Are you struggling in IELTS Listening exam? Are your answers in IELTS Listening test right or not? Many of my students often ask me that they listen properly but when it comes to writing the right answer they quite often make mistakes.
Most of the time, students make mistakes on multiple choice question (MCQ) in IELTS Listening test also. So, here I’m giving you the top 11 best IELTS Listening tips and strategies for IELTS Listening module which help you to improve your score in IELTS test.
IELTS Listening Test is conducted right in the beginning in your Real IELTS Test. If you can get a good score in IELTS Listening, chances are high that you perform better in the remaining two – IELTS Reading & Writing. In this article, I’m sharing sure-shot “tips & tricks for IELTS Listening“.
You will get approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time) for IELTS Listening. These best 11 IELTS Listening Tips & Strategies will help you to get 8+ band in your IELTS listening exam.
You can also read :
- 1 Top 11 IELTS Listening Tips & Strategies
- 1.1 1. Read and understand the Instructions well
- 1.2 2. Understand Various Question Types and Practice them
- 1.3 3. Try to get familiar with various English Accents
- 1.4 4. Articles are very important (a/ an/ the)
- 1.5 5. Listen for plural words
- 1.6 6. How they count words/ numbers?
- 1.7 7. Can grammar help in IELTS Listening?
- 1.8 8. How important is Correct Spelling?
- 1.9 9. Do you lose focus while listening?
- 1.10 10. Is it difficult for you to Read, Write and Listen at the same time?
- 1.11 11. What to keep in mind while transferring answers on the answer sheet.
- 1.12 Conclusion
Top 11 IELTS Listening Tips & Strategies
Listening section in both Academic and General Training remains the same. This module consists of four different recordings. You will get only 40 minutes (30 minutes to listen to the 4 recordings ) and 10 minutes to write it on the answer sheet.
1. Read and understand the Instructions well
Be careful while reading instructions, for example:
- One word OR a Number / One word and/or a Number.
- Not more than Three words Or a Number/ Not more than Three words Or a Number.
- Whether to write a Letter (A,B,C) OR a Word (Book, Weather) as an answer.
2. Understand Various Question Types and Practice them
There are following types of questions in IELTS listening. You should understand how to listen for answers in each of them.
- Multiple Choice Question (MCQ)
- Plan/ map/ diagram labeling
- Form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion
- Sentence completion.
- Short-answer questions
A great approach that my students have found quite effective is to practice each section of an IELTS Listening at once. Follow these steps:
- Understand how the questions are hidden in the recordings.
- Learn from your mistakes
- And repeat until you gain confidence in solving them.
Once you have learned how to solve them individually, then practice by attempting a complete IELTS Listening test. Observe your scores and monitor your progress.
3. Try to get familiar with various English Accents
There are basically 10 types of accents that you may hear in your IELTS Listening, as follows:
- UK Accents– Southern England, Northern England, Wales and Scotland.
- North American Accents – Canada, Northern USA and Southern USA.
- Accents from Southern Hemisphere – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.
In IELTS you may come across any one of these bu the most common ones are British and Australian, where the latter (Australian) is a little difficult to understand.
4. Articles are very important (a/ an/ the)
If you skip an article, your answer is wrong. Native speakers use “connected-speech “and that is the reason why it is sometimes very difficult for non-natives to listen to everything.
For instance, if someone says “It was in a computer room” the words in bold here may not sound as distinct as they are written but somewhat like this “It was in aKUMPYUte-room“. The words in UPPERCASE here are stressed more and not the initial article “a”. So, listen carefully for articles. Natives generally stress more on important words in their connected speech.
an element of risk — ANAILIment-avRISk
the biggest building — daBIGGEST-BILDing
a barren land — aBARREN-laind
If you have heard an article in the conversation and it makes sense with the sentence, do write it. Or simply Don’t!
5. Listen for plural words
As explained above, try to listen to the plural “s” at the end of a word which means a lot in IELTS Listen test. As in:
Forests, People’s / peoples, Asks and Techniques
OR plurals like:
Men (singular-Man), Women (singular-Woman), analyses (singular- analysis), crises (singular-crisis)
You should also practice listening to most common English words used in IELTS. It will help you have the better understanding of what and how they are speaking certain words.
