IELTS Listening Module

IELTS Listening Task 01:

The IELTS Listening test will take about 30 minutes, and you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

The four parts of this practice Listening test are presented over four separate web pages. Make sure you move swiftly from one page to the next so that your practice is as realistic as possible.

Download the question paper and blank answer sheet before you start, and write your answers on the question paper while you are listening. Use a pencil.

Listen to the instructions for each section of the test carefully. Answer all of the questions.

There are 40 questions altogether. Each question carries one mark.

For each part of the test, there will be time for you to look through the questions and time for you to check your answers.

When you have completed all four parts of the Listening test you will have ten minutes to copy your answers on to a separate answer sheet.

We can make special arrangements for test takers with disabilities. If you require a modified version of the test, for example, in Braille, contact your test centre three months in advance to discuss your requirements.

IELTS Listening Test Information:

There is only one listening test for all IELTS candidates. That means Academic and General Training candidates will take the same listening test with the same scoring.

  1. The IELTS listening test lasted for a total of 40 mins.
  2. The IELTS listening recording will last for 30 mins.
  3. You must listen and write your answers on the questions paper at the same time.
  4. After the recording ends, you will be given an extra 10 mins to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.
  5. For the computer delivered IELTS listening test, your answers do not need to be transferred, so you are instead given 2 mins for checking answers.
  6. For each set of questions there will be a word count limit – you need to pay close attention to the limit and how it changes for the next set of questions.
    1. For example: write no more than two words and/or a number – you can write one word, two words OR a combination of one or two words with a number OR just a number on its own. Always notice if it allows “a number” or “numbers”.
    2. You can learn how words are counted for IELTS listening on this page: Counting Words
  7. You will have time to read the questions before the recording starts.
  8. If the word is spelled wrong, it will be marked wrong.
  9. COMPUTER DELIVERED IELTS.  Click here to read about the Pros & Cons of Computer Based IELTS
How words are counted in IELTS:

IELTS Tips: Learn how your words are counted in IELTS. This explains about counting words, numbers and symbols. You need to know how words are counted for IELTS listening, reading and writing. If you make mistakes with the number of words, you can lose points which can affect your band score.

1. Numbers, dates and time are counted as words in writing. For example 30,000 = one word  /  55  = one word  /  9.30am = one word / 12.06.2016 = one word. In listening, 30,000 is counted as one number and 9.30AM is also counted as one number.

2. Dates written as both words and numbers are counted in this way: 12th July = one number and one word.

3. Symbols with numbers are not counted. For example, 55% = one number (the symbol “%” is not counted as a word). However, if you write “55 percent” it is counted as one word and one number.

4. Small words such as “a” or “an” are counted. All prepositions, such as “in” or “at” are also counted. All words are counted.

5. Hyphenated words like “up-to-date” are counted as one word.

6. Compound nouns which are written as one word are also counted as one word. For example, blackboard = one word.

7. Compound nouns which are written as two separate words, are counted as two words. For example, university bookshop = two words.

8. All words are counted, including words in brackets. For example in IELTS writing, “The majority of energy was generated by electricity (55%).”. This sentence is counted as 9 words. The number in brackets is counted.

9. Some people have asked me if words such as “the” are counted only once regardless of how many times they are used. It is best to illustrate: “The man walked into the shop for the newspaper” = 9 words.

10. Contractions are counted as: it’s = one word / it is = two words.

How are words counted – Answers

The answers below show how these words and numbers are counted in IELTS writing and IELTS listening. The reading test uses the same system as the listening test.

  1. fair-haired
    1.  This is counted as one word. It is a compound noun but it is connected by a hyphen to make one word.
  2. 55%
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and as one number in listening. The
  3. 1960’s
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and one number in listening.
  4. 21st July
    1. This is counted as two words in writing and in listening is it one number and one word.
  5. can’t
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and listening. Although it has a meaning of two words, the words are contracted to make one word.
  6. blackboard
    1. This is counted as one word only.
  7. 9am
    1. This is counted as one word in writing. In listening, it is counted as one number only. The “am” does not count as a word on its own.
  8. up-to-date
    1. This is counted as one word because it is a compound noun joined with hyphens.
  9. at school
    1. This is counted as two words.
  10. $19.17
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and in listening it is counted as one number. Symbols do not count at all.
IELTS Listening Question Types:
The IELTS Listening section contains a wide range of question types designed to gauge a test taker’s ability to understand important facts and main ideas contained in everyday conversation. Read on to learn more about each question type and how to prepare for this part of the exam.

Listening Question Types on the IELTS

During the IELTS Listening section, students will listen to four recordings. Recordings range in nature from a casual conversation in a social setting to an academic lecture delivered by a professor.

There are 10 questions for each recording, meaning the entire section contains 40 questions. These 40 questions fall into six categories, which are explained below. The number of each question type varies, but there is usually an even distribution between the six categories.

Multiple Choice

Candidates will be asked a question and then given several possible responses. They must then select the option that best represents the correct answer.

In some cases, more than one answer will be correct, and test takers will need to choose multiple responses.


This question type requires candidates to make connections between different pieces of information. Questions of this nature provide candidates with a set of choices, which must then be paired with items from a numbered list.

Map/Plan/Diagram Labeling

These questions involve graphical representations of the topics being discussed in the recordings. Candidates will be shown an image, such as a map of a city or the diagram for a piece of machinery. Certain elements will be left off of the graphic, and candidates must fill them in.

In most instances, candidates will be given a list of possible responses and asked to choose the most appropriate one for each blank.

Table/Form/Note/Summary/Flow-Chart Completion

The completion part of the Listening section requires candidates to finish incomplete outlines related to the recordings. Possible outlines include:

  • Tables: These will organize the key data in a recording according to well-defined categories, such as time, place, price, etc.
  • Forms: Examinees will be given a form containing details about the recording. For example, they might be given a shipping agency’s quotation form and asked to fill in the dimensions and destination of a package, among other information.
  • Flow-Charts: These diagrams show the order in which a process moves from one stage to the next.
  • Notes: These appear in a variety of layouts and require an understanding of how different parts of a recording are linked. For example, test takers might be given a brief outline summarizing an arts center’s history, amenities, and event schedule and asked to fill in the blanks.

The number of words used to fill in each blank is strictly monitored. The question paper will provide clear directions on how responses should be filled out, including information on word limits (‘no more than three words,’ ‘only one word,’ etc.). Any student whose response exceeds the word limit will be penalized.

Sentence Completion

Questions in this category are composed of several sentences with important words and phrases omitted. Candidates will need to plug these gaps using content from the recordings.

As with the other completion tasks, candidates can only use a certain number of words and will be penalized for writing too much.


Unlike the previous question types that provide potential answers or text with gaps to fill in, this section requires candidates to create their own responses. Candidates will be asked questions related to the recordings, and will need to answer it in their own words.

Instructions to test takers

In the actual test you will be given the following instructions:

  • do not open this question paper until you are told to do so
  • write your name and candidate number in the spaces at the top of this page
  • listen to the instructions for each part of the paper carefully
  • answer all the questions
  • while you are listening, write your answers on the question paper
  • you will have 10 minutes at the end of the test to copy your answers onto the separate answer sheet; use a pencil

At the end of the test you will be asked to hand in the question paper.


Once you have completed the practice test, download the answers and see how well you have done.