IELTS listening score-boosting suggestions

IELTS listening boost

IELTS is an English language proficiency test that an individual takes if they are planning to migrate abroad for studies or a job. The test evaluates an individual’s English proficiency by focusing on four abilities: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each section has a different format and set of rules for attempting the questions. Similarly, the listening test includes various types of recordings. The main aim of the listening section is to measure an individual’s ability to listen to a conversation and interpret the ideas shared by others.

Listening section format:

The listening section of IELTS is divided into four parts; each part contains a different type of recording. A candidate who appears in the listening section will only be allowed to hear the recording once. There are many different accents on the recordings, such as British, American, Australian, and Canadian.

You must correctly answer the questions after or while listening to the audio.

Recording 1: This recording will contain an everyday conversation between two people in a social setting.

Recording 2: A monologue in social context, for example, a speech

Recording 3: A conversation among around four people in an educational context

Recording 4: A monologue in educational context

Timing: A candidate will be given 30 minutes to answer the questions plus 10 minutes to transfer the answers.

Number of questions: There are 40 questions in the listening section.

Marks: Each question is worth one point, and the entire listening section is worth 40 points.

A detailed guide to the listening section:

Have a detailed look at the questions asked in the listening section.

Task Type 1: Multiple Choice Questions

A candidate needs to choose the best of the three options given with the question.

Tip: Eliminate wrong answers in the initial stage.

Task Type 2: Matching

A candidate is required to match two sets of items with each other. The two sets would be designed according to some criteria.

Tip: While listening to the audio, try to create links in the minds of different characters and their opinions.

Task 3: Planning, mapping, or labelling diagrams:

The test takers must complete the plan, map, or diagram. The list in the question paper will be supplied, and the candidate needs to select the appropriate word to fill the blank.

Tip: Analyse the list on the question paper and put it in sequential order as per the recording. While listening to the recording, try to put everything in the correct order and remember it.

Task Type 4: Fill in the form, note, and summary or flowchart

The list of options will be given to the candidate with the question to choose from.  Here is how the structure of different types of questions would be:

  • Form: It enumerates the factual details.
  • Set of notes: summary of the recording using the layout in relation
  • Table: in tabular format to summarise information, clear sections are described.
  • A flow chart is a diagram that uses arrows to summarise information.

Tip: Have a clear understanding of the recording and try to use abbreviations when making notes.

Task type 5: Sentence completion

An answer to these questions should not be longer than one word.

Tip: As you listen to the audio, think about what it means in your own language to better understand it.

Task type 6: Short answer question:

A candidate needs to enter the answer to the question in no more than three words.

Tip: Pay attention to minor details and write them down while you are listening to the recording.

Tips to boost your listening score:

The listening section of the IELTS test comprises different types of tasks. Each task has different pointers to remember; here are a few that a test taker should consider to do well in the listening section.

  • Ignore the unknown words: When giving an exam, if you do not know the meaning of any specific word, then ignore it. Ignoring the unknown word at the time of the test is still beneficial. But while preparing for a test, equip yourself with those unknown words.
  • Transfer answers correctly: A candidate will be given 10 minutes to transfer the answers. While transferring these answers, take care of the spelling and grammar. Also, while submitting, kindly check whether you are submitting the correct answer or not.
  • Concentrate: While listening to the audio, kindly concentrate on the words spoken. Do not go back and forth while listening to the audio; this tends to limit productivity. Even going back and forth will limit the time.
  • Use abbreviations: While listening to the audio, a candidate needs to write important pointers or answers on the rough sheet. It is preferable to use an abbreviation when writing down the pointers. However, avoid using abbreviations that will be difficult to understand later on.
  • Eliminate confusing answers: There is a possibility that a test taker might hear some confusing answers while listening to the recording.
  • Experiment with different accents: The speakers in the recordings will have a variety of linguistic backgrounds. It is better to listen to the audio from people with different linguistic regions.
  • Do not use more than prescribed words: Certain questions might have limits on the number of words that can be used in the answer. Use no more than the number of words specified, as doing so may result in the elimination of some answers. Ultimately, your score might be hampered.
  • Take notes in chronological order: Taking notes in chronological order will help you remember the recording better. Plus, to complete a summary, flow chart, or table, it will turn out to be helpful.
  • Plus, to complete a summary, flow chart, or table, it will turn out to be helpful.
  • Attempt all questions: You may attempt all questions because there is no negative marking.


The IELTS listening test is meant to measure how well a person can understand spoken and written English. The test consists of four different recordings in various accents. An individual who wishes to ace the listening section of the IELTS exam should follow the tips listed above. Following the tips and dedicating 20 to 30 minutes daily to the listening section preparation will help you achieve the desired score.