as "don't," will not be evaluated, while words that are hyphenated, like "policeman," will be counted as single words.

Sentence completion exercises measure your capacity to recognise important details in a text that you are listening to. Accurately identifying the essential points and comprehending functional linkages like cause and effect are necessary.

How is the IELTS Academic Listening Band Score Calculated?

The IELTS listening band scores are calculated according to the number of correct questions that one has answered. The highest band that one can score is 9, and the lowest is 0. Also, there is no negative marking in the IELTS listening test. Below, we have mentioned how much IELTS band score one can obtain according to the

Correct answers Band
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
32-34 7.5
30-31 7
26-29 6.5
23-25 6
18-22 5.5
16-17 5
13-15 4.5
11-12 4

Tips to Prepare for the IELTS Listening Test

Below are some tips and tricks that you can follow while preparing for the IELTS listening test.

  • Pay close attention to the directions: This is particularly true in regard to the word count. You are not allowed to write more than this if the question specifies, "No more than three words." Your response will be erroneous if it contains four words.

  • Learn to speak with a variety of accents: A variety of accents will be included in the IELTS Listening test to represent the global nature of English. As a result, you should become accustomed to hearing accents from various English-speaking nations.

  • Maintain your focus at all times: Maintaining concentration during the IELTS Listening test can be challenging, but it's also crucial if you want to receive a Band 7 or higher. You need to practice active listening to improve your concentration. This entails giving yourself little assignments to complete while you are rehearsing and participating in the listening process, just like you will in the exam.

  • Rehearse hearing things just once: A lot of educators permit their students to hear a recording three or four times. On the other hand, we highly advise practicing the exam in an exam-like setting, which entails listening only once.

  • Become familiar with the many kinds of questions: If you follow this, you'll be fully prepared for exam day and will know exactly how to respond to the many kinds of questions that are asked. You should use actual practice IELTS past papers to assist you with this.

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Important Things to Know about IELTS Listening

IELTS Signposting Language

Using words and phrases to lead the reader through a section or a recording's material is known as signposting. This instance involves an audio recording. The listener may figure out the answer and anticipate what will happen next with the aid of these words and phrases. Below, we have mentioned certain signposting and their purpose.

Purpose Signposting language
Introduction to the lesson/lecture

The purpose of today’s lecture is…

The subject/topic of my talk is ...

The lecture will outline ...

The talk will focus on ...

Today I’ll be talking about / discussing...

Today we are going to talk about…

The topic of today’s lecture is…

Describing the structure of the lecture

I’m going to divide this talk into a few parts

First, we’ll look at….. Then we’ll go on to …

And finally, I’ll…

Introducing the topic/ first point / first section

Let’s start by talking about...

To begin,…


Starting an idea or linking to another idea

Let’s move on to…

Now, let’s turn to…

And I’d now like to talk about…

Building on from the idea that ...,

Another line of thought... demonstrates that ...

Having established ...,

To reach the end of the talk / Summing up

In conclusion, …

From the above, it is clear that …

Several conclusions emerge from this analysis …

To summarise, …

I'd like now to recap...

All in all, mastering the IELTS Academic Listening section is quite important for success in the exam and for completing your dream of studying abroad. By practising regularly, familiarising yourself with different accents, and developing effective note-taking strategies, you can improve your listening skills and boost your overall score. Remember to stay calm and focused during the test, and don't forget to utilise the time given wisely. With dedication and perseverance, you can ace the IELTS Academic listening section and achieve your desired score.


Ans. Yes, it is possible to get a band score of 9 in the IELTS Academic Listening test. If you prepare well, clear your doubts, and practice as much as you can, you can easily get a band score of 9 on the IELTS exam.

Ans. To prepare best for the IELTS Academic listening test, follow the tips suggested by the experts -

  • Know the test
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Underline the keywords to predict the context of the recordings
  • Beware of distractors
  • Don’t wait too long to hear the answer
  • Transfer your answers carefully

Ans. IELTS Academic Listening Test is conducted to check the ability to understand the primary concepts, comprehensive facts, perspectives, purpose, and attitudes of the speakers, as well as your ability to follow the evolution of the ideas.

Ans. To get the 9-band score on the IELTS Listening test, you have to answer all the questions correctly. In the listening test, if you score 39 or 40 out of 40, then there will be a high chance to score band 9 in IELTS.

Ans. As per the previous analysis, candidates who score 30 to 35 marks out of 40, i.e. 7 to 8 band score, is an average score for the IELTS Academic Listening Test.

Ans. You can improve your listening skills by listening to different types of English music, watching English movies and web series without subtitles, listening to podcasts related to various topics, and more.

Ans. You get time to read the questions ahead of time before the audio starts. Make sure you are being cautious and smart with this time. You can read the questions, highlight important terms, and attempt to come up with a possible paraphrase as well.

Ans. You won't lose any points even if you give the wrong response. Therefore, you ought to never leave a question unanswered. You can always guess if you don't know the answer.