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IELTS listening Practice: Free IELTS listening Samples

In this guide you will find free IELTS listening samples, IELTS listening practice questions, and IELTS listening exam tips. If you're looking for IELTS exam preparation and need a high IELTS listening score, this page contains everything you'll need to get started.

IELTS Listening Exam Info

The IELTS Listening Test is divided into 4 sections. In each section, you will listen to one or more native English speakers then answer 10 questions related what you just heard. Therefore, the IELTS listening section contains 40 questions in total. In general, the listening recordings start off easier and get harder as you progress through the exam. Each recording is heard only once and includes a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American, and Canadian.

  • Section 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context. For example, you might hear a conversation about confirming details for a reservation, or placing an order over the phone.
  • Section 2 - a monologue set in an everyday social context. For example, you might hear a speech about local facilities, or someone providing directions, or presenting basic information about an event.
  • Section 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context. For example, you might hear a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a couple of students discussing something from class.
  • Section 4 - a monologue on an academic subject. For example, you will hear a university lecture from a professor. This is the toughest recording on the Listening exam for most students.

The IELTS Listening Test takes around 40 minutes. You will spend 30 minutes on listening to recordings and answering questions. You will be given a Question Booklet and an Answer Sheet. The Question Booklet is where you will see all the questions you need to answer. The Answer Sheet is where you will write your final answers for grading.

You can check out the IELTS official listening answer sheet pdf here or just look at the image below :)

At the end of the listening section, you are given 10 minutes to transfer answers from your Question Booklet to your Answer Sheet.

Misspellings and incorrect grammar are marked INCORRECT, so use the 10 minutes to double check your spelling and Grammar.

IELTS listening answer sheet

Free IELTS listening Sample PDF Download with Answers

Here are some free IELTS listening samples in PDF format with answers from the British Council (the makers of the IELTS exam). Try to answer the questions and see how you do!

IELTS Listening Practice Test
Section 1

This is the first section of your IELTS Listening test. Listen to the audio and answer questions 1-10. You can download the audio transcripts from IELTS Listening Practice Test 1 - questions (PDF)

IELTS listening practice test bus

Questions 1-5

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than two words and/or a number for each answer.
Questions: transport from Bayswater
Express train leaves at (1)
Nearest station is (2)
Number 706 bus goes to (3)
Number (4) bus goes to station
Earlier bus leaves at (5)
Questions 6-10

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than two words and/or a number for each answer.
Transport Cash fare Card fare
Bus (6) $ $1.50
Train (peak) $10 $10
Train (off-peak)
– before 5pm or after (7) pm)
$10 (8) $
(9) ferry $4.50 $3.55
Tourist ferry ((10)) $35
Tourist ferry (whole day) $65
  • spellcheck Answers
    1. 9.30 (am)
    2. Helendale
    3. Central Street/St
    4. (number/no./#) 792
    5. 8.55 (am)
    6. 1.80
    7. 7.30
    8. 7.15
    9. commuter
    10. afternoon
Section 2

This is the second section of your Listening test. Listen to the audio and answer questions 11-20. You can download the audio transcripts from IELTS Listening Practice Test 1- questions (PDF)

IELTS listening practice seminar

Questions 11-14

Which counsellor should you see?

A Louise Bagshaw
B Tony Denby
C Naomi Flynn

Write the correct letter, A, B or C, next to questions 11–14.

11 if it is your first time seeing a counsellor
12 if you are unable to see a counsellor during normal office hours
13 if you do not have an appointment
14 if your concerns are related to anxiety

Questions 15–20

Complete the table below.

Write no more than two words for each answer.
Workshop Contact Target group
Adjusting  what you need to succeed academically (15) students
Getting Organised

use time effectively, find 

(16)  between study and leisure

all students
Communicating  talking with staff, communicating across cultures

all students, especially 


Anxiety (18) , breathing techniques, meditation, etc. students about to sit exams
(19) staying on track for long periods (20)  students only
  • spellcheck Answers
    11. C
    12. C
    13. A
    14. B
    15. first/1st year
    16. (right) balance
    17. international/foreign (students)
    18. relaxation
    19. motivation
    20. research/advanced
Section 3

This is the third section of your Listening test. Listen to the audio and answer questions 21-30. You can download the audio transcripts from IELTS Listening Practice Test 1- questions (PDF)

IELTS listening practice seminar

Questions 21-30

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than three words for each answer.
Novel:  (21)
Protagonists:  Mary Lennox; Colin Craven
Time period:  Early in (22)
Mary moves to UK – meets Colin who thinks he'll never be able to 

(23) . They become friends.

