IELTS Listening Section One Tips and Practice

IELTS listening section one contains a dialogue between two people in daily settings. When you are listening, you need to fill in the blanks with information in the dialogue. It is not a difficult part of the listening test. Therefore, our goal is to get all answers correct in this section. Here are the section 1 IELTS listening tips for you to get better scores on this section!

IELTS Listening Section One Tips

Read Instructions and Questions Carefully

The first thing you need to do is to read the instructions and questions carefully. Instructions are important because they tell you what to do. Take the following sentence for example:

Write no more than one word and/or a number for each answer.

You need to know that you should write just one word/number for each blank. Always keep it in your mind when writing your answers.

The questions will tell you what kind of information is required. As reading questions while listening will distract you, it is better to read them while the speaker is reading the example question.

Use Your Prior Knowledge

Then you can use your prior knowledge to predict the words. Prior knowledge refers to your own knowledge and life experience. Most situations in IELTS listening section one are familiar to students. Here is a list of common situations and related vocabulary in this section.

  • Accommodation

Payment: cash, check, credit card, money order

House type: house, flat, dorm, homestay, student hostel

Facilities: gym, laundry, furniture, household appliances


  • Library

ID: ID card, passport, driving license/licence, student card

Book type: novel, magazine, newspaper, fiction, non-fiction, journal, reference book

Rules: due date, loan period, fine, renew a book


  • Bank

Types of bank account: saving account, checking account, deposit account, debit card, credit card

Activities: withdraw money, transfer money, deposit money, open/suspend/activate an account

Required information: billing address, phone number, bank statement


  • Booking a flight

Basic information: departing date, returning date, first/business/economy class

Types of ticket: one-way, round-trip, multi-destination, non-stop flight


  • Buying insurance

Types of insurance: home insurance, medical and dental insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, critical illness insurance

Other related words: coverage, third party, monthly/half-yearly/annually payment, insurance terms


Write Down Answers on the Paper First (for paper-based IELTS)

Although the computer-delivered IELTS is becoming more and more common, the majority of IELTS test-takers still take the exam in its “classic” paper-based form. If your IELTS will be paper-based, be prepared to do some old fashioned writing by hand.

When you are listening, write down answers on the test paper first and then transfer them to the answer sheet. Writing down answers on the answer sheet will be a distraction because you have to pay attention to handwriting and spelling. Besides, you will have another 10 minutes to finish your answer sheet at the end of the listening section.

Last but not least, if you’re taking the paper-based IELTS, check out Magoosh’s guide to IELTS handwriting.


Check Spelling and Grammar

Before handing in your answer sheet, do not forget to check spelling and grammar, especially the plural and past forms of nouns and verbs. Although most students understand these rules, they may have careless mistakes in the test.

IELTS Listening Section One Practice

Click the following links to get sample tasks for you to practice!

Sample test 1 from British Council

Sample test 2 from IELTS Essentials

Sample test 3 from

Sample test 4 from Exam Engilsh


By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • Kuangyan

    Kuangyan creates IELTS blogs at Magoosh. She is passionate about language education and has a MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from New York University. Kuangyan has experience of teaching English both in China and in US. In her free time, she drinks mocha, does yoga, takes photos and travels to different places to explore the exciting world.