The first part of any IELTS exam is the listening section, which is common for both the academic and the general IELTS tests. This section is very important to the test takers, because it not only carries equal marks as the other sections, but also has some role to play in the better scoring of the test takers. Once an applicant starts to feel that he/she is doing well in the beginning of the test, he/she will feel confident to do well on the rest of the test also. This helps in increasing the score greatly. Also, paying more attention to the playback and writing out lucid answers are always a winning point.
The listening test is sub-divided into four different sections, which are:
- Social Needs Section I - Conversation between two persons.
- Social Needs Section II - Speech by one person.
- Educational or Training I - Conversation between up to four persons.
- Educational or Training II - Speech by one person.
The Sections I and II are topics of general interest and are usually reports about lost items or introduction to a public facility like a library or a new canteen, etc. Section I will be a dialogue while section II will be a monologue. Sections III and IV will be related to education or training in some way. One will be a lecture by a person while the other could be an interactive class session with one or more students or something similar.
The listening test has a total of 40 questions. These are grouped in the above sections. If the applicant scores 35 correct answers out of 40, he gets a score band of 8.0. If he scores about 30 correct answers, he gets the band score of 7.0 and so on. The IELTS Listening test takes about 30 minutes for completion. The material comes recorded and is played only once during the exam, during which the candidate must listen attentively, understand the question asked and figure out the correct answer to it.
The questions are arranged in the increasing order of their difficulty, i.e. the simplest question is the first question and the toughest is the last. As the tape plays, one must answer the questions asked. After the end of the recorded material, the candidate is given 10 minutes to copy one’s answers into the answer booklet. As already mentioned above, listening with attention is the most crucial task of this test, so it must be done so with some practice, otherwise it is difficult to do so on the day of the exam. Hence, the applicants must take as many sample tests as possible before the actual exam and be well prepared to tackle all kinds of questions asked with attention.