IELTS Listening Section 3 Guide and Tips

The IELTS Listening Section 3 is the third part of the IELTS Listening Test. Because the difficulty level of the IELTS Listening Test increases from one section to the next, this part of the test is more difficult than the first two sections. 

But worry no more; through this article, we will be sharing with you every detail there is to know about the IELTS Listening Section 3 to help you perform at your best in this part of the test and get the band score you desire. 


IELTS Listening Overview

The IELTS Listening Test is one of the four tests in the IELTS Test

It is the same for the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training modules. It has four parts, and there are ten questions to answer in each part. The material is played via audio recordings that will be played only once. 

The IELTS Listening Section 1 is the first of the four sections of the IELTS Listening Test:

IELTS Listening Section 3 Format

The IELTS Listening Section 3 is usually a conversation between two to four people about an academic and training context. The audio recording lasts about 3-4 minutes. 

Generally, the topic is focused on university courses of the students involved in the conversation. Other times, you will be hearing students asking a professor or instructor for help or advice. 

While listening to the audio recordings, it is advised that you take notes of the important details that you will hear. Pay close attention to the instructions and follow them. 

Otherwise, even if your answers are correct, it will be marked wrong. Be extra cautious when you transfer your answers on your answer sheet. 


IELTS Listening Section 3 General Listening Tips

Your marks in the IELTS Listening Section 3 contribute to your overall mark in the IELTS Listening Test. Make it a point that you maximize every second you are given to answer the questions more efficiently.

To assist you in achieving a high band score in the IELTS Listening Section 3, we have gathered the best and proven tips and tricks that you need to apply while preparing for the test and on the actual day of the test itself. 

  • Be mindful of capitalization rules.

Always start proper nouns with capital letters. Otherwise, even if your answers are correct, they will be marked wrong. You do not want to lose marks on such silly mistakes. 

Proper nouns are specific names of people, things, places, and events. 

Examples:

Common Nouns

  • a girl
  • city
  • country
  • celebration
  • organization

Proper Nouns

  • Susan
  • New York
  • Canada
  • New Year
  • United Nations
  • Read and follow the instructions. 

Your effort and hard work while preparing for the IELTS Listening Section 3 is useless if you do not follow the instructions. 

Be keen and mindful when writing your answers. Take note of the number of words/numbers required for each question. The IELTS committee is very particular about these things. 

  • Keep an eye out for distractors.

What you hear first might not be the correct answer. For instance, the speaker may say one thing and then respond oppositely. 

You might also notice that the speaker discusses all possibilities but with subtle variations in meaning. Pay close attention to these details.

  • Highlight and underline keywords. 

The most effective and efficient technique for tackling IELTS Listening Section 3 is highlighting crucial terms in the question. 

You can achieve this by taking advantage of the time allotted to you before listening to the audio recordings. 

Example:

Sandra has been employed at the university for:

  1. one year
  2. two years
  3. four years 

The primary terms you can concentrate on in the above question are ‘Sandra, ‘employed, and ‘school.’ 

As a result, you can underline these keywords to make them stand out. When the audio recording is played, focus on the underlined keywords to obtain the substance of the question while keeping your eyes on the three options: ‘one,’ ‘two,’ and ‘three,’ avoiding the common word ‘years.’

  • If you have no idea what to answer, GUESS.

At some point, you might not know what to answer in the IELTS Listening Section 3. In such cases, do not leave the question unanswered and take a wild and educated guess. 

You will not be deducted marks for incorrect answers, so you have nothing to lose. 


Tips Per Question Set for IELTS Listening Section 3

In the IELTS Listening Section 3, be prepared to encounter different types of questions that will put your English proficiency to the test. 

As such, you must familiarize yourself with such types of questions so you will have an idea of how to answer them more efficiently when you finally have to take the test. 

1. Form, Note, Table, Flow-chart, Summary Completion

In the completion type of test, you need to fill in the gaps of a portion of the entire audio recording. You should keep to the word limit when you answer the questions. 

Ensure that you read the instructions carefully because the number of words or numbers you should write will vary. A word limit is always given. 

For example, ‘YOUR ANSWER SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS/NUMBERS.’ If you use more than the word limit, your answer will be marked wrong, so double-check the word limit carefully for each question. 

2. Matching

You must match a numbered list of objects from the listening audio to a set of options on the answer sheet. The list of possibilities could be some form of criterion. 

Matching types of questions test your ability to listen for detail and comprehend information offered in a conversation about a common topic, such as different sorts of hotel or guest home accommodations. 

It also tests your ability to follow a two-person discussion and recognize links and relationships between facts in the audio recordings. 

3. Sentence Completion

In the sentence completion type of test, you must read a set of sentences that summarize important information from a part of the audio recording or the entire audio recording itself. 

