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IELTS Listening | Tips

The following guide will help you maximise your score in the Listening Test
  • During the test, some time is given for you to read the questions before listening to each part.
  • It is very important to read the relevant questions during this time.
  • You need to write the answers directly as you listen.
  • The questions follow the same sequence as the information in the test parts.
Skills and strategies
There are four main skills you will need to use in the IELTS Listening test:
  • understanding the instructions
  • previewing and predicting
  • listening for specific information
  • checking and rewriting.
Understanding the instructions
  • Read and listen to every word in the instructions very carefully, and make sure that you follow them exactly.
  • The instructions depend on the type of question. If you familiarise yourself with the various types of instructions beforehand, you will be more likely to follow them properly in the test.
  • You may be asked to:
    • write a word, words or a number
    • complete a sentence with no more than three words or a number
    • complete missing information in a table, summary, notes or a flow chart.
Previewing and predicting
  • Before the recording begins you will be given 30 seconds to read and become familiar with the questions. Use this time efficiently so that you can prepare yourself to listen for the information you need.
  • Here are some hints for previewing and predicting:
    • Study the questions and try to predict what type of answer is required, for example, a date, a name or a number, or the grammar form it will take.
    • Check the differences between similar-looking answers. Look for minor details such as different or omitted words.
    • Try to stay at least two questions ahead of the information on the recording. This way you will be less likely to miss a question and get lost.
Listening for specific information
  • Use of previewing and predicting skills will help you listen for the specific information you need to answer the questions in the Listening Module.
  • Listening for key words and common connective words often helps to signal the specific information that you need to answer the question.
  • Make sure that while you are actually writing your answers, you continue to listen to the recording, as there will not be a second opportunity to hear it.
Checking and rewriting
  • Parts are usually divided into two sections. Use the 20 seconds in between to check your answers.
  • You are given about 30 seconds after each part to check your answers. Check that all your answers match the instructions.
  • Make sure that you have answered every question. Marks are not deducted for incorrect answers so, if you are unsure, you should guess by writing down what you think is the most likely answer.
  • Make sure that you have included only what is asked for in the answer.
  • Main strategies
  • From the introductory information, note who the speakers are, their relationship, and the context or situation.
  • Read all 10 questions and instructions to decide what kind of answer is needed and what information to listen for.
  • Quickly analyse any answer choices and note any differences.
  • Listen carefully to the introduction.
  • Answer the questions as you listen. There will not be a second chance.
  • Read two questions ahead while you are listening so that you do not get lost if you miss an answer.
  • Use the time at the end to make sure you have followed the instructions and answered the questions correctly.
  • Knowing these grammar points will make it easier to follow the Listening test:
    • question words (e.g. who/what/where/why)
    • parts of speech (e.g. noun/verb/adjective)
    • singular/plural (e.g. a question/questions)
    • first/second/third person (e.g. I see/you see/he sees)
    • irregular verbs ( e.g. have/ go)
    • past/present/future tense (e.g. I did/I do/I will do)
    • articles (e.g. a/an/the)
    • prepositions (time, e.g. during/until; place, e.g. at/on; direction, e.g. to/from)
    • phrasal verbs (e.g. turn on/put off)
    • present simple/ continuous tense (e.g. They study /They are studying)
    • comparatives/superlatives (e.g. It is better/It is the best)
    • modal verbs (e.g. must/may/should)
    • first conditional (e.g. IfI pass I will celebrate).
  • The following may be helpful in improving your result:
    • Take part in as many conversations as possible with native speakers.
    • Listen to news broadcasts-listen to a specific item and try to identify: the names of the people involved, the time, the place, what happened and any other significant details.You can check your accuracy by listening to the same story on several different stations.
    • Listen to sports programs-listen for the names of places, contestants and teams, the scores and who scored.
    • Listen to the weather report.
    • Listen to talk shows.

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