IELTS Listening General Practice Test - PrepareIELTS

IELTS General Listening


The IELTS general listening test, one of four components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is critical in determining your ability to interpret spoken English in various circumstances. With our expert guidance, you'll discover how to effectively approach different question types and gain confidence in your ability to obtain your desired score.

This section will give valuable insights, suggestions, and tactics for performing well on the IELTS general listening exam.

Types of Conversations in IELTS General Listening

Knowing what is tested in the IELTS general listening exam is vital. The test focuses on two types of listening:

  • Casual Conversation : Casual conversation is an informal exchange of words between two people, like an informal conversation between friends or store service. You'll need to know slang, idioms, and quick conversational language.
  • Academic Lectures : These are more formal monologues delivered in an academic setting, such as a university lecture or presentation. The language has a more advanced vocabulary.

Parts of IELTS General Listening

IELTS general listening sessions consist of four parts: conversations, academic lectures, monologues, etc. The test assesses a candidate's ability to understand spoken English in various circumstances, including everyday conversations, discussions, lectures, and presentations.

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

What's the IELTS General Listening Exam Format

The IELTS general listening test exam format is as follows:

  • The IELTS test is 30 minutes long.
  • It has 40 questions in total.
  • You will hear each recording once.
  • Before each recording begins, you will have the opportunity to read the questions.
  • You must have time to recheck your answers at the end of every recording.
  • The recordings are arranged in ascending order of difficulty.

Types of Questions in Listening Test General IELTS

There are four different types of IELTS general listening questions, including multiple-choice questions, matching, flow charts, etc. These questions help measure various parts of the IELTS general listening section. Check the question types in the IELTS listening test.

Task Type Question Type Question Description Skills Assessed
Task Type 1 Multiple choice Candidates must choose from three possible answers (A, B and C) Detailed understanding and overall understanding
Task Type 2 Matching Candidates must match a set of options with numbered list items. Knowledge of information, listening for detail, following conversation, recognising relationships and understanding facts.
Task Type 3 Plan, map, and diagram labelling Candidates must complete labels on a plan, map or chart. Ability to understand.
Task Type 4 Form, note, table, flowchart, summary completion Candidates must fill in the gaps in the outline of all listening text in no more than one or two words. Ability to acquire factual information.
Task Type, 5 Sentence Completion Candidates must summarise the key information in more than one or two words. They identify key information and understand functional relationships.
Task Type 6 Short-answer questions Candidates must read a question and write a short answer. Ability to listen and summarise facts.

How is the IELTS General Listening Score Calculated

The IELTS general listening score is directly proportional to the number of correct answers. The section contains 40 questions and has the highest band score of 9. The table below provides a breakdown of the IELTS listening score. Take a look.

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

IELTS General Listening Marking Criteria

In the IELTS general listening exam, every question carries one mark. The total number of correct answers out of 40 will be converted and measured on the band scale 9. We will now discuss the marking criteria based on the band scores.

Band Scores Marking Criteria
0 No accessible information was provided.
1 Lack of ability to use the language.
2 Use of most basic information, using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Difficulty in understanding spoken English.
3 Understanding of general meaning in very familiar situations. Difficulty in communicating.
4 Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Frequent problems in understanding and expression. Lack of use of complex language.
5 Has partial command of the language. Understanding of the overall meaning of situations. Ability to handle basic communication.
6 Presence of adequate command of the language despite. Ability to use and understand fairly complex language.
7 Presence of operational command of the language. Ability to handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
8 Presence of fully operational command of the language. Ability to handle complex, detailed argumentation well.
9 A fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate, fluent, and complete understanding.

IELTS General Listening Signposting Language

Using phrases and words to guide the student throughout the passage or recording. The phrases given below help the listener find the answers. Check out the list below.

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
Introduce the topic/ first point / first section
  • Let’s start by talking about
  • To begin
  • Firstly
Start an idea or link to another idea Let’s move on to Now, let’s turn to And I’d now like to talk about Building on the idea that Another line of thought on (demonstrate 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

Improve IELTS General Listening Band Score: Preparation Tips

If you want to score well in IELTS general listening, start focusing and practising with reliable material and different English accents. Below are some tips for IELTS general listening to ensure a good band score.

  • Read all the questions carefully to find the answers effortlessly.
  • Make notes while listening to the audio, answer accurately, and check for errors.
  • Focus on keywords in the question.
  • Stick to the word count and follow the instructions.
  • Recheck the answers and then transfer them to the answer booklet.


The IELTS General Listening test assesses your ability to understand the speakers' fundamental concepts, comprehensive facts, views, purpose, and attitudes and your ability to track the evolution of ideas.

Yes, you can retake the Listening test if you do not receive a good band score. However, before retaking it, you should practice as much as possible. IELTS One Skill Retake allows you to retake one of the four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Many applicants pass the IELTS Listening Test on their first attempt every year. If you plan to appear and pass the General Listing on your first attempt, you must follow the proper preparation method. You should also assess the listening test's overall structure. It will help you achieve a good band score on the exam.

The IELTS Listening module consists of four components. Sections 1 and 2 will be based on social situations. Sections 3 and 4 will be academic, however. This module contains 40 questions, with 10 for each segment.

The recording will only be played once, so stay focused. Because you will not have another chance to listen to the recording, make sure you prepare your answers carefully and concentrate properly.

You will be prompted to respond in varying word counts for each question. According to the directions, you must write the precise number of words as replies on the answer sheet.

Yes, you do. Before the audio starts, you can read the questions. Make sure you spend this time wisely and cautiously. You can read the questions, underline terms, and consider various paraphrase options.

The number of questions correctly answered will determine your score. If you got 23 or more right answers out of 40, you will receive a 6 band score. If you get 30 correct answers, you will receive a 7 band score. And if you answer 35 correct questions, you will receive an 8 band score.

The exam includes a range of English accents, including British, American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand.

Improve your IELTS listening skills by regularly practising with various listening resources, comprehending different accents, and developing effective note-taking practices.