Point of view:  “Omniscient” – narrator knows all about characters' feelings, opinions and (24)
Audience:  Good for children – story simple to follow
Symbols (physical items that represent (25) ):
  • the robin redbreast
  • (26)
  • the portrait of Mistress Craven
Motifs (patterns in the story):
  • the Garden of Eden
  • secrecy – metaphorical and literal transition from 27
Themes:  Connections between
  • (28) and outlook
  • (29) and well-being
  • individuals and the need for (30)
  • spellcheck Answers
    21. The Secret Garden
    22. (the) 20th/twentieth century
    23. walk
    24. motivations/motivation
    25. abstract ideas
    26. roses
    27. dark(ness) to light(ness)
    28. health
    29. environment
    30. human companionship
Section 4

This is the fourth section of your Listening test. Listen to the audio and answer questions 31-40. You can download the audio transcripts from IELTS Listening Practice Test 1- questions (PDF)

IELTS listening practice seminar

Questions 31-35

Complete the table below.

Write one word only for each answer.
Time Perspectives
Time Zone Outlook Features & Consequences
Past Positive Remember good times, e.g. birthdays.
Keep family records, photo albums, etc.
(31) Focus on disappointments, failures, bad decisions.
Present Hedonistic Live for (32) ; seek sensation; avoid pain.
Fatalistic Life is governed by (33) , religious beliefs, social conditions. Life's path can't be changed.
Future (34) Prefer work to play. Don't give in to temptation.
Fatalistic Have a strong belief in life after death and importance of (35) in life.
Questions 36–40

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.

36. We are all present hedonists
  • A. at school
  • B. at birth
  • C. while eating and drinking
37. American boys drop out of school at a higher rate than girls because
  • A. they need to be in control of the way they learn
  • B. they play video games instead of doing school work
  • C. they are not as intelligent as girls
38 Present-orientated children
  • A. do not realise present actions can have negative future effects
  • B. are unable to learn lessons from past mistakes
  • C. know what could happen if they do something bad, but do it anyway
39 If Americans had an extra day per week, they would spend it
  • A. working harder
  • B. building relationships
  • C. sharing family meals
40. Understanding how people think about time can help us
  • A become more virtuous
  • B work together better
  • C identify careless or ambitious people

  • spellcheck Answers
    31. negative
    32. pleasure
    33. poverty
    34. active
    35. success
    36. B
    37. A
    38. C
    39. A
    40. B

How did you do answering the IELTS listening sample questions above? Did you find any of the questions difficult? If you did, it could benefit you to take a closer look at all 6 IELTS listening task types. The better you understand a task type, the less effort you'll need figuring out what you need to do resulting in more confidence and generally a higher IELTS listening score.

6 IELTS Listening Task Types

Task type 1 – Sentence completion

This task type requires you to complete a sentence with a short answer at the end. The sentence will almost always be a paraphrase of something you'll hear in the passage. In other words, don't expect to hear a speaker say the exact sentence as it's written in the question.

You must read the instructions very carefully. For example, if the instruction says ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER', you will be penalised for writing more than two words.

Sentence Completion Question

IELTS listening practice test campus conversation

Questions 27 – 30

Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.

Studying with the Open University demanded a great deal of   27   _________

Studying and working at the same time improved Rachel's   28   _________ skills.

It was helpful that the course was structured in 29   _________

She enjoyed meeting other students at 30   _________

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    27 motivation
    28 time(-)management
    29 modules
    30 summer school(s)
Audio script
Two friends, Rachel and Paul:, are discussing studying with the Open University. Rachel has already done a course at the university, but Paul: has not. The extract relating to these questions comes from the last part of the recording.

Paul: The other thing I wanted to ask you was, did you find it hard, studying with the Open University?

Rachel: You mean, because you're studying on your own, most of the time?

Paul: Mm.

Rachel: Well it took me a while to get used to it. I found I needed to maintain a high level of motivation, because it's so different from school. There's no-one saying, ‘Why haven't you written your assignment yet?' and that sort of thing.

