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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 610 ratings

Start your review of Understanding IELTS: Listening

  • Anonymous
    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…
  • Course Taker
    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…
  • Anonymous
    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…
  • Anonymous
    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…
  • Anonymous
    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 an…
  • 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.
  • 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
    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,…
  • Anonymous
    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’v…
  • Anonymous
    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…
  • Anonymous
    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…
  • Anonymous
    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
    It's not the first course I'm taking on the platform. Every time I choose futurelearn because I can find the course I really need, then I like that there is no any preassure, there are educators who support by their comments. I like that I'm given a lot of recourses to use. Short lectures is a good way to teach with and to learn with as the accent is on the main things. I'd like to say thank you to those who prepared such a course! I really appreciate their efforts to make learners understand how it is better to succeed in listening at exams.
  • Anonymous
    To be honest, so far I enjoyed this course. Unfortunately, since I started this course I have had a busy schedule due to my family and office affairs and thus was unable to give appropriate time to the course but even though I learned a lot and really enjoyed the course. The course is online and sort of interactive too. Everything is explained in a very simple way so as to understand. I felt very comfortable with the course contents and other participant's reviews and comments are also very helpful. Thanks a lot for a big help and hats off for the course designer.
  • Anonymous
    I'm not good at English. But after complete week 2, I get more confidence and more more more tips which will help me in future or IELTS exam. You guys are doing really very well. But I think if possible add more practice work it will help us more. thank you for this course and thank you everyone who are work for this course. I hope I will be more helpful when I complete my week 3. There is one good thing I can say here every students are really amazing they comment every time even they also share their thoughts,tips it really appreciable. thank you again.
  • Anonymous
    Wonderful course which prepares you for IELTS and generally enhances your listening ability. I would recommend this course and others on this site for everyone who needs an improvement in different aspects of life.
    The educators are friendly and make you feel relevant and at home. They understand when you have struggles with the course and always have an encouraging word/ advice which is truly helpful.
  • Profile image for Zadaam Hajji
    Zadaam Hajji
    Hello, I'm Zadaam! I'm a full-time student, working towards my course in English Speaking For Other Languages. When I'm not studying, I enjoy reading and hiking in the great outdoors. I'm traveler and experience many different cultures. I believe that adventures is out there and am always looking for ways to explore and grow.
  • Anonymous
    I have completed about 2 sections of IELTS listening skill. This is the first time I'm taking the preparation with the help of British Council. I had no idea about IELTS. But now I can understand through which way should I go. The teachers are so helpful. Facebook lives are also effective. Moreover I'm learning with the thousand of students all over the world which makes me exiting. Comments,Resources are very much helpful to keep myself on right track.
  • 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!

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