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British Council

Understanding IELTS: Listening

British Council via FutureLearn


Prepare for success in your IELTS Listening test

The four courses in the British Council’s Understanding IELTS ExpertTrack will give you a complete guide to everything you need to know as you prepare for the IELTS test.

This course focuses on the Listening test. You’ll explore the format of the test and develop learning strategies to help you tackle the different types of tasks you’ll meet.

You’ll also look at general English listening strategies that will help you cope with the kind of complex texts on unfamiliar topics that you’ll meet in your IELTS studies.

This IELTS preparation course is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their English listening skills in preparation for the IELTS Listening test. It will also be useful for anyone preparing for another English proficiency listening test.

It might also be useful for IELTS teachers. There are no formal entry requirements.


  • Writing what you hear
    • Listening and me
    • Essential information
    • Filling in the gaps
    • Task type: form completion
    • Listening for key information
    • Task type: short answers
    • Over to you
    • Review of the week
  • Listen better
    • Widening your range
    • Task type: sentence completion
    • Understanding maps, plans and diagrams
    • Task type: labelling a map, plan or diagram
    • Staying focused
    • Task type: matching
    • Over to you
    • Review of the week
  • Putting it all together
    • Getting ready for the test
    • Listening to conversations
    • Task type: multiple choice
    • Lectures and presentations
    • Task type: note/table/summary completion
    • Exam day
    • Over to you
    • Round up

Taught by

David Lewis


4.8 rating, based on 961 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 609 ratings

Start your review of Understanding IELTS: Listening

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Hi there, I am very happy that I could find this course while searching for IELTS resources and thankful for the brilliant educators (Sally, Neil and Jeany), their explanations, tips and the overall course content. I have just completed 2 weeks out of...
  • Ubaidullah Shuaib is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This IELTS listening course which is part of a four-course programme has given me a clear and better understanding of how the IELTS test works, what's required of me in the test from the do's and don'ts. It has made me learn how to focus and listen attentively...
  • I find this course very useful. I came to know IELTS listening question format and questions task types and practiced each task type day by day. I get more confident week after week. The tips given throughout the course are very helpful and useful. I really love and enjoy the course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    TO MY BELOVED EDUCATORS; Thanks alot for the useful tips. I have learned so many things such as widening our range in listening, completing sentence ,understanding maps,plans and diagrams and how to label it,.stay focus,matching type and so...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is my third course in the series Understanding IELTS. I appreciate an excellent learning structure and clear guidance as well as very good explanations and a lot practice that the course offers. Videos were very helpful as well. The tutors and...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It was a great pleasure for me having IELTS Listening course in by British Council with excellent educators and learns from all around the World. I have wondered how this course guide about every section, different question types and...
  • I am happy I am part of this course. I have come to realise so many things I used to neglect as being very important. I have also realised that I have a longer way to go with English language.

    Special thanks to the organisers and the Tutors. The course is indeed informative.
  • I particularly enjoyed this course because it gave me a general idea of how it is applied. The course is introductory, but it has many tips and helps us to plan our next preparations for the IELTS test.
  • Anonymous
    Having looked at all the important tips of preparing for listening ielts, I feel the information was relevant and widened my understanding to prepare myself. Trying out different tests also helped me gage/rate myself. Playing the first video showed how bad I was, but when I kept on practicing, I realised I was getting a better way of concentrating on key words which gave me chance to predict different answers.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    To my way of thinking, this course has been designed professionally to help students to prepare for their IELTS Listening module. The course covers all the aspects and type of questions that students might face in the real exam. On the top of that, they've...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I want to thank the British Council and FutureLearn for such a great opportunity to study in different areas from the leading institutions. I’ve already finished four courses with you, now I’m through three more and there are some upcoming soon. I’ve...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    In my view listening is the most difficult section for the non native speakers of English. However the course gives the IELTS test takers the foundation - the format, the tips and the links to listen to the podcasts to improve listening ability. If one...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    In my view listening is the most difficult section for the non native speakers of English. However the course gives the IELTS test takers the foundation - the format, the tips and the links to listen to the podcasts to improve listening ability. If one...
  • Profile image for Оксана Хапрова
    Оксана Хапрова
    I liked the course very much because:

    - it was something new and unusual for me;

    - it contained a lot of helpful tips how to improve my listening skills;

    - I felt me as a part of a community;

    - its tasks devided into steps were coherent and led me from a simple to complex learning


    - it helped me to organize myself, I mean, to find the time for learning.

    Thanks a lot to the educators!
  • Anonymous
    This course is very useful for understanding IELTS listening. It helps the learner to be able to make self study. The reason the course is great is that we can know a lot of tips that are really significant and need to get good or high band score.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Dear British Council and Futurelearn teams,
    Thanks a lot for joining forces to offer us these Understanding IELTS courses. You are doing a great job. I am really delighted and eager with my learning process. I have enrolled for the Writing, Reading and Speaking courses as well so I will only be able to sit for the test when I finish all of them and feel confident that I have practiced enough to pass with a good grade. It will take a little while since I have to manage my studies with other responsibilities. But I will keep you posted on the results. I have plans after the IELTS. I hope in the future you also offer prep course for the FCE, CAE and CPE exams. I
    Again, thanks a lot!!
  • Anonymous
    This is the best course for those looking to find out what actually happens in IELTS. Lots of excellent tips from the educators and many practice exercises. This is a must-do course for everyone planning to take IELTS.
  • Anonymous
    it is my first learning ielts course in my life and it is absolutely fantastic and the educated leader and other instructors are very friendly and realistic to keep in touch. I got many knowledges, useful sources and advices from other learners. I appreciate to "Future Learn", Thanks for supporting British Council during that pandemic crisis.

    always best,

    Soe (Myanmar)
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    First of all I would like to thank you to create this well organized online course for the students all around the world, especially during this covid disaster period.
    About the past lessons series 1 and series 2, they were really important and valuable for improve my existing English knowledge. I could be able to gain many more new tips for the listening test. Most of them were new to me that I have never gained for past years from my English lessons. At the end of each lesson I had a thing to be amazed.... wow!!!
    Thank you again for your valuable effort for the English learning/ English loving students all over the world.
    Thank you very much!!!
    -Shenali Balasooriya from Sri Lanka-
  • Anonymous
    Well honestly speaking, it's the first ever course I am completing because it is so much interesting and helpful. I learnt a lot from here and I will prefer everybody else to take this course for sure. The best part is that the educators are so much helpful, they read our answers, tell our mistakes and give good answers. I love this course.

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