Latest IELTS Listening Practice Test 2023: Format & Sample With Answers

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International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is the most popular English proficiency test used worldwide. A good score in IELTS can help your university application stand out from the rest. IELTS tests your skills in four sections: Listening, Writing, Speaking and Reading. Each segment will be given a score between 0 and 9. Each section has its importance. IELTS Listening practice tests help you get high band scores on D-day when you take the IELTS exam. 

You will have 40 questions on four different recordings in the IELTS listening section. These recordings feature various speakers’ daily conversations, academic lectures, group conversations, and monologues. This section assesses your ability to understand spoken English and analyses how well you process facts and information. These factors play a crucial role in university-level education. In this blog, you will find a detailed overview of the Listening section along with the samples. 

IELTS Listening Format 

The IELTS listening section is allotted 30 minutes for completion. As per the new update, students will begin with the test right after hearing the instructions. The test is divided into 4 ‘parts’, formerly known as ‘sections.’ These parts are conversations between English speakers. Each section will have about ten questions. The overview of the IELTS listening parts is shown below. 

PartsNumber of SpeakersDescription
Part 12A casual conversation in a social setting.
Part 21A monologue in an everyday social background. For instance, a speech about local amenities in the area.
Part 34A discussion set in an educational context.
Part 41An academic lecture

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Latest IELTS Listening Practice Test 2023: Format & Sample With Answers

IELTS Listening: Types of Questions

1. Multiple Choice: For every MCQ, you will be presented with three possibilities. These could be in question-and-answer format, or they could be in complete-the-sentence form. You can select only one option among A, B, and C. Sometimes, you will be specified to choose more than one answer from a longer list of possibilities. We strongly advise taking some time attentively reading the questions.

How to answer:

  • Read the questions carefully and identify the keywords.
  • Make notes of crucial information while listening to the audio.
  • Use the process of elimination to finalise your answer.

2. Matching: You must match the correct items from a list of possibilities to the IELTS listening audio played. These questions assess your ability to recognise facts and comprehend how well you can follow exchanges between two or more people.

How to answer:

  • Read the questions carefully and spot keywords.
  • Think of synonyms and other ways in which keywords can be expressed.
  • Try to map down these words with the audio in the form of a chart or table, so it’s easier to match.

3. Plan, map, and diagram labelling: For such questions, you must label a map, plan and diagram. These are designed to test how well you can visually interpret your understanding. Though these questions might appear anywhere, they typically occur in part 2.

How to answer:

  • Read thoroughly and recognise the keywords.
  • Draw your compass and pay attention to directions. You don’t always get straightforward tips, so make sure you are familiar with phrases used in these types. Example: On the top of generally means to the north of something.

4. Sentence completion:  As the name implies, you must choose one of the three provided answers to finish the sentence. The sentence might not be the same sentence you hear in the recording, but it will convey the same meaning.

How to answer: 

  • Read the sentences thoroughly before the audio is played.
  • Mentally note the important keywords or underline them in the sentence. Be attentive to these keywords when you hear the recording.
  • Make notes you can look back on.
  • You will have a word count of 2 or 3. Make sure you are accurate with your answer.

5. Short-answer questions: This is a typical question-answer type. You will read the question and write a short answer to it. These questions also have a strict word count. Sometimes, you might have to answer in 2-3 points. 

How to answer:

  • Be attentive to the questions and note the keywords.
  • Pay attention to words and question words. Example: If you are asked “why”, you will have to reason with your answer rather than stating your opinion.
  • Abide by the word count. Anything more than the word limit will cost you points. Hyphenated words will count as single words.

6. Form, note, table, flowchart, summary completion: These types of questions prompt you to complete the outline. Each type is explained below.

Form: After listening to a conversation, you must fill in details, such as contact number, name, and address. 

Note: You must summarise the information according to the layout and show different items that relate to one another. 

Table: You must fill up category information, such as place, cost or arrival. 

Flow chart: You must complete the process as displayed by arrows. 

Calculate IELTS Listening Test Scores

Both the IELTS Academic and General modules are marked on a 9-band scale. For example, if the average component ends up in .25, it gets converted to the nearest half band. The nearest whole band will be considered if the score is more than .75. However, if it is lesser than .25 or .75, it will be converted to the nearest lower whole or half band score. The formula is this: Total score = (Listening score + Reading score + Writing score + Speaking score) / 4

The listening band score is calculated out of the 40 questions answered. There is no concept of negative marking in the IELTS listening test. 

Correct AnswersBand Scores

Tips for IELTS Listening Practice Test

Candidates who aspire to achieve a good score must follow these essential tips. 

  • Practice before the final exam
  • Read instructions carefully 
  • Practice multi-tasking 
  • Attempt all questions 
  • Practice transferring answers to the sheet 
  • Look out for synonyms or keywords 
  • Listen for words that indicate the question 
  • Be cautious of the spelling, and always write in capital letters to avoid confusion due to handwriting.

For detailed tips on IELTS listening, read: Top 9 IELTS Listening Tips & Strategies To Improve Your IELTS Score – Leap Scholar The IELTS Listening test is straightforward, although it does necessitate some practice and preparation. The trick is to carefully listen to the instructions and extract the keywords before attempting any questions. To avoid getting caught off guard, practise answering all types of questions. To ensure the best chance of scoring in IELTS, enrol in our free IELTS masterclass today! Get access to IELTS resources, mock tests, and video lessons from our experts. Sign up here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does the listening test consist of? 

    There are four parts in the listening section, and each will be allotted a specific time. After 30 minutes, candidates will be given an additional 10 minutes to transfer their answers. 

  • How can I practice IELTS listening? 

    Candidates can practice the IELTS listening test by listening to previous audio and by completing sample papers. 

  • How can I get 8.5 in listening? 

    It is possible to get 8.5 in listening. However, in order to do so, candidates must get 36 questions correct. 

  • How many times can I hear the recording in the IELTS listening test?

    You can only listen to the recording once, so it is best to pay complete attention.

  • Does spelling matter in IELTS listening?

    Yes, spelling matters in every IELTS section, as the test checks your English proficiency.

  • How can I practice IELTS listening?

    You can practice IELTS listening tests by listening to previous audio and taking mock tests. Always do a self-review to see where you’re lacking.

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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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