Category Archives: Listening

Practice IELTS Listening Tests.

9cp9AxocEHere’s a practice IELTS Listening Test I found at Oxford University Press:

IELTS practice  Listening Test section 1   questions,    audio,    answers and tapescript.

IELTS practice  Listening Test section 2   questions,    audio,    answers and tapescript.

IELTS practice  Listening Test section 3   questions,    audio,    answers and tapescript.

IELTS practice  Listening Test section 4   questions,    audio,    answers and tapescript.

The British Council also provides some practice listening material:

IELTS Listening Test Section 1

IELTS Listening Test Section 2

IELTS Listening Test Sections 3 and 4

If you have any questions about the tests or the answers, please feel free to contact me.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

How to improve your IELTS Listening skills.

9cp9AxocEI always advise my students to take absolutely every opportunity to listen to English.  Many of the activities that you might consider ’wasting time’ in your own language, such as watching TV, are actually very useful for your English study.

Listen to everything in English; watch TV programmes and films in English (it’s so easy to change the language setting on a DVD), listen to radio programmes and music in the English language.  If you live in an English speaking country, listen to announcements at the train station, in shops, special events, anywhere.

Have as many conversations in English as you can, especially with native speakers of English but also with your non-native English-speaking friends.  Get an IELTS study group together and speak only in English.  Get to know people from all over the world on this blog and talk to them via skype.

You need to familiarise yourself with the different types of IELTS listening question tasks:

  • Matching tasks
  • True/false tasks
  • Multiple choice tasks
  • Sentence completion tasks
  • Gapfill tasks
  • Diagram labeling tasks
  • Chart/table completion tasks
  • Short answer question tasks.

It’s a good idea to do different exercise to practise these task types.  Over the years, I have taught from many different IELTS books and one of the best I have found for self study is 202 Useful Exercises for IELTS ~ Academic & General Training Module.


So why do candidates often find the Listening Test the most challenging part of the test?  Well, I think it’s because you have to do a few things at the same time.  You have to:

  • Read the instructions and questions
  • Listen for general information
  • Listen for specific information
  • Write the answers as you listen

I believe that a valuable skill for any listening test is the skill of prediction. So let’s see how this works in the IELTS Listening Test.

You are given time to look at each section before each listening passage and you should use that time to predict information that you will hear.  For example:

  • How many people are involved?
  • What are these people doing?
  • What are these people planning?
  • What do you think these people might say?

Learning to better predict what you might hear will help you work out the meaning of what you hear.

A good way to practise this is to record TV programmes, the news, radio programmes etc and to pause the recording every few minutes and ask yourself what the speaker will say next.  You need to think about the type of information you’re going to hear next; will it be a number, a place, a colour, a person etc.

Continued practice of this kind will help you learn to predict what people are going to say.  You already do this in your mother-tongue, you just don’t think about it consciously as you’re an expert in your own language!

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

The IELTS Listening Test.

9cp9AxocEThe first test of the day will be the Listening Test.  After the doors to the examination room have closed, the invigilator will hand out the IELTS Listening Answer Sheet/ IELTS Reading Answer Sheet and explain how to complete the form.  You can find a specimen of the answer sheet in the The IELTS handbook or IELTS Information for Candidates.

Once everyone has written their personal details on the answer sheet, the question paper is given out.  DON’T open it until you are told to do so! (That’s the teacher in me shouting there!)  The invigilator will show you where to put your name and number on the question paper.  You have to hand in both your question and answer paper but anything you’ve written on the question paper will be ignored.

At that point, the invigilator will play a few sentences to test the recording and make sure everyone can hear properly.  Obviously, if you can’t hear the recording, raise your hand and tell the invigilator immediately.  Once the actual listening test has begun, this won’t be possible as the audio cannot be stopped.

The listening test lasts 30 minutes, has 40 questions and consists of 4 sections, the test is designed to increase in difficulty as it continues.  The recording contains pauses so that you have time to read through the questions before each section and to check your answers afterwards.

You should write all your answers on the question paper whilst you are listening and then at the end of the test, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.  Before you do this, make sure that you write your listening answers on the correct side of the paper.

The invigilator will inform you when the test is over.  As with any exam, you MUST stop writing at this point.  The invigilator will collect the question papers (not the answer sheets, you’ll still need that for the Reading Sub-test)  and once that’s done, the Reading Test will begin.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!