Paul: Oh dear.

Rachel: You'll learn it, Paul. Another thing was that I got very good at time- management because I had to fit time for studying round a full-time job.

Paul: Well I'm hoping to change to working part-time, so that'll help.

Rachel: What makes it easier is that the degree is made up of modules, so you can take time off between them if you need to. It isn't like a traditional three-or four-year course, where you've got to do the whole thing of it in one go.

Paul: That's good, because I'd like to spend six months travelling next year.

Rachel: Huh, it's all right for some. Then even though you're mostly studying at home, remember you've got tutors to help you, and from time to time there are summer schools. They usually last a week. They're great, because you meet all the other people struggling with the same things as you. I've made some really good friends that way.

Paul: Sounds good. So how do I apply?

Task type 2 – Matching

In a matching task, you are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper. This task requires you to listen for detailed information and recognise relationships and connections between facts in the listening text. For example, you need to identify the different types of hotel or guest house accommodation. It is important to analyze these questions before listening to the passage so that you understand the category of the lettered answer choices.

Matching Question

IELTS listening practice test campus

Questions 21 - 25

What does Jack: tell his tutor about each of the following course options?

A. He'll definitely do it.
B. He may or may not do it.
C. He won't do it.

Write the correct letter, A, B or C next to questions 21- 25. You may choose any letter more than once.

21. Media Studies
22. Women and Power
23. Culture and Society
24. Identity and Popular Culture
25. Introduction to Cultural Theory

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    21. C
    22. A
    23. B
    24. B
    25. C
Audio Script
(A customer has been arranging with a shipping agent to send a large box overseas. This is the last part of the conversation.)

You will hear a Communication Studies student talking to his tutor about optional courses for the next semester.

Dr Ray: Come in. Oh hello Jack. Have a seat. Right ... you said you wanted to see me to talk about your options next semester?

Jack: That's right. We have to decide by the end of next week. Really, I'd like to do all five options but we have to choose two, don't we.

Dr Ray: Yes, but the choice depends on your major to some extent. You're majoring in Communication Studies, aren't you?

Jack: That's right.

Dr Ray: So for example the Media Studies Option will cover quite a lot of the same area you did in the core module on mass communications this semester - the development of the media through the last two series, in relation to political and social issues.
Jack: Mmm. Well that was interesting, but I've decided I'd rather do something completely new. There's a Women's Studies option, isn't there?

Dr Ray: Yes, 'Women and Power' – again it has a historical focus, it aims to contextualise women's studies by looking at the legal and social situation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries …

Jack: So it would be useful if I intended to specialise in women's studies ... but I'm not sure I do actually.
Dr Ray: Well, it might still be useful to give you an idea of the issues involved. It's taught by Dr Steed.

Jack: Oh, really? I'll sign up for that, then. What about the option on Culture and Society?

Dr Ray: That addresses the historical debate on the place of culture since the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

Jack: So a historical focus again ...

Dr Ray: Do I get the message you're not so keen on history?

Jack: Well, it's just we seem to have done quite a lot this semester … Listening sample task – Matching (example 1) anyway I'll think about that one.

Dr Ray: If you're interested in a course focusing on current issues there's the option on Identity and Popular Culture – that approaches the subject through things like contemporary film, adverts, soap operas and so on.

Jack: Oh? That sounds interesting. Can you tell me who runs it?

Dr Ray: Well, it's normally Dr Stevens but he's on sabbatical next semester, so I'm not sure who'll be running it. It should be decided by next week though.

Jack: Right, well I might wait until then to decide ... And the last option is Introduction to Cultural Theory, isn't it. I'm quite interested in that too – I was talking to one of the second year students, and she said it was really useful, it made a lot of things fall into place.

Dr Ray: Yes, but in fact in your major, you'll have covered a lot of that already in Communications 102, so that might be less useful than some of the others.

Jack: Oh, I'll forget about that one, then.

Dr Ray: Now while you're here, we could also discuss how you're getting on with your Core Module assignment ...

Task type 3 – Plan, map, diagram labelling

In this type of task, you are required to complete labels on a plan (eg of a building), map (eg of part of a town) or diagram (e.g. of a piece of equipment). The answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.

This type of task appear in all sections but especially in section 2. In section 2, you will listen to one speaker talking about common daily situation. For example, You might have to listen to the speaker giving a tour or describing a proposed site to investors.

