An introduction to the IELTS listening test

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An introduction to the IELTS listening test

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

TRANSFER: (verb) To move from one place to another or from one type to another. Example: ‘In the IELTS reading test, candidates have to complete the test and transfer their answer to the answer paper in 60 minutes’.

CONFIRM: (verb) Check, verify. For example: ‘It is shop owners’ responsibility to confirm their customers are old enough to buy cigarettes by asking them to provide identification.’

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(noun) CONFIRMATION Example: ‘A confirmation has been made for the booking next month’.

VARY: (verb) differ, show differences. For example: ‘Opinions vary on this subject.’

STRUCTURE: (noun) The way in which parts are arranged or put together. Example: ‘A good essay should have a clear structure’.

(verb) To arrange something into clear parts or order. Example: ‘It is important to structure your answer clearly in the IELTS test’.

CLASSIFY: (verb) To put into a group or category. Example: ‘Humans are classified as mammals. Sharks are classified as fish’.

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SEMI-FORMAL: (adjective) Between casual and formal. Example: ‘The dress code for the party is semi-formal. Suits and ties are not necessary, but jeans are not permitted.’

INFORMAL: Casual. Example: ‘Jeans are informal clothes’.

FORMAL Casual. Example: ‘A suit and tie are formal clothes’.

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Narration:
An introduction to the IELTS listening test. The IELTS listening test itself takes approximately 25 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes after the recordings have finished to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. There are four sections to the listening test, with a total of 40 questions. There are ten questions in each section. The answers will always come in the order of the recording. However, you may hear the speaker or speakers confirming an answer again later on.

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You will hear each recording only once, so you will have to make sure you are listening carefully at all times. One skill you will need to develop is to be able to write your answer and keep listening for the next answer as you write. There is a variety of question types which we will look at later in this lesson. It is important to note that there is usually more than one type of question in each section although rarely more than three types. The number of questions you will have to answer in one question style varies. Sometimes you have to answer all ten questions in one section on one question type. For example, when completing a form.

Any of the question types could be in any section of the listening. It is important that you write down only the words that you hear and do not try to rephrase. As with the reading test, correct spelling is important, and you must always follow the word limit if you are given one. Writing three words when you are only asked for ‘no more than two’ will mean that your answer is wrong, even if it contains the correct information. Here is a table showing you the IELTS band you would get depending on the number of questions you answer correctly.


Now test yourself! Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

The listening test has three sections.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
FALSE: The listening has four sections.

You have ten minutes at the end of the test to transfer your answer to the answer paper.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
TRUE: You have ten minutes at the end of the test to transfer your answer to the answer paper.

There are always 40 questions (10 in each section).

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
TRUE: The 40 questions are divided equally between the 4 sections, with 10 questions per section.

You get to hear the recordings twice.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
FALSE: You only get to the hear the recordings once, so you have to get the answer right first time!

Now move on to Page 2

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