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    The Ultimate Guide To Improving Your IELTS Listening Band Score

    Want to know how you can improve your IELTS listening band score? This guide has helped many of my students increase their marks for the listening section of the exam.


    IELTS Listening Band Score 

    From my experience of being an IELTS instructor, many students look for tips on how they can increase their IELTS listening band score. Especially because the audio recordings are only played once in the IELTS listening section so it is extremely important that you don’t miss the opportunity to find the answer in the first round.

    An overall IELTS listening band score will be given to you after listening to four different recordings.

    You are going to learn how to increase your IELTS listening score, the top IELTS listening tips that helped my students succeed, understand the IELTS band score calculator for the listening section, and how you can start IELTS listening practice online.

    This post is all about how to increase your IELTS listening band score.

    IELTS Listening Band Score

    IELTS listening score calculator

    What To Expect From The IELTS Listening Section

    As mentioned earlier, the IELTS listening section lasts for about thirty minutes and you will listen to four different recordings. These recordings will range from two people discussing something related to academics, the society in general, then you will either hear a lecture or some sort of training session between multiple people.

    Additionally, you must be ready to hear the recordings one after another and have to answer the questions related to the audio played. I also recommend that you should become familiar with the different question types in the IELTS listening section.

    What Types of IELTS Listening Question Types You Will See

    There are many different IELTS listening question types you may get while you are doing your exam. These question types can range from:

    • Multiple choice
    • Complete the sentence
    • label the diagram or map
    • Matching question
    • Complete the summary

    Having an idea of how these IELTS question types look is important because you need to be ready to answer the questions as soon as you get them. Especially because every question type looks completely different than the other.

    From the four different audio recordings, you may get multiple of these question types, especially because you have forty questions to answer in total.

    Are IELTS Listening Questions In Order?

    Many of you are probably wondering if there are IELTS listening questions going in order. Especially because the audio is only played once, you want to make sure you are able to catch the answer within the played audio.

    YES, the IELTS listening questions in fact do go in order, therefore you will hear all the answers sequentially. As long as you are able to catch the answer, you will be able to find it.

    However, if you are not able to find the answer, you shouldn’t leave the answer blank, rather take a guess! You have nothing to lose when you guess the answer.

    Finally, remember that sometimes you may have thought you just heard the answer, but in fact, that sentence will lead to the real answer. If this is the case, ensure that you quickly write the first answer and keep listening for the second answer before making a choice between the two.

    How The IELTS Listening Score Is Calculated

    You will be given 1 IELTS listening score mark for each correct answer. As mentioned earlier, you will be required to answer forty questions in total when listening to four different recordings. The question types you will be given may vary, so it is important you have an idea of what type of questions you will be given.

    If you are not sure what kind of question types you may get for the IELTS listening section, check out the article titled 9 IELTS Listening Tips You Must Know To Score A Band 7.

    Have a look at some IELTS listening tips that have helped other students score a high band.

    • Practice listening to different English accents such as British, Australian, American, and Canadian – this is very important especially because some accents may be difficult to understand and you may hear any of these accents in your audio recordings.

    If you aren’t sure where you should listen to different recordings or different accents, have a look at the article titled 7 Easy Tips To Boost Your IELTS LISTENING SCORE.

    • When you are first given your questions, you should look for potential keywords that you will be able to listen to in the audio. Remember that you may only have thirty seconds to highlight these keywords.


    • Be sure to pay attention to the instructions, if it says that you should write NO MORE THAN 2 WORDS, then you should make sure you follow these instructions.


    • Pay attention to synonym language when you are listening to the audio recordings.

    When You Should Transfer Your Answers On The IELTS Listening Answer Sheet

    31 in ielts listening band score

    When you are completing your exam, you will be given an IELTS listening answer sheet to write your answers on. However, it’s important to note that you DO NOT need to write your answers on the answer sheet while you are listening to the audio recordings and quickly writing your answers.

    Furthermore, you will be given ten minutes, in the end, to transfer your answers on the IELTS listening answer sheet. This is extremely important to remember, especially because you don’t want to miss any answers during the audio recording. In other words, there is no need to write your answers on the answer sheet while you are listening to the audio recording.

    Next, you will see the IELTS band score calculator and a breakdown of how many correct answers you will need to get to achieve a particular band score.

    Understanding The IELTS Band Score Calculator

    ielts reading band score

    Have a look at the IELTS band score calculator to understand how many right answers you need to get to approximately score a band 8 or 9.

    • Band Score 9 –  39-40 right answers
    • Band Score 8.5 – 37-38 right answers
    • Band Score 8 – 35 – 36 right answers
    • Band Score 7.5 – 32 – 34 right answers
    • Band Score 7 – 30-31 right answers

    Keep in mind that these are just approximate grades that will help you achieve this IELTS listening band score. Depending on why you need to complete the IELTS exam, you may need to achieve a particular band score based on the requirements.

    Where You Can Complete An IELTS Listening Practice Test

    I often advise my students and will recommend that you should not limit yourself to only completing an IELTS listening practice test online. The reason for this is because you may have hopes that you get that exact test on test day and this will result in limiting yourself to only a particular test.

    However, if you are really keen on completing an IELTS listening practice test, check out this British council website where you will be able to complete many different tests. The link can be found HERE.

    In addition to this, it’s important that you give yourself the opportunity to listen to different podcasts or even watch YouTube videos like TED talks to learn new vocabulary and become familiar with different accents.

    While you are listening to these different podcasts or YouTube videos, I suggest that you make an effort to look up any unfamiliar vocabulary words because it is extremely important that you build on your vocabulary bank.

    In addition to this, YouTube is a great way to find a video of an actual academic lecture where you will hear two people talking. You can even find a video of a discussion between a few people talking during a training session.

    Below, you will see a list of podcasts on how to improve your English.

    How To Improve Your English

    Here are some podcasts you can listen to that will help you how to improve your English:

    • The American Life Podcast – A journalist shares stories through the eyes of individuals who have grown up in America. Being able to hear these stories will allow you to understand the dialect most Americans speak, as well as gives you the opportunity to pick up new vocabulary words that will help you in all parts of the IELTS exam. You can find the link HERE.
    • Learning English Through BBC In 6 Minutes – These six-minute episodes are fantastic because it actually asks you questions related to the audio recording and also give you a list of vocabulary words with their meanings that relate to the audio. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this podcast because this is a great opportunity to build on your English. This podcast can be found HERE.
    • National Geographic Podcast – This podcast called OVERHEARD is an opportunity to build on your vocabulary, especially because you will have the chance to learn many new words that you may see or hear in the IELTS listening section. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to use the new words that you learned in all the different parts. This podcast can be found HERE.

    These podcasts are a great learning strategy you can use if you are looking for ways on how to improve your English.

    This post was all about how to improve your IELTS listening band score.


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