IELTS test information

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IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS Listening Test is the first part of the exam. It lasts approximately 30 minutes and the test format consists of 4 sections and a total of 40 questions.

Section Type of listening texts Example
1 A conversation in an everyday social situation. listen
2 A monologue set in an everyday social context. listen
3 A conversation between up to 4 speakers set in an educational or training context. listen
4 A monologue on an academic subject (eg, a university lecture). listen

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

Try out a complete IELTS listening test, check your answers in the transcript and calculate your band score!

iPass was really useful for my IELTS preparation. It is not expensive at all and you can practise anywhere and anytime you want, you just need to turn your computer on. I found the listening and speaking practice very helpful. It helped me to develop my communication skills by discussing a wide range of topics which are frequently needed for IELTS. I got an overall band of 7.5, just what I needed for my Masters Degree!

Beatriz, Portugal

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the IELTS test completed in one day?
The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and in that order.

What can I bring into the examination room?
Only pens, pencils and erasers. Mobile phones must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in area designated by the test supervisor. You also need to bring the same identification documents that you provided when you registered for the IELTS test, as they will be checked by the test administrator and the Speaking examiner and must match the information on your application form.

What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening test?
As IELTS is an international test, a range of native-speaker English accents is used.

How can I prepare for the IELTS Listening test online?
We recommend that you prepare with iPass by signing up for one of our online IELTS preparation courses which include interactive self-access lessons and practice tests in all 4 IELTS modules, plus personal tuition via skype and email with an experienced IELTS trainer.

Is there any difference between the Academic IELTS Listening test and the General Training Listening test?
No. Both tests are the same.

How many marks are awarded for each question?
Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Score out of 40 16-17 18-22 23-25 26-29 30-31 32-34 35-36
IELTS band score 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8

Do the Listening test recordings provide instructions and pauses?
Yes. At the beginning, you hear instructions and a sample question. Then there is a pause to give you time to read the questions in Section 1. Then you listen to Section 1 and answer the questions. The same procedure follows for Sections 2, 3 and 4.

Do I get extra time to transfer my answers at the end of the recording?
Yes. You get an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.

How many times will I hear each recording?
You only hear each recording once.

Can I make notes while I’m listening?
Yes, you can make notes on the question paper.

Can I use a pen for the Listening test?
No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen.

Do I need to pay attention to spelling and grammar?
Yes. You will lose marks for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Can I write my answers in capital letters?
Yes. You can write your answers in lower or upper case.

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Richard, England

Although I’m a native speaker of English I was still worried about taking IELTS as I’d heard the standards were very high, especially for the writing test. I was so desperate to get the required band 7 in each module but I wasn’t convinced I could do it in such a short space of time. I joined iPass to get advice on my writing skills and was very impressed with the level of feedback I received. My online tutors told me exactly what I had to do (and what not to do!) in order to achieve a higher band score and the sample answers were very useful to compare and use as a guideline. Above all, the positive feedback and support I received from Jenny and Nigel really helped me to achieve my goal and I ended up with an overall band 9!!

— Richard, England

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