What’s in this Exercise?

Above all, IELTS is a test about living and studying abroad. As you may already know, the IELTS Listening Section is divided into 4 exercises.

Listening part 2 puts you in an ‘everyday social situation’ that you might encounter in an English-speaking country.

3 persons speaking in the street.

You hear a recording of a monologue about the situation; examples include a tourist information officer talking about a tour, a museum guide explaining where different parts of the museum are, a person describing the benefits of joining an organisation like a fitness club, or a radio advice program about a product or an event. You need to fill in information or answer questions.

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What are the questions like?

Each part of IELTS Listening increases in difficulty, so the questions in the recording for Section 2 are a little harder than in Section 1.

You will often see something visual, like a map, a flow chart or a table on your test paper. Below is an example of section 2:

Complete the drawing below.

Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer.

Image describing Global Warming with gaps to fill in.

This will be incomplete, so you will need to fill in missing information. There may also be other question types, like multiple choice or matching. To complete Section 2 successfully, you need to listen to the recording for specific details, like times, dates, locations, prices and words that people use to describe how good or bad something is.

Where should I write my answers?

Remember, write your answers onto the test paper for this section. At the end of the test, you will have seven minutes to transfer them onto your answer sheet, checking for spelling mistakes as you do so.

How is it marked?

There are 10 questions worth one mark each, so the maximum score for this section is ten. To be awarded a mark, you must:

  • spell the word(s) correctly
  • use appropriate punctuation (like capital letters for names)
  • show that you understand some ‘conventions’ for how we write things in English – for example, when writing the floors of a building, we write “3rd/third floor”, not “3/three floor”.

Also remember to check the word limit. IELTS tasks usually include an instruction like “Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER” at the top of the page. It’s vitally important to read this, because candidates frequently lose marks for writing too many words in their answers.

What are the other Exercises in this Section?

If you want more information about the other exercises in the Listening Section, check out our articles:

How can I prepare?

Firstly, practise this part of the test as often as you can. As you hear more examples of recordings for Section 2, You will start to get a ‘feel’ for it, and for what types of information you often need to listen for.

You should also revise prepositions of place, and try to increase the number of these that you know. For example, you probably know the preposition “next to”, but are you familiar with synonyms like “right by” and “beside”? What about other expressions like “across from the gift shop” and “beyond the car park”? Make a list of expressions like these in your vocabulary notebook.

Remember, one of the worst things that can happen in the Listening section is that you lose the sequence of the talk in the recording. To prevent this, try to look two or three questions ahead. That way, if you miss one answer, you won’t get ‘lost’. It might seem difficult at first, but with practice this skill becomes easier, and it can improve your score dramatically.

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