IELTS Listening Band Score - Marking Scheme, Chart, Calculate IELTS Listening Score

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Samarpita Goswami logo

Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 01, 2023 4:40 PM IST

Much like the reading band score of the test, understanding the listening band score is crucial to getting an overall high band score in IELTS exams. When preparing for the section, keep a note of the Listening band score, the types of questions available and preparation tips at hand, to ensure effective preparation.

On this page, test-takers will find the appropriate information pertaining to the Listening band score of the IELTS exam along with the different IELTS Listening band score descriptors to help them get a better understanding of the section, and subsequently, score better as well. They will also find the preparation tips to score high in the Listening section of the IELTS exams.

IELTS Listening Band Score

IELTS Listening band score is the score that the test takers achieve in the listening section of the IELTS exam. It is a part of the overall band score which is an average of all the skills. The IELTS listening section carries an equal weightage as the rest of the three sections, namely, reading, writing, and speaking. The scores can be given in .5 also, such as 6.5 or 7.5 and are pushed to the nearest half or full bands.

A good score in the IELTS listening section is a testimonial that the candidate can understand and comprehend a variety of native accents and mixed accents. They will hardly face any difficulty in a foreign land. They can converse and communicate without any fallacies or minimal inaccuracies.

The IELTS is an exam that assesses the English language abilities of the examinees who take the exam for purposes such as higher education, migration and employment. The listening section is similar for both the types of IELTS exam that is academic and general training. The IELTS listening band score is calculated on a scale of 0-9 which is then added along with the score bands of the other three sections to form the total IELTS score. The raw score is first calculated and then converted to the IELTS listening band score. The process is very simple and the conversion chart is given later on the page.

First, let us take you through the two types of IELTS exams and the difference between the listening sections of both.

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training

Both IELTS exams assess the English language skills of students and can be taken on paper-based or on a computer or at home. The IELTS exam has two major types depending on the purpose of the test taken as well as the exam pattern and syllabus. The contrast between the types of IELTS exam, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training is given below:

  • IELTS Academic - The IELTS Academic exam is mainly taken by students who wish to pursue their higher education in English-speaking countries. A study visa is also offered based on the IELTS score. The topics of IELTS Academic are based on academic content suited to university studies such as journals and academic books. The reading and writing sections of IELTS Academic are different from IELTS General Training. 

  • IELTS General Training - The IELTS General Training exam is taken by professionals who migrate to other countries to render their services or engage in employment activities. This exam is also required to get citizenship in countries like Canada.  In IELTS GT topics are based on general everyday interests and include advertisements, notices and newspapers. The syllabus is based on the work environment and social contexts.

The listening section of both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training is the same. Therefore, examinees can follow similar practice techniques and preparation techniques.

Wish to Excel in IELTS Listening Section? 

Format of IELTS Listening Section

The IELTS Listening Section format is the same for IELTS academic and IELTS general training. The format is given below: 


Type of Conversation

Topic of Conversation



General Topics



Social Context


Conversation between up to four people

Academic subject



Academic topic

The duration of the IELTS listening section exam is 30 minutes. 10 questions are to be answered from each of the four recordings and an additional 10 minutes are given to transfer the answers from a rough draft to the answer sheet. Each question is of 1 mark.

The recordings are played only once during the examination. The details of the four recordings in IELTS Listening are given below:

  • Recording one plays a dialogue between two people on general topics.

  • The second recording is a monologue on a topic.

  • Many consider the third recording the most difficult because a conversation on an academic subject among four people is played here.

  • The last recording is a monologue on an academic subject.

There are six variations of questions asked in the IELTS listening test. They are multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, matching questions, arranging, designing and classifying, completing sentences, short answer questions and flow charts, notes and summary completion.

Test-takers can write the answers while listening to the recordings and at the end of the test transfer the answers to the paper in the time given. They should take care while writing the answers as poor grammar and spelling are subjected to a penalty

IELTS Listening Scores

The IELTS raw score is the number of questions answered correctly by the candidate. The raw score is then converted into a band score. If the score is 0.25, it is rounded to 0.5. 

Students need to get a high band score to get admission to the top universities of the worldMost universities require students to get at least 6.5 and above band scores in the listening section.  Here is the conversion table of the IELTS listening exam raw score to band score.

IELTS Listening Raw Score

IELTS Listening Band Score





























IELTS Listening Band Score Descriptors

Band score descriptors are the means by which the examiner accesses the performance of test-takers in each section of the IELTS exam. The band descriptors are the same for both IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic.

The IELTS listening band score descriptors describe the proficiency level of the student depending on the band score achievement in the listening section. Here is a description of the same:


Skill Proficiency Level

Band 9


Band 8

Very good

Band 7


Band 6


Band 5


Band 4


Band 3

Extremely limited

Band 2


Band 1


Band 0


IELTS Listening Score in Top Universities

IELTS listening scores are an important component in getting to study abroad. Most universities specify the overall as well as sectional requirements for the IELTS exam. Students must fulfil the requirement in order to be eligible to study at that particular university. If they do not clear the IELTS listening score cutoff, they may not get the offer letter.

Most of the top universities across the globe expect students to get between 6.5 to 8.5 in each module including the IELTS listening section. Very few universities accept scores lower than this. It is always a good idea to check out the listening score requirements at the universities where the applicant is planning to take admission. For convenience, here are the minimum listening scores for IELTS in popular universities.



