If you are wondering about the IELTS Listening, in this page I am going to present the basic information you need to move on confidently into more depth once you know what you are going to come across.
The Listening section is the same for both Academic and General IELTS and it lasts for 30 minutes. In the end, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto the separate answer sheet. So don’t worry about that, you will have plenty of time.
Listening consists of 4 sections of increasing difficulty with Section 1 being the easiest. Each section consists of 10 questions. You are asked to answer to 40 questions as a total and each correct answer gets one mark.
What makes Listening quite challenging is that you will listen to each section only ONCE. There is no second chance, so you must be really concentrated on what you hear.
You are likely to hear English, Australian, and sometimes American accents, so be sure you are familiar with all of them. There are going to be pauses before each separate task: take advantage of these pauses in order to check the task itself and what you need to do.
Correct spelling is absolutely essential: do not underestimate the importance of correct spelling! A spelling mistake means that you lose points even if your answer is correct and surely you don’t want that, do you?
In Section 1, there will always be an example made out for you at the beginning. It consists of 10 questions and you are probably going to listen to two people talking about a general topic. Sometimes, it is divided in two tasks related to each other but don’t worry, there will always be a pause in between. All in all, you should be able to understand the general information you are given and spell correctly.
In Section 2, there is no example—don’t wait for it. You are going to hear a person talking about a specific subject: a speech about environmental issues, for example. Sometimes, this speaker is announced by another speaker. Section 2 is 10 questions long too and it may consist of two tasks as well, with a pause in between. It goes a step further from section 1 as you have to be able to understand specific information and choose among everything you hear the correct information.
Section 3 is more challenging because there are usually lots of speakers involved: from 2 to 4 speakers! They usually discuss about university matters.
– You should be able to identify:
1.) Which speaker says what
2.) How they relate to each other
3.) Their opinions on the matter they discuss about
You should focus in order to understand who is who by their voices and names. Section 3 is 10 questions long and it may consist of 2 to 3 tasks with a pause in between.
Section 4 is usually a lecture with one speaker and the topic of this lecture is most likely scientific. It is 10 questions long and you should be able to understand the speaker and his/her view on the subject he/she talks about. You also have to identify different ideas and causes and effects. In general, you should be able to follow how the speaker organizes his thoughts in terms of ideas, examples, advantages and disadvantages, and the like.
Now, if you are more of a visual guy or gal, then this video may help: