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The IELTS Listening Module

The IELTS listening module is the first module to be tested. Once all candidates are seated in the exam room and the doors have been closed, the invigilator will welcome you and tell you that you are now under exam conditions.

After the initial formalities, the Listening/Reading answer sheet will be handed out. You will be shown how to fill in the information required at the top – your name, the date etc. The invigilators will explain clearly how to complete the form. If you are in any doubt raise your hand and ask them to check what you have done.

When you have finished filling in your details make sure you have the correct side of the answer sheet uppermost. Both the listening and reading answer sheets are on the same piece of paper and it is quite easy to find you are entering your answers on the wrong side so make sure it says IELTS Listening Answer Sheet, not IELTS Reading Answer Sheet.

If you do find you have written your answers on the wrong side, don’t get too worried. Immediately tell the invigilator who will probably be able to let you have another sheet for the Reading test. Of course it’s much better not to let this happen…

Once you have filled in your personal details on the answer sheet as directed by the invigilator the question papers will be given out. Do not open the question paper until told to do so. Opening them before instructed will be considered to be cheating.

The invigilator will show you where to put your name and candidate number on the question paper. Anything you write on the question paper will not be used as part of your assessment.

When the invigilator is ready to start the IELTS Listening test they will tell you that they are going to test the recording. They will play the first two or three introductory sentences. Make sure you can hear clearly. If you can’t, be sure to tell the invigilator who will replace any faulty equipment or move you to another seat. It is important that you can hear clearly as once the recording is restarted it cannot be stopped.

The listening test consists of 4 sections lasting 30 minutes. All necessary pauses and instructions are recorded on the tape. You should write your answers to the questions on the question paper as you go. You will have time to read through the questions to each section before the recording starts as well as time to check your answers at the end of each section. You will then be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. The recording will continue to provide time checks and instructions so keep your headphones on if they are provided.

Be sure to write your answers on the answer sheet clearly, using pencil. The answers you write on the question paper will not be seen by the examiner.

When the test is over you will be told to stop writing, so stop writing and put your pencil down. Failure to stop writing you will be considered to be cheating! At best, the invigilator will cross out anything you wrote after the exam finished. At worst you could be disqualified from the IELTS test. So pay attention to the instructions!

If you want to know what an IELTS Listening answer sheet looks like, take a look at the specimen in the IELTS Handbook or Information for candidates.

When the IELTS Listening test has finished the invigilator will collect your listening question papers and go straight into the reading test.

We have compiled many useful hints and tips for completing the IELTS Listening test.

For information on how to prepare for the IELTS test, check out our IELTS Listening Preparation and IELTS Resources pages.

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