IELTS Listening Score

Oxford University

United Kingdom


Cambridge University

United Kingdom


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States of America


Yale University

United States of America


McGill University



Kings College London

United Kingdom


Imperial College London

United Kingdom


Princeton University

United States of America


University of Toronto



University of British Columbia



Tips to Improve Your IELTS Listening Band Score

A good band in IELTS listening section helps to increase the overall score on the exam. It is essential for students to work rigorously in every section, including the listening part. Here are some essential tips to improve your IELTS listening band score:

  • Pay Attention: The audios in the listening section are played once therefore it is necessary to concentrate fully while it is playing. During mock tests, students should practice hearing the audio only once so that this practice can prove fruitful during the real test.

  • Practice Listening Section: Students must make it a point to listen to various types of audio on different topics. The audio types must match with the ones that come in the exam. They must also keenly observe their faults and reprimand them soon.

  • Take Help of Subtitles: The inability to understand foreign accents is a major hurdle faced by students. In the beginning, they can listen to audio recordings with subtitles. It will be easy for them to understand each word distinctively irrespective of the accent the speaker is speaking in. With time, they will be habituated and can comprehend without the audio scripts.

  • Be Attentive While Writing the Answers: Often students make mistakes in singular or plural form, spelling and units or do not follow the instructions in the question. If it is asked to answer in one word, the candidate has to do so. 

  • Talk and think in English - There is a tendency or non-native speakers to believe in their own language and then translate that to English. This practice should be avoided and students should think in English and speak it out. Conversing with family and friends gives students the opportunity to “hear” English words and get habituated.

Ace in the Listening Section!

FAQs on IELTS Listening Band Score

What is a good IELTS Listening Band Score in UK?

A good IELTS listening band score in UK is 7 and above. It testifies that you can converse in English in day-to-day life with occasional and minor inaccuracies. It also shows that you have a good grasp of the English language and can use it well in academic situations. 

What is a good IELTS Listening Band Score in US?

A good IELTS listening band score in US is between 7 and 7.5. A band 7 in the listening section of IELTS can help you get into top colleges and universities in the US. It is necessary to be proficient in English listening skills as all your lectures and academic studies will be conducted in English.

What is a good IELTS Listening Band Score in Canada?

A good IELTS listening band score in Canada is between 6 and 7. You will require at least 6 bands to get into popular Canadian universities. If you do not satisfy the minimum requirements set by the university, you may have to join a pathway programme or in the worst case, you will not get an offer letter.

What is a good IELTS Listening Band Score in Australia?

A good IELTS listening band score in Australia is between 5.5 and 6.5.  While some universities in Australia accept listening scores as low as 5.5, others may require an IELTS listening band of 6.5 or 7. Therefore, it is necessary to target at least 6.5 to 7 bands to get admission to top universities in Australia.

How is the listening section of IELTS scored?

The IELTS listening section like all other sections is scored on a band of 0-9. 40 questions are asked in this section and students are given 30 minutes time to answer them. The calculation of scores is based on the number of correct answers and then it is converted to a band score. However, incorrect answers are not penalised.

What is a good score in IELTS listening?

A good score in IELTS listening is a band score of 7 and above and a raw score of 30 and above. The score testifies the command of the test-taker over the language and his ability to converse in day-to-day life. However, the score also means that there are some minor inaccuracies in usage.

Can one get 9 bands in IELTS listening?

Students who are extremely proficient in English and have high concentration levels can easily get 9 bands in IELTS listening. The understanding of English of a test-taker has to be accurate and the user should be fluent and appropriate. With rigorous and continuous practice from audios, recordings, podcasts and other sources, students can perfect their listening skills and score high.

Is the IELTS listening score the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS GT?

Yes, the IELTS listening score is similar for both the test formats: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The listening section questions are the same and the scoring scale, therefore, is no different. Students have to adopt similar preparation strategies for both tests.

What is the average score required in IELTS listening to get admission to top universities?

You must get an average score of at least 6.5 and 7 bands to get into top universities abroad. The universities provide admission to students who are competent in the English language and can understand what is going on in the academic setting. The IELTS listening scores are crucial for students to fathom what native speakers are saying.

How much time is required to score 9 in IELTS listening?

Intensive practice and dedicated efforts towards the IELTS listening section can help students excel in 9 to 10 days. However, the preparation time varies according to the proficiency level of the speaker. If a student devotes a considerable amount of time, then it is easy to score band 9.

Can I crack IELTS listening in seven days?

Yes, you can crack IELTS listening in seven days provided you have a solid preparation strategy and a strong grip over the English language. First, you should acquaint yourself with the test pattern and syllabus. You should practice listening to different kinds of audio formats and listen only once while trying to retain as much information as possible. For the last two or three days, practice mock test papers.

What IELTS listening score is required for the UK visa application?

5.5 or above in the IELTS listening score is the minimum score requirement for a UK visa application. The overall score for IELTS and IELTS UKVI is also 5.5. Those who get the required score can get visa easily while others have to take a re-test.  

What IELTS listening score is required for Canada PR?


A minimum score of 6.0 on a scale of 9.0 is required in the IELTS listening section for Canada PR. The overall IELTS score required is 7.0. These scores are specially required for those who want to enter Canada through Express entry. Nonetheless, IELTS is a very important exam for those intending to migrate to Canada.

What IELTS listening score is accepted at MIT?

The IELTS listening band score accepted for admissions at MIT is 7. Students are required to be proficient in the English language with the US being an English-speaking country. An overall band of 7.5 is supposed to keep students on the safe side while applying at MIT.


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