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IELTS Top Tips About Listening

It doesn’t matter whether you are taking IELTS General Training or IELTS Academic, follow these important tips for the IELTS Listening section to learn the tricks, avoid common mistakes, and get the best score!

About IELTS Listening

The Listening section of IELTS Exam:

  1. Runs for 30 minutes

  2. Contains 4 recordings:

  3. 1 – a conversation

  4. 2 – a monologue

  5. 3 – a conversation

  6. 4 – a monologue

  7. Contains 40 questions

  8. Additional 10 minutes to write your answers on the answer sheet

The Listening section is the same for IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. For an outline of each kind of test, click here. For a more detailed description of the IELTS Listening test, click here.

Top Tips

1. Make sure you read the instructions carefully: they are not always the same as they are on practice tests.

2. Concentrate and try to anticipate what the speaker will say. This may be easy in your native language but can be a very difficult skill in English and therefore requires practice.

3. Be ready to listen to different accents. IELTS is an international test so you will hear a variety of accents from native English speakers. Some examples are: Australian, British, American, Canadian, South African, and so on. So make sure you practice listening to native speakers from all over the world.

4. Listen carefully to all that a speaker says. Speakers will often give an answer and then correct themselves. This is a common trick on the IELTS Listening exam, so be careful!

5. Parts 1 and 2 are usually the easier sections of the Listening test. So, if you are aiming for a high score (7.5 and over), your goal should be to answer all questions in Parts 1 and 2 correctly.

6. Don’t make small mistakes, such as spelling mistakes, missing an ‘s’, or writing the time incorrectly (e.g. writing 7.30 instead of 7.30pm). They are little things but they add up in the end!

7. Stay calm and focused. You may find the topic very difficult, or the accent very hard to understand. Don’t freak out, just take a deep breath, stay focused and try and understand as much as you can.

8. Multitask. To get a good score in the IELTS Listening section, you need to be able to listen, read and write at the same time. This is not easy in your native language, so it’s even harder in an English test! Make sure you practice using all these skills at once.

9. Answer every question. You will not lose marks for an incorrect answer, so even if you don’t know, guess!

10. Practice, practice, practice. The best thing you can do to ace the IELTS Listening test is to take an IELTS preparation course. At English Key we provide excellent IELTS preparation courses with native speaking teachers, extensive resources and practice exams for both IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. To start an IELTS coaching course, or to simply find out more, contact us online, or by dropping into one of our English Key centres in Sydney or Melbourne.

Practice Test Listening

Practice makes perfect, so here are some links to practice tests available online:

  1. British Council – a great explanation of the Listening section, plus practice tests

  2. IELTS Essentials

  3. IELTS-Up

  4. IELTS

  5. IELTS Buddy

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