Scoring of the Listening Test

IELTS listening is set to test you some basic listening skills.

What skills are tested?

There are 5 different listening skills that are being tested. Knowing what these skill as and how they are used in the exam can help you practice more efficiently.

Predicting: Using your knowledge of a topic and the situation to guess what speakers are talking about.

Identifying key words: You need to be able to identify the most important words in a sentence to understand its meaning. This is often done by listening for tone of voice and the intonation that a speaker uses.

Listening for specific information: Often we listen for one or more important pieces of information, such as a place name in a weather forecast or a number in a television advert. Being able to ignore unimportant information and focus on that specific information is an important skill.

The ability to listen to and identify synonyms and paraphrases for what you are looking for is also important. For example, a question might ask how many days will it rain for and the speaker might use the phrase ‘wet weather’ rather than rain.

Listening intensively: This skill is used when everything the speaker says is important. This could be when instructions are being explained such as when a salesman is explaining to you how to use the new I-pad you have just bought.

Identifying attitudes of speakers: This means working out what the speaker is actually thinking or feeling even though they might not say something directly.

For example, if someone says ‘isn’t that a bit expensive?’ they aren’t asking that question, they are really saying that they think that thing is expensive. Tone of voice and intonation play a role here.

IELTS listening test is divided into four parts, each with 10 questions. Your IELTS listening score can be calculated by counting up your marks out of 40. The listening test contains 40 questions. One mark is awarded for each correct answer (raw score). The score out of 40 is then converted to the IELTS nine-band scale.

IELTS Listening BandMarks
Band 5.518-22
Band 6.023-25
Band 6.526-29
Band 7.030-31
Band 7.532-34
Band 8.035-36
Band 8.537-38
Band 9.039-40

Assessment of the IELTS Listening test

One mark is given for each correct answer in the test. The total number of correct answers (out of the total 40) is then converted into an IELTS Band Score between 0-9. Listening test Band Scores come in whole bands (e.g., 5.0 or 6.0) or half bands (e.g., 5.5 or 6.5).

It is very important that you:

  • spell correctly and check that your answers are grammatically correct. You lose marks if you misspell a word or if you put a word in the wrong grammatical form. If the answer you hear is the verb, complete, but you write the answer in its noun form, completing or completion, it will be marked incorrect.
  • follow the instructions – for example, if the instructions are: Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each answer. The answer will be marked incorrect if you use more than three words.

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