Map Question

Question 11 - 15

Label the plan below.

Choose FIVE answers from the box and write the correct letters A-I next to questions 11-15.

IELTS listening practice test plan map sample

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    11. H
    12. G
    13. D
    14. B
    15. F
Audio script
You will hear the librarian of a new town library talking to a group of people who are visiting the library.

OK everyone. So here we are at the entrance to the town library. My name is Ann, and I'm the chief librarian here, and you'll usually find me at the desk just by the main entrance here. So I'd like to tell you a bit about the way the library is organised, and what you'll find where … and you should all have a plan in front of you. Well, as you see my desk is just on your right as you go in, and opposite this the first room on your left has an excellent collection of reference books and is also a place where people can read or study peacefully. Just beyond the librarian's desk on the right is a room where we have up to date periodicals such as newspapers and magazines and this room also has a photocopier in case you want to copy any of the articles. If you carry straight on you'll come into a large room and this is the main library area. There is fiction in the shelves on the left, and non-fiction materials on your right, and on the shelves on the far wall there is an excellent collection of books relating to local history. We're hoping to add a section on local tourist attractions too, later in the year. Through the far door in the library just past the fiction shelves is a seminar room, and that can be booked for meetings or talks, and next door to that is the children's library, which has a good collection of stories and picture books for the under elevens. Then there's a large room to the right of the library area – that's the multimedia collection, where you can borrow videos and DVDs and so on, and we also have CD-Roms you can borrow to use on your computer at home. It was originally the art collection but that's been moved to another building. And that's about it – oh, there's also the Library Office, on the left of the librarian's desk. OK, now does anyone have any questions?

Task type 4 – Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion

In this type of task, you will be given a form, a set of notes, a table, a summary, or a flow-chart and you will need to fill in missing information based on the listening passage. You may have to select their answers from a list on the question paper or identify the missing words from the recording. keeping to the word limit stated in the instructions.

  1. a form:
    Form questions is a common task type for Section 1, in which you will fill out a form like an application, booking, or an order form. Often it will be a phone conversation between two people. One of the people will either be, ordering, booking or requesting information about something while the other person is helping them.
  2. a set of notes:
    Notes questions is a common task type for Section 4, in which you will hear an university lecture. You will be given an incomplete lecture notes that you need to fill in based on what the professor says.
  3. a table:
    Tables question are often used to categorize many things such as place, time, and price. You will need to fill in missing information on the table.
  4. a flow-chart:
    A flow chart can show a process, plan or sequence of past events. You will need to complete the chart with either, words from the recording, or by choosing one of the options from a lettered list.
  5. a summary:
    In a summary questions, you will be presented with a paragraph of several sentences which summarize the listening passage, and you will need to fill in words that complete the summary based on what you hear.

You must read the instructions very carefully. For example, if the instruction says ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER', you will be penalised for writing more than two words.

Table Question

IELTS listening practice test office

Question 1 - 8

Complete the form below


IELTS listening practice test completion sample

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. Mkere
    2. Westall
    3. BS8 9PU
    4. 0.75 m/metre(s)/meter(s) (wide) / three(-)quarter(s) (of) (a) metre/meter (wide) / ¾ m (wide) / 75 cm(s) (wide)
    5. 0.5 m/metre(s)/meter(s) (high/deep) / (a) half (a) metre/meter (high/deep) / ½ m (high/deep) / 50 cm(s) (high/deep)
    6. & 7 in either order
    (some) books (some) toys
    8. 1,700
Audio script
A: Good morning Packham's Shipping Agents. Can I help you?

B Oh yes, I'm ringing to make enquiries about sending a large box, a container, back home to Kenya from the UK.

A: Yes, of course. Would you like me to try and find some quotations for you?

B: Yes, that'd be great. Thank you.

A: Well first of all, I need a few details from you.

B: Fine.

A: Can I take your name?

B: It's Jacob Mkere.

A: Can you spell your surname, please?

B: Yes, it's M-K-E-R-E.

A: Is that ‘M' for mother?

B: Yes.

A: Thank you, and you say that you will be sending the box to Kenya?

B: That's right.

A: And where would you like the box picked up from?

B: From college, if possible.

A: Yes, of course. I'll take down the address now.

