Academic Listening Section of IELTS

Importance of Preparation for IELTS Listening Test

IELTS is taken by students across the globe for pursuing their career or studies in an English-speaking country. It is a fair and consistent method of testing a candidate's proficiency in English Language that is required to study or work abroad. The test is conducted in more than 800 centers that are spread across 130 countries and recognized by several organizations globally that include academic institutions, immigration authorities, government and professional bodies. The test is categorized into two different versions:

  • Academic Training: Candidates appear for this version if they want to pursue an academic course at the graduate or postgraduate level.
  • General Training: This module is considered by those students who want to migrate to countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK where English is the primary mode of communication.

Students should comply with the requirement of the organization or institution before selecting the version of the test that they should take. It is important to mention the version when applying for this exam.

Test Sections of IELTS

IELTS includes the following four sections:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

The students are required to answer all the four sections irrespective of the modules that they have chosen. While the Listening and Speaking test is similar in both the modules, the Reading and Writing section is different for each module.

Listening Test Format

The Listening test is conducted within 30 minutes (approx) and 10 minutes are provided for transferring the data into the answer sheets. There are 40 questions in this section and the test contains four parts:

  • In the first part of this test, a conversation is conducted between two people in a regular social ambience.
  • In the second part, there is a monologue about usual social circumstances.
  • In the third part, there is a conversation that includes up to four people and the topic is related to educational concepts, e.g. a group of students discussing their study plan
  • The fourth part contains a monologue based on an academic topic.

Importance of Preparation for IELTS Listening Test

It evaluates the ability of the students to understand spoken English in several voices and native accents. Let us explore the reasons for which a candidate should focus on the preparations that are required for Academic test of Listening:

  • Each passage will be heard only once and the questions range from flow chart completion, summary completion, maps, diagrams, multiple-choice questions, matching questions, sentence completion and short answers all of which should be completed within the designated time.

  • A variety of accents are used in this section.

  • Since the passages are heard only once, the candidates should prepare themselves for the test of Listening in a manner so that they are able to listen and understand the directions that they need to follow.

  • The students are provided with a booklet containing the instructions and questions and they should answer each question based on the direction that is provided through a pre-recorded tape in the Listening test. Therefore, they should practice listening to voices carefully to write the answers and hear what they should to write the correct answer. In order to learn the strategies of tackling the Listening Section, each student should have adequate preparations.

  • The non-native speakers should mingle with native speakers to understand their speaking techniques as they will have lesser time to answer the questions of Listening section on the day of the test.

How to Prepare for Listening Section

In this section, the students should do the following for an effective preparation:

  • The candidates should practice by using the official practice materials. There are two separate volumes that allow the students to understand the format of the Listening section and the types of questions that they can expect. There is a CD in the first volume of preparation materials that contain samples of Listening test that they should utilize.

  • The candidates should focus on practicing and listening to various accents to acquaint themselves with the voice accents that are used in this section.

  • The voice or the directions are heard only once, so the IELTS applicants should learn how to listen and write the answers at the same time and this is possible only by taking mock tests.

  • It is necessary to read the questions at first so that they are able to write the answer and listen to the next instruction or direction.

  • The candidates should learn to maintain proper pace and agility in order to tackle this section with confidence.


The IELTS Listening assesses the listening skills of the students and it is important to practice by taking mock tests to score well in this section.