How to practice for your IELTS Listening. Because listening is a module which can help you magically improve your overall band score. The Listening Section of the IELTS Academic Test is divided into 4 sections, each with 10 questions so 40 questions in total. You will have about 30 minutes to complete before sections. in addition, you have about 10 extra minutes to transfer your answers from your question sheet to your answer sheet.
In the first recording, you’ll hear a whole conversation between two speakers, for example, a conversation about travel arrangements, opening a bank account, or inquiring about a training course.
In the second recording, you’ll hear a monologue or just one person speaking, for example, a speech about community activities, someone giving information on something such as a guided museum tour, or information about a conference.
The last two recordings deal with education or training-related situation in section 3 there’s a conversation between two main speakers, for example, 2 university students in discussion perhaps guided by a Tutor.
The fourth recording is a monologue on an academic subject and is usually a university style lecture. This could be related to any academic topic.
You can only listen to the recordings once, that means if you want to do well on the listening task you need to be well prepared. To be well-prepared you need to be very familiar with the listening tasks so let’s take a look at these now.
No specialist subject knowledge is necessary. All the answers you need will be provided in the recordings.
Improve your general listening skills
The goal of IELTS Listening section is to test your listening skills. Don’t use practice tests to improve your score: it’s not enough! They will help you to become familiar with the test, but won’t much improve your listening abilities. It is much more effective to do various listening exercises, listen to general listening materials (radio reports, TV-shows, documental programs etc) and only after that do IELTS Listening practice tests.
Polish your topic vocabulary
Section 3 is almost always about education. For example, students and a tutor talking about an assignment. Learn all the vocabulary you can about studying at university. This way you will understand this section better.
Skip over the questions and decide which type of word fits in each gap. Is it a noun, verb, adverb or adjective? Write ‘N’ for noun, ‘V’ for verb and so on. This will help you to focus on the specific word forms while listening.
Don’t lose attention
Remember, you will only hear the audio once. So if you didn’t hear some words and passed over some questions, don’t worry! Leave them blank and focus on the actual part. Review those questions at the end of the section, otherwise, you will only miss more questions and tangle in the recording. You will need to read, write and listen all at the same time.
Helpful Tips for IELTS Listening Test
- Before the recording begins for any section, do read all the questions carefully. This will help follow the recordings and identify the answers easily.
- Once a section is complete, you can move ahead and read up the questions for the next section.
- At times, there will be a list of options to make a pick from. It is not necessary that the answers will be in the order you hear them. They could also be listed alphabetically.
- Do note the word limits for each section. If an instruction says, ‘Write no more than two words’, stick to it. If you write more than the specified limit, you may end up getting no marks for the attempted answer.
- Be attentive and look out for the key words or synonyms (words with same or nearly same meanings as another word) from the question. This can help identify the answer. For instance, if you hear in the recording: “She likes going to the gym and playing tennis”; it could reflect on your answer sheet/ screen (in computer-delivered IELTS) as “She is an active person.”
- In questions where you have to write down words spelled out in the recording, you need to be well aware of the English alphabets and how they are pronounced. For instance, the alphabet ‘W’ is pronounced as ‘double-u’).
- Listen carefully for words indicating the stage of the recording you are listening to, e.g. ‘firstly’, ‘my next point’, ‘to sum up’. These words help identify which question you have reached.
- while listening to a recording, you can keep crossing out the options that do not fit. It makes it easier to find the right option.
- If you have to mention dates in any answer, remember there are various correct ways to do so (e.g. April 24, 24th April and 24 April – all are correct).
- If you face trouble in answering any question, leave it and move on. Don’t waste time on it and end up panicking. If you have time left in the end, come back to it later.
- If you are taking IELTS on paper, you are given 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the Listening booklet to your answer sheet once the last recording is over. It is best to wait till the recordings end to transfer the responses to the answer sheet (and not in between sections) as you may end up missing some important information about the test’s next section.
Do note, you do not have an extra 10-minute transfer time in case of IELTS on computer.
To be better prepared, you can also download the range of other important official IDP Education IELTS preparation tools that we have available for you.