B: It's Westall College.

A: Is that W-E-S-T-A-L-L?

B: Yes, ... college.

A: Westall College. And where's that? Listening sample task – Form completion (to be used with IELTS Listening Recording 1)

B: It's Downlands Road, in Bristol.

A: Oh yes, I know it. And the postcode?

B: It's BS8 9PU.

A: Right ... and I need to know the size.

B: Yes, I've measured it carefully and it's 1.5m long ...

A: Right.

B: 0.75m wide ...

A: OK.

B: And it's 0.5m high or deep.

A: Great. So I'll calculate the volume in a moment and get some quotes for that. But first can you tell me, you know, very generally, what will be in the box?

B: Yes there's mostly clothes.

A: OK. [writing down]

B: And there's some books.

A: OK. Good. Um ... Anything else?

B: Yes, there's also some toys.

A: OK and what is the total value, do you think, of the contents?

B: Well the main costs are the clothes and the books – they'll be about £1500 but then the toys are about another two hundred – so I'd put down £1700.

Task Type 5 – Multiple choice

In a multiple choice task, there is a question followed by three possible answers, or the beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete the sentence. You must answer with LETTERS (A, B, or C) on your Answer Sheet. Don't write the answer choice word(s)!

Sometimes, you are given a longer list of possible answers and told that they have to choose more than one. In this case, they should read the question carefully to check how many answers are required.

Multiple Choice Question

IELTS listening practice test telephone

Questions 9 – 10

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.

9. Type of insurance chosen
  1. Economy
  2. Standard
  3. Premium
10. Customer wants goods delivered to
  1. port
  2. home
  3. depot

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    9. C
    10. A
Audio Script
(A customer has been arranging with a shipping agent to send a large box overseas. This is the last part of the conversation.)

A: OK right. Now obviously insurance is an important thing to consider and our companies are able to offer very good rates in a number of different all-inclusive packages.

B: Sorry, could you explain a bit more?

A: Yes, sorry, um. There's really three rates according to quality of insurance cover – there's the highest comprehensive cover which is Premium rate, then there's standard rate and then there's economy rate. That one will only cover the cost of the contents second hand.

B: Oh I've been stung before with economy insurance so I'll go for the highest.

A: Mh'hm and can I just check would you want home delivery or to a local depot or would you want to pick it up at the nearest port?

B: The port'd be fine – I've got transport that end.

A: Fine and will you be paying by credit card?

B: Can I pay by cheque?

Task type 6 – Short-answer questions

Short answer questions require you to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text. You will probably be given a limit, for example, 'No more than two words and/or a number'. If you write more words than the instructions tell you to, your answer will be marked as incorrect.

Very often, you will have to find detailed information related to some category. For example, you might get a question like this:

“What TWO factors can make social contact in a foreign country difficult?”

Short-answer Question

IELTS listening practice test london city

Question 11 - 16

Answer the questions below


What TWO factors can make social contact in a foreign country difficult?
  • 11 ....................
  • 12 ....................

Which types of community group does the speaker give examples of?
  • theater
  • 13 ....................
  • 14 ....................

In which TWO places can information about community activities be found?
  • 15 ....................
  • 16 ....................

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    11 & 12: (in either order) language, customs
    13 & 14: (in either order) music, local history
    15 & 16: (in either order) library/libraries, town hall
Audio Script
You will hear an extract from a talk given to a group who are going to stay in the UK. Good evening, and welcome to the British Council. My name is John Parker and I've been asked to talk to you briefly about certain aspects of life in the UK before you actually go there. So I'm going to talk first about the best ways of making social contacts there. Now you might be wondering why it should be necessary. After all, we meet people all the time. But when you're living in a foreign country it can be more difficult, not just because of the language, but because customs may be different. If you're going to work in the UK you will probably be living in private accommodation, so it won't be quite so easy to meet people. But there are still things that you can do to help yourself. First of all, you can get involved in activities in your local community, join a group of some kind. For example, you'll probably find that there are theatre groups who might be looking for actors, set designers and so on, or if you play an instrument you could join music groups in your area. Or if you like the idea of finding out about local history there'll be a group for that too. These are just examples. And the best places to get information about things like this are either the town hall or the public library. Libraries in the UK perform quite a broad range of functions nowadays – they're not just confined to lending books, although that's their main role of course.

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