The number of words/numbers you should write will depend on the instructions, so read them carefully. ‘YOUR ANSWER SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS/NUMBERS’ is an example. If you exceed the word limit, your answer will be considered wrong, so check the word limit carefully for each question. 

Sentence completion types of questions test your ability to recognize important details in an audio recording. Cause and effect are examples of functional interactions that must be understood.


How to Prepare for the IELTS Listening Section 3

Like any other ‘battles,’ being prepared is the best way to crack the IELTS Listening Section 3. 

Getting yourself ready weeks before the IELTS Listening Section 3 could be your ultimate ticket to achieving that dream of studying or working abroad. 

We are here to help you reach that dream, and we have listed below the most effective techniques and strategies you can use as you gear up for the IELTS Listening Section 3. Here they are: 

  • Make sure you are ready. 

Do not register for the IELTS Test unless you are sure you will be able to take it. Most candidates ask for last-minute IELTS Listening tips and tactics because their test is coming up in a few weeks, and they know their English is not up to par. 

The IELTS test determines if you have the necessary English skills for the profession or life change you desire. 

Put in the effort and time required to obtain the score you need for as long as it takes. Do not take the test too soon, or you will be disappointed, lose confidence, and waste money.

  • Listen to English every single day. 

Listening to English every day is the only method to develop your listening abilities. Listen to something for 10 or 15 minutes whenever you can, whether you are on the bus, eating lunch, or making tea. 

You must hear English spoken spontaneously in various situations and with a variety of accents – Ireland, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa throughout the IELTS Listening Section 3.

  • Expand your vocabulary.

When you are listening to spoken English, pay attention and take notes on unfamiliar words or do not fully comprehend. After that, look them up in a dictionary. Take note of the word’s definition, pronunciation, how it is used in a phrase, as well as popular synonyms, antonyms, and collocations. 

Keep track of everything in your vocabulary notebook. Every time you do this, you will have added another term to your vocabulary, which you will retain and use confidently throughout the IELTS Listening Section 3.

  • Familiarize yourself with the ‘signpost’ language. 

Recognizing signpost language will make it easier to follow the audio and understand what is being said. 

Keep an eye out for signpost language when the audio recordings are played. 

Words like ‘first,’ ‘second,’ ‘next,’ ‘then,’ ‘finally,’ ‘moving on, and ‘Let’s move to…’ are all examples of signpost language.

For a thorough and comprehensive guide on how to prepare for the entire IELTS test, check out our comprehensive IELTS preparation guide.

Taking the IELTS Listening Section 3 is a piece of cake if you know what you are doing. For you to be able to achieve a great band score, all you have to do is to prepare and study well enough and you will be good to go. 

Follow the tips and tricks we have given you in this article and you will be a step closer to your dreams. All the best on your IELTS journey! 


IELTS Listening Section 3 Practice Questions 

Getting to know what kinds of questions will appear in the IELTS Listening Section 3 is crucial. 

By doing so, you are allowing yourself to have the best advantage you can get, as this will surely aid you in planning and thinking ahead what strategies to use. 

Below are some practice questions you can get acquainted with as you gear up for the IELTS Listening Section 3. 

Example 1: 

Complete the notes below. Your answer for each should be no more than three words/numbers. 


Example 2:

Complete the sentences below. Your answer for each should be no more than three words/numbers. 


Example 3: 


Example 4:

Complete the sentences below. Your answer for each should be no more than three words/numbers. 



Additional FAQs — IELTS Listening Section 4

How Can I Improve My Listening Section 3 in IELTS?

There are a lot of ways on how you can achieve a great band score in the IELTS Listening Section 3. You can do a lot of mock tests and make use of the different practice tests available online.

You should also listen to podcasts and radio stations to familiarize yourself with the different accents you might hear in the audio recordings of the IELTS Listening Section 3.

Another way is for you to master the skill of note-taking, as this will come in handy when you take the test. 

What are the 4 Sections of the Listening Test in IELTS?

The IELTS Listening Test is divided into four sections.

Section 1 is a conversation between two persons regarding a social situation.

Section 2 is a single-person speech or discussion concerning a social environment.

A discourse between two to four people concerning an educational and training context is also included in the third section.

Finally, the fourth section consists of a single-person lecture or discussion on an academic topic.

Which is the Toughest Section in IELTS?

The difficulty level of the IELTS Listening Test increases from one section to the next. That being said, it means that the last section (Section 4) of the IELTS Listening Test is the most challenging.

However, that does not mean that you would not fare well in this part of the test. To get a high band score, you need to prepare and study well before taking the test. 

How Many Sections Does IELTS Listening Have?

The IELTS Listening Test has four sections. It lasts for about 30 minutes, 10 minutes of which will be given to transfer your answers on your answer sheet.

The level of difficulty of the questions progresses from one section to the next, so be prepared.

Be ready to encounter different types of questions across the four sections of the IELTS Listening Test. 

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