IELTS Cambridge Listening Practice Test: Free Practice Tests Online

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Cambridge IELTS and CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) are some of the most common listening tests people undertake before going to a native English-speaking country like the United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada.

Both of these tests provide you with a boost in your admission chances for any prestigious colleges or even when you are looking for professional opportunities abroad. One of the primary focuses of IELTS and CEFR is the listening practice in the English language. This page is dedicated to improving your Cambridge listening practice test skills.

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General information about the IELTS Listening test Cambridge

A candidate gets 30 minutes and an additional 10 minutes (for transferring the answers to the answer sheet) to complete the IELTS Listening section. It is a part of both the General Training and the Academic module with no perceptible difference in the difficulty level for aspirants appearing for any of these. The test is divided into four parts or four recordings, and you will have to answer the questions asked about them. While each of them would be spoken by native English speakers, the primary difference lies in accents, such as British, American, Canadian, and more.

  • Round 1 is a recording of a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context. For example, you can come across an individual complaining about heating issues on their new laptop to the customer service executive.
  • Round 2 is a recording of a monologue or an individual talking about their individual life and one or more aspects of the society and the world they live in. For example, a person can discuss a random baseball match they recently watched and how everyone erupted when their favourite team won.
  • Round 3 is a conversation between multiple people (up to four) around education or training. For example, it can be a conversation around projects that three friends have to complete in the current semester and how hectic they are.
  • Round 4 is considered the toughest to comprehend, as it comprises a monologue on academics. For example, a university professor lecturing on artificial intelligence and its impact on daily life.

You receive a Question Booklet and an Answer Sheet. The former contains all the questions you have to answer, whereas the latter is where you present your answers to the examiner for marking.

What is the motive behind IELTS conducting the Listening test?

The primary aim of the IELTS Listening exam is to test the proficiency of the candidate in the English language and how well they understand the central theme and the information around it. It also tries to help the student figure out the speakers’ opinions and attitudes by following the argument or the idea and its development.

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IELTS Cambridge Listening Practice Test: Free Practice Tests Online

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IELTS Cambridge Listening Practice Test: Free Practice Tests Online

IELTS Listening test structure

While you get more leeway in the Speaking section, the Listening round is more restricted in its approach. You are allowed to hear the recording only once, and you have thirty minutes to answer all the questions. The Listening section comprises 40 questions in total, with 10 or more questions each for every round. IELTS follows an easy-to-hard approach where the starting rounds are easier, and the going gets tough as you progress. The board provides you with an additional ten minutes to transfer the answers from the question paper to the final sheet. Each recording ranges from a minute to a couple of minutes and requires the candidate’s utmost attention to capture optimum information while listening.

IELTS Listening task types

While the approach towards listening to each of the recordings would be the same, you can receive a wide range of tasks to perform. Here are some of the task types you are likely to counter in the Listening round –

Sentence completion

Remember how we used to have fill-in-the-blanks in our school days. The concept here is similar, and you will get something you listen to in the passage or its paraphrased version. But make sure you have read the instructions well before answering the question. There are penalties involved if you do not follow the same.

Diagram labelling

Here, you are required to complete labels of a plan, a diagram, or a map. You will get a map and a list on the question paper and will have to plot the answers accordingly. For example, it can be of a possible architecture of a new park in the speaker’s locality and the elements they are looking to add to it.

Flowchart or summary

Here, you may be provided with a form, a table, a flowchart, a note, or a summary, and you need to fill in the missing pieces based on the recording you just heard. There may or may not be options depending on the task. Again, make sure you read the instructions carefully to avoid negative marking.

Short answers

Here, you will have to read a question and furnish an answer in line with the recording you just heard. You are more likely to get a limit of up to three or four words and fill in the requisite answers. For example, you can be asked to name two factors that cause gastric problems for the subject mentioned in the recording.


Here, you will get a numbered list of items that you are to match with each other, depending on how the recording panned out. It requires you to be vigilant and carefully listen to whatever is being said. For example, the question may require you to match the number of people in different captains’ teams. Or you may have to answer the requisite opinion of the person in the recording against a series of subjects provided to them.

Multiple choices

As the name suggests, here you will get a question followed by three possible answers. It can also be in the form of a sentence where you have to choose the correct option that completes the sentence. You may also get a longer list and choose multiple options if mentioned.

Tips for excelling in the Cambridge Listening practice test

If you want to excel at the Cambridge Listening section, you will have to ensure that you give the correct answers to the majority of the questions. But for that, you will have to optimize your preparations and other relevant aspects. Here are some tips to help you excel at the IELTS audio exam –

Know the test before it starts

While surprises are great for your birthdays, they are not so much in the exam hall. Thankfully, be it the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or IELTS, they have a fixed format for their Listening section, and that gives you a breather. So know what to expect and prepare accordingly.

Do not overthink while listening to the audio

While we understand there is a time crunch running havoc in your mind, one important thing for you to pay complete attention to is the audio being played. So it is vital to get used to it when you practice.

Double-check for spelling errors

Spelling errors are a strict no-no for IELTS candidates. So make sure that you double-check for spelling errors in the 10 minutes you get to transfer your answers to the Answer script.

Use synonyms

IELTS is a test for analyzing your English language skills. So synonyms are a vital part of the test, and you can use advanced grammar sparingly to ensure that the examiner understands your grasp of the language.


We hope this page has provided you with the clarity you seek before appearing for the IELTS Listening exam. Make sure you are well-prepared and listen carefully to secure good marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you improve your listening skills?

Ans: Given that you only get to listen to the audio once, it is imperative for you to practice the same during the practice stages. Also, go through the free materials and podcasts you can find on the internet and make sure you are well-prepared.

2. How do I answer the fill-in-the-blank questions?

Ans: The vital part is first to pay detailed attention to the clip. Then make sure you read the instructions well and your answers are in line with the requirements.

3. What is the maximum IELTS Band score?

Ans: Candidates can score a maximum of Band 9 in the IELTS exam.

4. Do I need to answer all the questions correctly to pass?

Ans: While there is no pass or fail in the IELTS landscape, the chances of you securing Band 6 or higher would increase if you give the correct answer to the questions asked.

Know more about IELTS

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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