The IELTS Listening test is based on different audio which the test taker listens to, and answers questions based on it.  The aim of this blog is to provide valuable tips and tricks to be better prepared for the IELTS listening test. Read along to find out about the IELTS listening computer-based tips, the scores, and practice tests.

The IELTS listening comprises four different listening tasks, which can be monologues, a conversation between two people, or among a group of people. The test taker is required to listen to the audio carefully, and then answer the questions based on it. The total duration of the IELTS Listening exam is 30 minutes, an additional 10 minutes are given for transferring the answers to a separate sheet.

IELTS Listening Test Format

The IELTS Listening Test is divided into four sections and each section has a different recording which the test taker listens to. The conversations and recordings are that of native English speakers. The four sections are as below:

  • The first part is a conversation among two people based on a regular social context
  • The second part is a monologue that is based on a regular social context
  • The third part is a group conversation among three to four people or more and is based on educational or training context
  • The fourth part is a monologue based on the educational context


The test takers have to listen carefully to all conversations and note their answers simultaneously on the question paper. When the test ends, an additional time of 10 minutes is given to move the answers to a separate answer sheet. It is important to take care of the grammar and spellings, as errors may lead to marks deduction.

The total number of questions is 40 and carry one mark each. The question types of the IELTS Listening test may include a variety of options like multiple choice, matching, plan, map, or diagram labelling, completion of form, note, flowchart, summary, or sentence, and short answer type questions.

Also Read: IELTS Listening Practice: Tips and Tricks To Get a Good Band Score in IELTS Exam

IELTS Listening Tips and Tricks

Other than the physical tests, the IELTS Listening is also computer-based, and following ahead are a few tips and tricks, that may even fetch you a band 9 if followed with utmost precision. Getting such a score is an extraordinary task, but one can always adhere to these IELTS listening tips for band 9:

Improving General Listening Skills

All recordings in the tests are played just once, and it is important to listen to them carefully. For this, the practice tests are alone not very helpful. It is important to develop general listening skills by listening to TV shows or radio shows, podcasts, or narratives by native English speakers. Once the skills are sharp, the listening practice tests can be attempted to get familiar with the exam format.

Number of Words

It is very important to take care of the number of words for a particular question while answering, which may change with each question. The answer may be required in one or two words, or sometimes just a letter. In the case of multiple-choice, if three options are given as a,b and c, and the answer is required in one letter, then the correct letter (for example ‘b’) should be written, and not the answer is given against it.

Don’t Try to Understand Everything

The IELTS Listening test recordings will have a lot of information that is not required for the answers. It is important to look only for the answers, by marking keywords from the questions. Sometimes, two or three answers may come quickly, and sometimes there may be a gap between answers. So it is important to be accurate and focused.

Looking for Common or Silly Mistakes

It is important to take care of the mistakes like writing plural words (with an ‘s’), spelling mistakes, and word forms. These mistakes will lead to a deduction in marks. The information in the recording may keep on changing and it is important to look for the correct answer and not hurrying with it. The next point will give you more on this.

Don’t Hurry with the Answers

Sometimes, a word spoken in the recording may look like the correct answer, and the test taker may quickly write it down. But, another change in the conversation may contain the right answer. For example, refer to the following conversation:

Harry: Thanks for sharing your e-mail. So it is [email protected]m

Tim: No, no, you seem to be mistaken. It’s [email protected], with an ‘m’.

Harry: Oh sorry, I got it.

IELTS Listening Practice Tests

Attempting various practice tests will help in familiarising with the exam format and the type of questions that can be asked. This will also create a time-bound environment to prepare well for the exam. Another important aspect is multi-tasking, since test takers have to listen to audio, find answers, and write them down, all at the same time. Practice tests will help in building this skill.

Also Read: How To Do MCQs in IELTS Listening? Mastering the IELTS Listening Strategy

Transferring the Answers

While transferring the answers, special attention should be given to plurals, grammar, and spellings. Also, no answer should be left blank, as there is no negative marking, it is always wise to write something even if you don’t know the answer, as it may actually turn out to be correct. A guess can always be made if not sure. 

IELTS Listening Score Chart

The IELTS Listening test is for a total of 40 marks. There is one mark for each correct answer and no negative marking. The score obtained by the test taker is then converted to the IELTS band score, which ranges from 0 to 9. Refer to the table below to understand the IELTS Listening Score conversion:

Correct Answer Band Score
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
32-34 7.5
30-31 7
26-29 6.5
23-25 6
18-22 5.5
16-17 5
13-15 4.5


Additional Tips and Tricks for IELTS Listening Test

It is important to develop strong grammar and vocabulary in order to be thoroughly prepared for not just the listening, but other parts of the IELTS exam as well. The listening part requires concentration, as losing focus will lead to missing answers. 30 minutes of time is enough to carefully listen to all recordings, mark the right words, and look for the correct answers.

Also, it is not wise to waste much time on a question if an answer cannot be found. It should not lead to missing out on the other answers. So the person can always come back to it when other answers are written. It is advisable to use a pencil for writing, just in case corrections are to be made. Also, both capital letters and small letters can be used for answering. The capital letters, however, make the answers look bold and clearer.


With all major tips and tricks covered for the IELTS Listening exam, it is important to be in regular practice and implementation. Vocabulary and grammar skills can not be learned overnight and they require time to develop and build. Listening to audio spoken by native English speakers will help a lot in comprehending most speeches and words with ease. For more useful information on the IELTS exam, click here and explore a wide range of tips for a better result.

Also Read: IELTS Listening Map Practice: Here’s Some Tips and a List of Important Phrases