EF SET listening

The EF SET listening section takes 25 minutes on the EF SET English Certificate test. The listening section as a whole is timed but individual tasks are not, so students can take as long as they need to answer questions on one task, but they will then have less time to complete the subsequent tasks.

Test structure

The EF SET listening section is composed of a series of recorded texts read by American, British English, and Australian English speakers, with one or more comprehension questions about each text. Because the EF SET listening section is adaptive, the lengths of the recordings and the difficulty of the questions asked will depend on how well the test taker is doing on the listening test overall. The first EF SET listening prompt is of intermediate difficulty then the following prompt will be harder or easier depending on the test taker’s success answering the first prompt correctly. Each test taker will answer approximately 50 questions in the EF SET listening section, but the number of listening prompts presented will vary. EF SET listening section recordings are between 20 seconds and 5 minutes in length and the test taker can listen to each recording twice.


The test taker then has as much time as he needs to answer the questions about that recording before going on to the next recording, however, he has a limited amount of time to complete all the tasks in the listening section. Test takers cannot move backwards while taking the EF SET, so it is important to finish with each listening prompt completely before going on to the next one. Because the EF SET does not set the test takers' pace, it is important for you to keep track of time and set your pace in order to complete the entire listening section.


The EF SET listening section is equally weighted with the reading section in calculating the total EF SET score. You will receive a listening score between 0 and 100 upon completion of the EF SET along with a reading score on the same scale and an overall score which is the average of the two.