This article will teach you everything you need to know about the IELTS listening test in order to score a Band 7+, including:
- Important exam information
- Test day advice
- Guide to IELTS listening
- IELTS listening lessons
- Improving your listening skills
- Listening practice
- How to review your practice tests
- Calculating your band score from your marks
- How to get a band 8 in IELTS listening
- IELTS listening FAQs
Important Exam Information
In order to score a Band 7+ in IELTS listening, you need to have a solid understanding of what is expected from you. Spending time understanding the exam format and question types will allow you to manage your time wisely and walk into the exam with confidence:
- The IELTS listening test lasts around 30 minutes.
- There are 40 questions in total. Each question carries 1 mark.
- The test is divided into 4 parts. The questions get progressively more difficult as the test goes on.
- Timing is key. For each part, you will have time to look at the questions before the recording begins and you will have time to check your answers at the end.
- You will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet provided at the end of the test.
- Both General Training and Academic IELTS pupils take the same Listening exam.
- You can check out our complete guide to the IELTS exam here:
IELTS Preparation Guide
IELTS Test Day Advice
- Arrive at the test centre early and plan your journey in advance. You need to be settled, organised and ready for what’s coming.
- Read and listen to the instructions very carefully. Many students throw away easy marks by misreading or not following simple instructions.
- Write your answers on the test paper. Feel free to write on it. You’ve paid for it.
- Carefully transfer your answers to the answer sheet at the end.
- You can write in all capital letters if you wish.
- If you have problems hearing the recording, complain at the end. You’ve paid for a service and you deserve to be treated properly.
- For more help with test day advice, check out the IELTS website here:
IELTS Test Day Advice
Guide to IELTS Listening
Check out my video series below for an in-depth guide to the listening exam:
IELTS Listening Lessons
This lesson will help you prepare for the test by familiarising you with summary completion questions, giving you some tips and a chance to practice.
This is a good article to start with and will allow you to understand exactly what the test is and how you can use this site to improve your listening skills.
In the first section of the test, there is often a form filling question. Normally the answers will be one or two words long and will be factual information, such as phone numbers, dates and times.
This post will show you how to effectively answer multiple choice questions in the test. It will show you the three different types of multiple choice questions, look at common problems and give you tips and a strategy to help you on test day.
This post will help you answer labelling map or plan IELTS questions more effectively by looking at common problems, useful language and giving you a strategy to use on test day.
Improving your Listening Skills
Many of our pupils need to get at least one Band 8 for visa application or scholarship purposes. This article will detail the exact steps you must take if you need to get a Band 8 in listening.
Podcasts offer you an insight into what you can expect if you actually lived in an English speaking country. There are also so many of them, that you can pick the ones that suit your interests.
Students often ask me ‘How do I improve my reading and listening skills?’ The short answer is ‘Read and listen more.’ However, this is not a very good answer because you need to know HOW to practice and WHERE to get good sources of reading and listening material.
It’s vital that you practice your listening skills at home regularly and strategically. These lessons will teach you how to practice wisely and improve your listening skills at home.
Here are some links to official IELTS practice tests:
Remember: DO NOT use practice tests from unofficial sites. These tests are created by people who do not know what they are doing. They are either too easy or too difficult. The tests will give you a false impression of your current level and will sabotage your progress.
Reviewing Your Practice Tests
- Complete official practice tests under exam conditions.
- Identify any particular question types that caused you problems.
- Analyse your mistakes.
- Think about why you made those mistakes. What were the particular reasons why you answered those questions incorrectly? Was it timing, strategy, vocabulary, grammar, listening skills, spelling?
- Focus on improving your weakest areas first.
- Repeat the process until you are consistently getting the score you need.
Calculating your band score from your marks
You can calculate your Band score by counting up your marks out of 40 and comparing them with the scores below:
18-22- Band 5.5
23-25- Band 6.0
26-29- Band 6.5
30-31- Band 7.0
32-34- Band 7.5
35-36- Band 8.0
37-38- Band 8.5
39-40- Band 9.0
How to Get a Band 8 in IELTS Listening
Hopefully, this guide has given you a better understanding of what it takes to do well in the IELTS test. Now that you have the resources, it’s up to you to use them and practice the strategies you have learned.
For a free series of video lessons sent straight to your inbox, you should try my IELTS Fundamentals Course. It’s free of charge and includes tasks, practice questions and answer sheets to help you activate your knowledge.
Learn more about it here:
If you’re looking for personalised help with your listening skills, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me about my VIP Course. There is a waiting list, but you can learn more about it here.
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