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Listening Comprehension [Paper 2] at a glance

Five themes



Human ingenuity

Social organization

Sharing the planet

Oral Text A

Drawn from the five themes.

Duration: Up to 1 min

Oral Text B

Drawn from the five themes.

Duration: up to 1.5 min

Oral Text C

Drawn from the five themes

Duration: up to 2 min

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This examination is externally set and externally assessed. This section includes listening (three audio passages) covering different topics drawn from the five themes.

The students’ understanding of the three passages is assessed in this examination; it does not test the students’ knowledge of any factual content of a specific topic. All audio and written passages are in the target language and all answers must be provided in the target language.


A range of listening comprehension skills may be assessed which include:

  • Determining the major contextual aspects, such as text type, setting, audience, purpose

  • Recognising the speaker’s main idea / overall message

  • Listening for specific details / supporting ideas

  • Using knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to help decode meaning (though grammar will not be overtly assessed)

  • Make inferences that can be clearly determined from the passage

Clarification: International-mindedness is central to the IB philosophy. It is expected that students will have been exposed to a variety of texts, both oral and written, that demonstrate linguistic variation and regional accents. Linguistic variation and regional accents appearing in texts used for external assessment are intended to reflect this expectation while also being comprehensible to the students.

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