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IELTS listening practice and tests

Sunday, May 17, 2009 Posted by Dominic

One of the joys of using IT to study is that it opens up so many opportunities. The computer works particularly well as a listening machine - often providing interactive exercises. I have listed below the best resources I have found on the net. In general, they are listed in order of quality, the best ones being at the top of the page.

As you do these tests, I strongly suggest that you use the exam answer sheet to be found here. It would also be sensible to check out some of my exam listening tips to make sure that you are practising in the right way.

British Council

The best free IELTS listening resources on the internet come from the British Council. Try some of their exercises and practice tests:
English Online
Exam practice part 1 IELTS exam practice
Exam practice part 2 IELTS exam practice
Exam practice parts 3 & 4 IELTS exam practice


test 1: a complete free IELTS test
test 2 another IELTS test

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OUP Online

These are not formatted to the IELTS exam, but they do they do give a huge amount of useful academic listening practice at a variety of levels:
Open Forum 1 - Pre-Intermediate
Open Forum 2 - Intermediate
Open Forum 3 - Upper Intermediate to advanced


Another site with IELTS type listenings with a variety of different exercise types
Exercise 1 - short answers
Exercise 2 - multiple choice
Exercise 3 - complete a summary
Exercise 4 - note taking


A brief introduction to the exam and a sample lecture
Exercise - multiple choice and summary completion

IELTS Worldwide

Exercise - one practice listening exercise: multiple choice format


An excellent site with good advice and exercises on academic listening in general and in particular on note taking. You will also find some listenings here:
Academic listening

Exam English

Exam English 1 - a multiple choice listening exercise
Exam English 2 - a form filling listening exercise


Part 1 exercise - doesn't work on all systems!
Part 2 exercise

University of Reading Academic Lectures

These are of variable quality and are not in any way exam formatted, but they do give useful listening practice especially for part 4 of the exam:
University of Reading Self-Access lectures

Randall's EFL Cyber Listening Lab

Another site with lots of listening practice. Further down the page you will find resources for TOEIC and TOEFL, two exams of a similar level to IELTS
Randall's EFL Cyber Listening Lab


More listening exercises on a variety of topics

Pearson Longman

This a commercial site, but if you register for free they will give you a complete free IELTS listening test
I-tests - a full IELTS listening test, if you register first

The English Link

This is a commercial site but they do give you one free listening question

Exercise - a section 1 listening

General listening resources

There are of course a variety of excellent listening opportunities on the internet: try some of these

Wikipedia spoken articles: a huge resource of spoken articles helpfully put into categories
BBC World Service Documentaries: another huge resource on appropriately academic topics
BBC 6 minute English
ABC News; useful opportunity to listen to Australian accents

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