What will I hear in Part 4?

The final part of IELTS Listening is a short academic lecture, around five minutes in length.

It is the most difficult section of the test, and unlike the other sections, there is no break in the middle (although the speaker does pause for a few seconds about half way through the recording).

If you need more information on the 3 previous exercise of the Listening section, check out our articles:

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What are the questions like in Exercise 4?

The most common task type in part 4 is completing notes. Once again, this puts you in the shoes of an international student, since note-taking is what students generally do in academic lectures. However, there can also be other task types, such as multiple choice, completing a summary, flow chart completion and short-answer questions.

You can see an example of exercise 4:

Questions 31 – 35

Complete the table below.

Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer.

Texte à trous, exemple de question pour la section 4.

How is it marked?

As with the previous three sections, there are 10 questions in exercise 4, worth one mark each. The same rules apply as elsewhere; you need to

  • spell all word(s) correctly
  • use appropriate punctuation
  • check the word limit, and never write more than the maximum number of words allowed.

How can I prepare?

Practise this exercise of the test as often as you can. You need to practise the skill of following what the lecturer says as he or she develops their ideas.

One problem that some candidates have is that they lose their place – that is, they miss one answer and then they can’t work out which part of the question paper they should be looking at to hear the following answer. To avoid this situation, when you practice, try to look at two questions at the same time – the one you’re doing, and the following one. It will be difficult at first, but with practice it will become easier, and it can prevent you from getting lost.

What should I do in the exam?

Because you don’t get a break in the middle of part 4, it’s very important to read the questions before the lecture starts. You should also try to predict what some of the answers might be.

If you see any years or dates on your test paper, underline them. This way, if the lecturer mentions a year or a date on the recording, you can check to see if you’re keeping up with what he or she is saying, so you don’t miss any answers.

Write your answers on the test paper. At the end of the test you have seven minutes to transfer them to the answer sheet. While you’re transferring them, check to make sure that your answers fit the space grammatically. If you have an adjective written on your test paper, quickly change it to a noun.

Finally, don’t leave any spaces blank. You don’t lose marks for wrong answers, so there’s no reason to feel shy about making guesses. If your lecture recording was about dolphins, and you have three blank spaces, write three dolphin-related words like “fins”, “pod” and “ocean” in the spaces. You have nothing to lose!

Practising online with GlobalExam

GlobalExam is an expert on language tests and offers online preparation for IELTS. You can practise online thanks to many exercises and mock exams available with the correction. There is a Premium version to access to whole content, but a free version is also available. Just register to try it out!

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