The module includes four sections, with ten questions in each section. It takes 40 minutes: 30 – for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.


Sections 1 and 2 are about everyday social situations.


  • Section 1 has a conversation between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements)
  • Section 2 has one person speaking (for example, a speech about local facilities).


Sections 3 and 4 are about educational and training situations


  • Section 3 is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, a discussion between two university students, perhaps guided by a tutor)
  • Section 4 has one person speaking about an academic subject.


Each section begins with a short introduction telling the test taker about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing test takers to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.


At the end of the test, students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Test takers will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar

Question types

A variety of questions are used, chosen from the following types:

  • Multiple choice
  • Matching
  • Classification
  • Short-answer questions and lists
  • Note/Table/Flow chart completion
  • Sentence or summary completion
  • Labelling a diagram, map or plan

Each section of the test usually includes two or three question types, so in one complete listening test you could get a maximum of 12 different question types (usually you will get about eight or nine). Sometimes the same question type occurs in more than one section of the test. Remember, you may get a mix of the listening question types in any section of the test.

Skills Tested
What is IELTS testing you on when it comes to listening? IELTS Listening is exactly the same in Academic and General Training. So it makes sense that this section tests a mixture of academic and “life skills” listening. You’ll be expected to understand conversations and monologues related to business, school, and personal life. You can use IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards app to improve your IELTS vocabulary. IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards is the app that covers the most important words used for the real IELTS exam and help you to achieve your goals.