6. How they count words/ numbers?
A small number without a comma is treated as a number e.g. 105
Numbers with many digits and a few commas are counted as one word e.g. 10,000,000 (one word) but, 10 million ( one word and a number)
There can be a word which is hyphenated (using two words to make one compound word by inserting a hyphen in between them), is considered as one word. Like, well-being, good-hearted etc.
7. Can grammar help in IELTS Listening?
The answer is YES! In a question, observe the words before and after a bank. It will give you enough hint whether there would be a NOUN, a Verb (It may be Singular or Plural, based on the subject it refers to. For example, boys play, a boy plays), an adjective (if the word after a blank is a noun) and so on. Mostly, you are asked to fill nouns as answers. So, this tip makes it very easy for you to listen for an answer as a noun/verb/adjective/adverb only.
8. How important is Correct Spelling?
A spell-error can cost you one mark. Many students hear the answer well but while writing the answers they misspell words either out of ignorance or by not paying attention. So, be careful with your spellings.
Which spelling is acceptable British or American?
In IELTS, both American and British spellings are acceptable. Like, until/untill, traveling/travelling.
9. Do you lose focus while listening?
IELTS listening is a test of your concentration. You have to listen to the recordings for 30 minutes which has a lot of additional information. But, your focus should be on the main information which has the answer. Practice and patience are the key elements here. There can be the following cases:
- Sometimes, students are too relaxed and the answer can be right there in the first sentence itself. They skip this because they feel it would come later.
- The answers can be back to back as well. So, by the time you tend to be a little relaxed after marking an answer, the next one follows instantly.
- Speakers may change their answers later and by that time some have marked the answers and moved on. So, first let a speaker finish speaking and then mark your answer. For example, once a speaker would say “Let’s plan for a movie on Thursday morning, Oh Sorry! It won’t be possible it seems, I have something already on my schedule, so let’s make it on Saturday evening instead”. The answer is Saturday Evening and NOT Thursday Morning.
10. Is it difficult for you to Read, Write and Listen at the same time?
IELTS Listening becomes difficult because you have to do three tasks at the same time – Reading questions, Listening Audio and Writing your answers (or hints). You have to practice this. But, students often forget that this is a test of your listening and NOT READING.
The moment they hear the recording they start browsing through the questions and answers given thereunder especially in MCQs. They tend to match the keywords given in the answers in the listening audio, which either makes them mark a wrong answer (because IELTS examiners are smart enough) or they fail to find the answer at all).
So what to do in such cases? After reading the questions and answers ( in the 30 seconds given to you before each section) try to paraphrase yourself and be ready for such twisted answers as they would hardly be that obvious. Learn detailed tips on how to solve Listening Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).
What if I miss an answer to a question?
Don’t worry! It can happen to anyone. You just need to be patient. You can still score well as the answers always come in order. If you skip an answer, move on and don’t lose focus. Though, I would advise you to write an answer on your answer sheet by guessing because there is no negative marking. Maybe, your guess is right and you get a bonus mark.
11. What to keep in mind while transferring answers on the answer sheet.
- The chances of writing lowercase in uppercase and vice-versa are quite high which is penalized in IELTS. Proper nouns start with a capital letter as in Delhi, Britain, Thursday and if a word falls somewhere in the middle of a sentence it may start with a lowercase. So, I would strictly advise you to use all CAPITAL LETTERS.
- You can use a pen or a pencil in IELTS. But, it’s needless to mention that using a pencil gives you an option to erase and change your answer. So, use a pencil to write your answers.
- Always keep in mind how to write answers by reading the instructions well as mentioned in the very first point of this article.
The IELTS Listening test becomes quite easy if you follow the above-mentioned tips. All you need to do is to read the instructions & questions well, listen carefully and try to understand what they are speaking about. Learn to paraphrase questions and practice IELTS Listening tests daily. Monitor your progress and work on your wrong answers. You will surely notice a very good improvement within a few days.
I hope, my IELTS Listening tips and tricks have given you a fair idea on how to get a good score in IELTS Listening test. You must have to practice to improve your listening skills. For further questions on IELTS Listening or you have some strategies or suggestion that you think could benefit others, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. You can also join our facebook page to receive new updates on Tips, Strategies and IELTS material on IELTS Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.