IELTS Listening Question Types

IELTS listening lasts for 30 minutes with another 10 minutes for writing down answers on the answer sheet. Your will hear two monologues and two conversations in both social and academic settings from the tape recorder. You need to answer a number of questions assessing your ability to understand main ideas and details, opinions, attitudes and purpose. Here is a summary of IELTS listening question types that you will meet in the test, but find even more in our IELTS prep.


Form Completion Questions

This is a common question type in IELTS listening test section 1. You will be asked to fill in the blanks based on a recording and the information on the form. It is better to read the form before the recording starts so that you can predict the missing information.

For example, you should pay attention to the address and postcode while listening to complete the following form.

IELTS listening question-magoosh

Here is a sample task with recording  for form completion questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

The multiple choice questions in IELTS listening require you to select the correct answer from three or four words, phrases or sentences. If the choices are long sentences, I also recommend reading those choices before the recording starts. Otherwise, they may distract you while listening to the text.

Here is a sample task with recording for multiple choice questions.

Short Answer Questions

Just like the reading test, short answer questions in listening test also begin with ‘wh’ or how question words and there will be a word limit for your answers such as NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS. You have to understand what is the required information based on the key words in questions. For example, you need to find the two factors while listening to the text for the following question.

IELTS listening questions-magoosh

Here is a sample task with recording for short answer questions.

Sentence Completion Questions

This question type usually appears in section 3 and section 4 in IELTS listening test. You need to understand detailed information and pay attention to the grammar based on the sentence. For the following example questions, you need a noun or noun phrase for question 29 and 30. Besides, the answer to question 30 should be a name of a place.

IELTS listening questions

Here is a sample task with recording for sentence completion questions.

Plan/Diagram/Map Questions

This question type requires you to complete a plan/diagram/map based on the listening. Before answering the questions, you need to understand these graphic representations. For example, the picture in this sample task is a floor plan which requires you to label each room with its function. Here is the recording for this task.

Matching Questions

This question type asks you to match two parts based on the logical relationship of the listening text.

Here is a sample task with recording for matching questions.

It is not hard to get high scores on IELTS listening if you have known each question type and done extensive listening practice. In the real IELTS test, you have to concentrate on the test for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Therefore, it is better to do full length practice tests than focus on each task separately.


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