IELTS Listening Test: Pattern, Format, Syllabus, & Question Types

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 16 September 2023 & Read Time 6 minutes



The IELTS Listening Test is one of the four components of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), a globally recognised test for assessing English language proficiency.


Just like other sections, it is also an important section to get a good band score in IELTS.


Therefore, knowing about the IELTS Listening Test is crucial if you are preparing for the IELTS Exam.


In this context, we have developed this comprehensive guide, where we will delve into the IELTS Listening test, its pattern, format, syllabus, marking scheme, question types, and more.


By the end of this blog, you will have a thorough understanding of what to expect in the IELTS Listening test, making your preparation journey smoother and more effective.


IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to evaluate a candidate's ability to comprehend spoken English in various real-life situations.


It assesses your listening skills in both academic and general contexts, depending on the type of IELTS test you are taking. This test is identical for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.


Let’s understand the IELTS Exam Pattern for Listening Test before starting preparation.


IELTS Listening Exam Pattern

The test consists of four sections, each with a different context and set of questions. Here's an overview of the IELTS Listening exam pattern

Section 1 - Conversation in a Social Context

  • Format - A conversation between two speakers in a social setting.

  • Purpose - To assess your ability to understand everyday social interactions.

  • Number of Questions - 10


Section 2 - Monologue in a Social Context

  • Format - A monologue in a social context, e.g., a speech at a social event.

  • Purpose - To evaluate your ability to comprehend a speech or presentation.

  • Number of Questions - 10


Section 3 - Conversation in an Academic Context

  • Format - A conversation between multiple speakers in an academic context, e.g., a university lecture.

  • Purpose - To gauge your ability to follow academic discussions.

  • Number of Questions - 10


Section 4 - Monologue in an Academic Context

  • Format - A monologue in an academic context, e.g., a university lecture.

  • Purpose - To assess your ability to understand complex academic presentations.

  • Number of Questions – 10

IELTS Listening Test Pattern



Type of Questions

2 conversations and 2 monologues related questions followed by social and academic context.

Number of questions

40 questions

Time Duration

30 minutes


1 mark per question

Band Descriptors/Band score

0-9 band scale

IELTS Listening Syllabus

The IELTS Listening syllabus is diverse, covering a wide range of topics and accents to reflect the real-world scenarios you might encounter in English-speaking countries. Here are some common topics covered in the IELTS Listening Syllabus.



Social interactions

Conversations between friends, family, or colleagues.

Travel and accommodation

Discussions about travel plans, hotel bookings, etc.


Lectures, seminars, and discussions in an academic context.


Meetings, job interviews, and workplace-related discussions.

Public announcements

Information about events, schedules, and services.


Conversations related to technology and its applications.

IELTS Listening Marking Scheme

The IELTS Listening test is marked on a scale of 0 to 9 bands. Each section contributes equally to your overall IELTS listening band score, and your final score is the average of these four section scores.

IELTS Listening Band Score

Number of correct answers (Raw Score)























IELTS Listening Question Types

Here are some common question types you'll encounter in the IELTS Listening Test -

  • Multiple Choice - Selecting the correct option from a list of choices

  • Matching - Matching items from two lists

  • Labelling a Diagram, Map or Plan - Identifying and labelling specific details on a diagram, map or plan.

  • Form Completion - Completing a form or table based on the information you hear.

  • Sentence Completion - Completing sentences based on the audio.

  • Note Completion - Completing notes or summaries based on the audio.

  • Short Answer Questions (Summary Completion) - Providing brief answers to questions.

  • Table and Flow-Chart Completion – Identify the missing details from the table and Flow Chart.



Q1. Is there a difference between the IELTS Listening test in the Academic and General Training modules?

Ans. No, the Listening test is the same for both modules. However, the content of the Listening test may vary slightly to suit the context of academic or general scenarios.


Q2. How can I improve my IELTS Listening skills?

Ans. Practising regularly with authentic IELTS listening materials, such as sample tests, podcasts, and videos, will help to improve IELTS Listening skills. You should also focus on different accents and contexts to be well prepared.


Q3. What happens if I miss an answer while listening to the recording?

Ans. Don't stay on missed answers. Continue listening and focus on the upcoming questions. You can always go back to unanswered questions during the designated time for checking your answers.


Q4. Is there a penalty for wrong answers in the IELTS Listening test?

Ans. No, there is no penalty for incorrect answers, so make sure to attempt every question.


Q5. How long are the listening passages in the IELTS Listening test?

Ans. The passages vary in length, typically around 3-4 minutes each.



In summary, to excel in IELTS listening test, you must familiarise yourself with its pattern, format, syllabus, marking criteria, and question types. Also, proper preparation, including regular practice with authentic listening materials, can significantly enhance your performance.


We hope you got substantial insight into the IELTS Exam Pattern, syllabus, marking scheme, and type of questions. However, you should remember that knowing the exam details is not enough to get a good band score; thorough preparation and practice are the keys to success in the IELTS Listening test.


To prepare for this test adequately, you can contact our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). If you cannot travel to our offices, we offer online counselling services via our website. Our dedicated counsellors will provide you with the best guidance regarding your application to study abroad.


Our expert counsellors will also assist in the visa process for your successful study abroad journey. Don't hesitate to contact us at or call us at 1800-1230-00011.

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