Top Ten IELTS Listening Tips
Kristy Chase, English Outlook Instructor
I have learned these tips from watching and listening to students preparing for the IELTS test. I think they are important to help you to improve your general listening skills and also to perform better in the test.
1] Make sure you improve your general listening skills before you take the IELTS test and don’t use practice tests as a way to improve your score. Many students do this and think it is enough. Doing practice tests will not help you to improve you score significantly although they will help you to become familiar with the test. Listen to everything you can. The internet is a good source of listening material.
2] Learn how to spell! The IELTS test requires correct spelling of all words, not just the ones that are spelled for you, so make sure you know how to spell some common words in English. Also make sure that words that should be capitalised ie proper nouns and names for example, are written with an initial capital letter.
3] Before each part of the test you will hear someone say: ‘You will hear a conversation between…’ or ‘you will hear a lecture on…’ It is very important to listen to this information because it gives the topic for what you are about to hear and makes understanding the rest much easier. It is not written on your question paper, so listen carefully.
4] During the test, use your time well. Read the questions quickly and try to decide which type of word goes in the spaces eg is it a noun, verb or adjective? Write ‘N’ for noun and ‘A’ for adjective and ‘V’ for verb in each space. This will help you focus and listen for the word you need.
5] At the end of each section you have 30 seconds to check your answers. Use this time wisely to go back and check your answers by checking for word forms, plurals (did you forget an ‘s’ on plural words?) and spelling.
6] You know that Section 3 is almost always about education. Quite often you will hear students and a tutor talking about an assignment. Make sure you know all the vocabulary you can about studying at university. This will help you to understand section 3 and gain some extra marks.
7] In section 4 there is a lecture on a general topic and there are quite often multiple choice questions to go with this. There is a lot of reading to do in this section so try to get through as much as possible in the time you have.
8] All the choices in the multiple choice questions will be heard, which makes them difficult. If you don’t know, you can guess but come back to that question at the end of the test as you may be able to give a better or educated guess at the end of the test.
9] At the end of the test you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto an answer sheet. As you do so check your answers are correct and that you are writing your answers into the correct numbered space. That is to say that the answer for question 9 goes onto the answer sheet in space number 9. In practice tests many students get this wrong so don’t throw away marks through a careless mistake.
10] Don’t leave any blank answers! In both listening and reading you should write something in the answers box. If you don’t know, then make a guess. You never know: you may just be right!