IELTS Listening Test Tips with Justin

Before the upcoming IELTS Course start date on the 22nd of March, GV Byron Bay’s Director of Studies, Justin, has given us some helpful tips on the Listening component of the exam.

GV Byron Bay's Director of Studies, Justin

The IELTS Listening Test:

Key facts:

–          30 minutes to listen plus 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.

–          Four sections

–          40 questions in total.

How to PREPARE for the test:

In the test you have to listen to a wide range of accents: Australian, New Zealand, British, American, Canadian etc. The best way to practise this is to listen to as many different sources of spoken English as you can. Easy ways to access a wider variety of accents is through watching things like the Australian Network, the BBC, CNN etc. Within the test, there will also be a variety of different situations in which people are speaking. For example, you might hear examples of radio shows, friends hanging out, lectures at University etc. A good way to prepare for this is to practise listening to different situations such as TV soap operas, lifestyle shows, radio shows, and other media which have less formal spoken English, as well as things like documentaries or the Discovery channel, which are usually more formal in their spoken form.


You have time to look through the questions at the very start of the exam. Make sure you get used to using your time in the most efficient way possible. PREDICT what kind of information you think you will hear, and also try and predict what kind of word or words you will need to use to answer the question.

Think about the form of the words, are they looking for adjectives, nouns, adverbs etc? Try and guess as much as possible BEFORE the listening starts.

Listen REALLY carefully to the introduction of each question. This will give you useful clues about the situation and the topic you are about to listen to.

At the end of the listening test, CHECK YOUR WORK carefully. You have ten minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Make sure that you use this time wisely. Have a look at your answers. Do they fit grammatically? Is your spelling correct? Remember, spelling is important in the IELTS exam.

Have a look at this Listening task type as a quick example:

Listening task one:  table completion

You have to complete the table with words from the recording. You should write no more than three words or a number in each space.

Study the table carefully before doing the listening.

Strategy: Try and predict any possible answers. This will help you when listening to the key words in the test. Also have a close look at the parts of the table that are complete. These will help you predict the type of answer that is needed.

Date on which travelling 1
Single or Return 2
Economy or First Class 3

HINT: Always check the numbering to see whether it goes across or down the table.

Journey Outwards Departs Byron 07:30 5
Arrives Sydney 4 11:50pm
Change of buses? Direct Change at Newcastle
Return journey Depart Sydney 16:45 18:05
Arrive Byron 20:21 21:57
Change of buses? Direct 6

There are several different listening task types. If you are interested in learning more about the exam and our courses come and see the Director of Studies in the office any time.

***Click here for the answers***


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