20 IELTS Listening Tricks and Tips
What is IELTS and types of Exams: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam designed to access language proficiency for academics, immigration, and work. More than three million people take the IELTS exam each year. Jump to IELTS Listening Tips
IELTS comes in two types, Academic and General Training. The IELTS Academic can be taken on offline and online at a testing centre, and it can also be taken from home or anywhere with a good internet connection. The IELTS General Training exam must be taken at a testing centre, either offline or online.
The tests for Academic and General Training will be the same Speaking and Listening portions but have different Reading and Writing sections.
Tips to improve IELTS Listening Skill and Score Band 9:
These 20 IELTS Listening Tips provide you with essential tricks and strategies to help you get the best score of Band 8 to Band 9 in the exam.
- Access/Predict Topic: It is easier to listen to if you are able to visualise the topic of the conversation in your mind. Examine each section within the allotted time and ensure that you understand who is speaking to whom and the context.
- Access/Predict Question: Try to have an idea of the type of information you are listening to. For instance, in section one (1), you are required to listen for names, numbers, and addresses. Look for the questions within the time and figure out the best response.
- Read complete instructions: It’s an important tip for any part of the IELTS test, especially for the listening section. Read the complete instructions first, then you’ll know how many words to use. If it says to use no more than two (2) words and you use three (3) words, it will be wrong. For example, if there is a space after “at… pm” and you write ” 6 pm” on the answer sheet, it will be wrong. You should only fill in the blanks, like “6”.
- Time Management: Take a minute to go through each section. You’ll have 30 seconds at the end of each section to double-check your answers. After that, you are instructed to turn over and look at the next section for 30 seconds. Some IELTS training institutes will tell you to check what you’ve written, but it is not much you can do for the previous section because you can’t hear the listening again. Instead, proceed to the next section. You will then have one minute (rather than 30 seconds) to read the next section. This is better spent time.
- Practice listening: It’s one of the most important IELTS listening tips. Make sure you listen as often as possible. Find some good resources on the Internet and get progressively harder as you go. Don’t worry if they aren’t IELTS-specific; any kind of listening helps. Try to listen in a way that is fun. As you get better, you can move on to things that are harder.
- Sequence/ Question order: Be careful with questions order/sequence. Often, you’ll have a table to fill out and, sometimes, a diagram or chart. The questions won’t always go from left to right, so check the order carefully or you’ll get lost and confused.
- Look at Two questions at once: There are good reasons to look at two questions at once. First of all, the answers to some questions may be close together in one sentence, so if you only look at one question at a time, you might miss one. You might miss an answer if you only look at one.
- Don’t get stuck; move on if you miss an answer: If you miss an answer, move on to the next one. If you realise you missed an answer, quickly forget about it and focus on the next ones. Don’t worry if you missed two or three answers, because there’s nothing you can do. Just move on. Your band score might not change much if you miss a few questions.
- Look for Paraphrasing: Keep in mind that what you hear won’t necessarily be the same as what’s written on the examination paper. You should listen carefully for synonyms in the question and in the question stem.
- Ignore words; if you don’t know: Don’t get into a panic situation if you hear a word that you do not know. It is not necessary to know everything. Make your best guess at your knowledge.
- Highlight keywords: Particularly for sections 3 and 4, it can be helpful to highlight or underline keywords (such as names, places, numbers, and dates) in the question stems before listening to the audio recording in order to better understand what is being asked. Remember that synonyms are often used, so listen carefully.
- Mistakes in Grammar and Spelling: Keep in mind that spelling and grammar errors will result in a lower grade for your response. Be sure to check your final answers twice before submitting them.
- British English or American English spelling: According to the IELTS website, “IELTS recognises both British and American English in terms of spelling, grammar, and choice of words.” You can use either British English or American English in your responses.
- Don’t think much about what you write on the exam sheet: It’s common for students to rub out or cross out things on the exam paper during practice tests. No one will see or record what you write on the question paper. Don’t spend time checking whether the spelling is right or wrong and doing anything else. You’ll get lost if you do this. You need to pay attention. So just write down what you hear and move on. When you write the answers on the answer sheet, make sure what you write is free of any spelling mistakes.
- Use Capital Letters or Lower Case Letters: Students often have doubts to use upper or lower case letters in writing answers. On the official website, it says, “You can write your answers in lower case or upper case letters.” The best practice is to capitalise the first letter of the word. If you aren’t sure, you should capitalise the first letter, and then capitalise the whole word. Example: London or LONDON.
- Speak British accent: One of the best ways to succeed in the IELTS listening section is to familiarise yourself with the British accent. However, speakers from Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and even parts of Europe could be included in the test. The test includes a variety of accents, but the vast majority are of British origin (unlike TOEFL, which will be American). You should practise speaking with a British accent.
- Pronunciation of letters and numbers: Words are often spelt out by a speaker in the test, so it’s important to practise recognising the sounds of individual letters in different of accents. Practice how to pronounce them correctly ( words and numbers).
- Don’t leave answers blank: You won’t get in trouble if you write the wrong answer. There is no penalty for the wrong answer. So make the best guess you can rather than leave it blank.
- Write answers to the answer sheet carefully: Write your answers in the correct place on the answer sheet. Even a correct answer in the wrong place will be considered wrong, so make sure you put the answer in the correct place.
- Check your answers: Make sure you double-check your spelling and grammar before final submission.
- Listening Ability: Stay attentive and listen carefully throughout the entire test. Don’t let anything or anyone disturb your concentration and focus, and don’t panic if you think you might be missing answers or making mistakes. If you panic, you will get distracted from listening.
- Listen to lectures: Lectures usually follow certain patterns. For example, they start with an introduction that tells you what the topic is and what the main points are. Listening to lectures will help you a lot. You can search for lectures online to find them. You can check your notes by reading a transcript of a TED talk, which could be helpful.
- Skills in listening and writing: It’s important to focus on your listening abilities, but don’t forget that you also need skills in listening and writing. For this purpose, you can take practise exams, listen to audio and take notes, or do a combination of the two. As a result, you will be better able to perform both tasks simultaneously.
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