Listening test is the first test out of the three tests – listening, reading and writing in both paper-based, and computer-based IELTS tests. The pattern of the listening test is the same for both IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests.
There will be a total of 40 questions to be answered in response to the recordings played in the four parts. The test taker will listen to recordings which are a mix of informative monologues and conversations between two people and each recording is played only once. Each part of the test contains 10 questions.
Test timing: About 30 minutes with an additional 10-minute transfer time for a paper-based test.

IELTS Listening - Types of Questions
Type 1: Multiple choice

In Multiple choice type questions, there is a beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete it, or a question with three possible answers. Read the question carefully and choose the correct answer from the options given – A, B or C. In case a question requires more than one correct answer, there will be a longer list of possible answers and you will be told to choose more than one answer. These questions are used to test a variety of skills including the ability to have a detailed understanding of certain points or an overall apprehension of the main ideas of the listening text.

Type 2: Matching

Test takers need to match a list of things from the audio to a set of answers on the question paper. Matching evaluates the skill of attention to detail and whether the test taker can grasp information from a conversation on an everyday topic, such as identifying diverse types of travel facilities or nearby tourist attractions. It may also be used to analyse the potential to recognize connections between facts in the listening audio.

Type 3: Plan, map, diagram labelling

Test takers are required to label a map (e.g., of a park), plan (e.g., of a structure) or a diagram (e.g., of a machine). There are usually answers that can be selected from a list on the question paper. This task assesses the ability to understand, for instance, the description of a region, and to connect this to a visual representation. This may include managing to follow an audio script expressing directions (e.g., right/left/straight ahead).

Type 4: Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion

In this task, test takers are required to fill in the blanks in a summary of a part or of all of the listening audio. The focus will be on the main ideas in the text. It may be: A form: used to log details such as names of people/places, addresses, phone numbers Notes: used to summarise details by making use of the layout to convey how various items relate to one another. A table: used to outline information which belongs to distinct groups – e.g., place, time etc. A flow-chart: used to sum up a procedure which has distinct stages, with the direction of the flow indicated by arrows. Test taker must keep the word limit in mind while answering as exceeding the word limit will not be awarded with a mark. In addition, the answer must contain the exact words from the recording. Read the instructions mentioned before each set of questions very attentively as the count of words/numbers that should be used will vary, for example: ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. If the word limit is exceeded, the answer will be marked as incorrect. Contracted words like “haven’t” will not be tested and hyphenated words count as a single word, e.g., ‘check-in’.

Type 5: Sentence completion

This task requires the test taker to read a set of sentences briefing key details from one part of the audio or all of it and then fill in a blank in each sentence. A word limit is usually given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. Sentence completion assesses the ability to identify pivotal information. One must understand functional relationships such as cause and effect.

Type 6: Short-answer questions

Test takers are required to write a short answer of two or three words with/without a number using information from the audio description. Sometimes there might be a question which asks to list two or three points. This also includes a word limit, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. Short answer questions assess the ability to listen for firm facts, such as time, names, or places, within the audio.