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IELTS Listening Test

IELTS Listening Topics 2017

The IELTS Listening test has four sections. Each section consists of 10 questions, and the entire listening tests lasts about 30-35 minutes in total. You will hear the IELTS Listening test audio recording only once. Success in this part of the test depends on knowing what type of information you need to listen for to complete the different tasks in each section. You do not need any specialist topic knowledge, but the IELTS Listening test does deal with a variety of different topics as well as voices and different accents.


IELTS listening recordings occasionally feature non-native English speakers such as a foreign student or visitor speaking English, however, their accent is minimal and should present no special difficulty. Apart from that you should be prepared to hear people from many different countries such as Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia as well as others, speaking English.

The IELTS Listening test is designed to measure your ability and skill in the following:
  • identifying specific information
  • identifying main ideas, supporting information and details
  • understanding the speaker's opinion

IELTS Listening Test Sections

Each of the four IELTS Listening test sections may contain three different question types, designed to test a range of listening skills.

At the beginning of each section, there is a short introduction explaining about the speaker(s) involved and the context or situation. The introduction you will hear does not appear in the Listening test booklet or on the question paper. There is time to look at the questions before the recording begins and there is also a short pause in sections 1, 2 and 3 in the middle of the section to allow you an opportunity to look at the series of questions in the second part of the section before the recording continues.

In each section the recording is played only one time and the question sequence always follows the order that the information is heard during each recording. At the end of each section, there is a pause of 30 seconds to allow you to review your answers.

IELTS Listening Test Section 1

This section normally features a conversation related to social needs. It may be an interview at an accommodation agency, or a questionnaire or survey. The types of questions you might need to answer in section 1 are the following: form completion, multiple choice and short answer. In IELTS section 1 listening, the target listening skill being evaluated is ‘listening for specific information’. This might require listening for specific information regarding names, times, dates, prices, measurements, etc.

Usually, the topic is social or general. The situation is often that one speaker needs some information from the other speaker. Here are some examples of the type of conversation you may hear in section 1, and have to answer questions on:
  • Answering questions at customs/ passport control at an airport
  • Asking for directions or how to get to a place such as a library or bus station.
  • Checking into student accommodation
  • Arranging to meet friends

IELTS Listening Test Section 2

This section is usually concerned with social or training situations. You will listen to a monologue about a general, non-academic topic, for example, a short talk about using local library services. Some typical question tasks in section 2 are: completing sentences, completing notes, and entering information into a table or flow-chart. In section 2, the listening skills being evaluated are you ability to listen for the main ideas and their supporting points. Here are some examples of typical monolog situations you might hear in this section:
  • An orientation talk at a library or other public facility
  • A speech on healthy eating
  • A explanation about how to enroll at a leisure center or gym
  • A radio presentation explaining the interesting places worth visiting in a particular area


IELTS Listening Test Section 3

This section deals with educational or training situations. You will listen to a conversation involving two to four people. This might be a discussion between a professor and a student, or maybe various students having a discussing about a project or an assignment. Typical questions tasks in section 3 are: summary completion, diagram labeling, and matching. Section 3 evaluates various listening skills such as identifying specific information, understanding main ideas, supporting points, and a speaker's opinion. Here are some typical conversations you might listen to in section 3:
  • A tutor and student talking about an entry form for an engineering competition
  • Various students in a discussion about a project or presentation on an academic topic
  • An interview for a job
  • A student and their tutor discussing how to complete an assignment or project

IELTS listening Test Section 4

This section also deals with an educational or training situation. It normally features a monologue such as a lecture or tall about a general, non-specialist academic topic of interest. Typical question tasks in section 4 are: classifying information, multiple-choice, and matching information. Note that in section 4 has no break, which means you have to look at all of the questions during the time given before the recording starts. It is important to listen for signaling words which indicate the transition from one part of the talk or lecture to the next. Here are some examples of monologues you might have to listen to in section 4:
  • A radio lecture about health problems
  • A lecture about eclipses given at a university
  • A monologue about the breeding of animals
  • A lecture about Ancient Britain

Good luck with your IELTS test!

Recent IELTS Listening Topics 2017




Section 1
  • Conversation: giving company information (a hot air balloon company)
  • Conversation: a man applying for a credit card
  • Conversation: 2 people talking about a photography course
  • Conversation: (man & woman) making a reservation at a place
  • A map of the place – locating various parts of the place on the map.
  • Conversation: (man & woman) car breakdown assistance

Section 2
  • Tour information
  • SLIV cars: advantages & disadvantages
  • A math project – a girl talking about a project she had done.

Section 3
  • Describing a process (commercial printing)
  • Learning methods: traditional vs. participative methods
  • Advice for parents:(a man) offering advice to some parents about sending their children to a vacational camp.

Section 4
  • A speech about different types of methodology used in research
  • A speech about some marketing ideas.
  • A speech about communication in the workplace.



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