Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today we’ll cover the essential bases for IELTS Listening, to help you prepare more effectively.

We had an email from a listener with some specific Listening questions, about preparing and the exam itself.

Question 1: Can the recording be paused for a few seconds?

Remember- the Listening Exam is exactly the same for both General Training and Academic candidates.

On exam day, you have no control over the audio being played, and you cannot pause or listen more than once.

This is why strategies are so important because you must follow along and write the answers as you hear them.

Question 2: Can I rewind a little?

Perhaps the listener is preparing for the computer-based IELTS, but even there, you still have no control over the audio being played for you.

In your practice, however, the answer depends on how close you are to exam day.

If your test is approaching in a couple weeks, don’t allow yourself to rewind or pause. You must mimic test-day requirements as closely as possible.

However, if you are just beginning your IELTS journey, don’t start test practice. Learn about the test and the strategies first.

Then, in your first couple test practices, you can listen more than twice.

So, first, do the test and do your best. Then, listen again and follow along with the audio script. This is useful for getting used to different accents.

Basically, every IELTS candidate needs an effective study plan and an organized way to prepare.


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Improve your English listening comprehension with these podcasts!

  • The Unmistakable Creative– This is about creative people and entrepreneurs.
  • Spooked– This is only happening right now, in the days leading up to Halloween! It’s about ghost stories! As it is a storytelling podcasts with monologues, it’s excellent preparation for IELTS Listening Section 4.

Question 3: Will there be a time clock on the computer with the time left for the particular section?

There will be no time given for the IELTS Listening Exam. There are audio cues telling you what to do, such as Look at questions 1-5 or You now have time to check your answers, and then Turn to section 2.

On the Reading test, however, the invigilator will tell you how much time is left, writing the time on the board every 20 minutes.

Timing is really the most important on the Reading Exam. That’s why you need strategies!

Most important to realize is that, no matter how excellent your English is, you have to learn about the exam!

What IELTS questions do you have?

Ask us in the comments section below!

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