IELTS Listening Tips


1. Listening has an example
Section 1 always has an example question first to give you plenty of time to get started. So, always read the questions first. Remember that you listen only once. Listen to specific information, such as dates or numbers. Listen to the main idea. If you find the main idea, it will come in the conversation repeatedly and questions will be based on that. Listen for voice changes. Where voice change occurs, there’s likely to be a different topic or meaning and will definitely invoke a question. This usually happens after words such ‘But’ and ‘Because’.

2. Read questions first and speculate for MicroListening

In Listening Test, the recording divides questions into groups, so every time you are instructed to answer a group of 4-5 questions. There are 20-30 seconds of silence before each group. This gives you enough time so read the questions before you listen and think about what the situation might be. Predict what kind of information you should listen for.

Listen for synonyms while you are listening. You can guess because there is no negative marking.

Always read the instructions carefully so you know how many words you should write. The word or phrase you need always appears in the listening exactly in the form you need it. Do not write more words than required. Do not write complete sentences. Check your spelling.

When you have to complete notes or a table, predict
what kind of word or phrase you will need [e.g. number, name or some
facts and figures]. Remember that, with numbers, you might also need to
write a determiner such as [km, cm, years, dollars etc.

3. Understand the hidden meaning

In listening, you have to find understand the hidden meaning. In the following example, at first, the woman did not seem to answer the question the man presented. She responded with a statement that only seemed loosely related.

a. Man: Are you going to be ready for your presentation?

Woman: I’ve only got half of it finished and it’s taken me five
hours just to do this much. There’s only an hour left before the
presentation is due.

Once you look deeper, then you can find the true meaning of what she said. If it took the woman five hours to do the first half of the presentation, then it would logically take her another five hours to do the second half. Since she only has one hour until her presentation is due, she would probably NOT be able to be ready for the presentation. So, while an answer was not immediately visible to the man’s question, when you applied some logic to her response, you could find the hidden meaning beneath.

4. Grammar in listening

Predict what type of information is missing also predict what the
missing word or phrase (Part of Speech) could actually be. Grammar can
be helpful here.
In Listening, questions almost always follow the order in which you hear the information on the recording.

Write the missing words exactly as you hear them. Read the sentences/ summary again to check that the words you have added make sense and fit grammatically. In the test, use a highlighter pen to highlight key words.

5. Visualise in listening

Think about what you know already about the subject. Even a rough idea will help you. Predict what the missing information could be before you listen. You always have some time to read the questions before you listen. Make sure you use this time wisely: re-phrase the question in your own mind and underline the key words that tell you what to listen out for and try to figure out what the diagram represents.

6.Listen globally

You need to follow both the gist of what is being said and listen out for specific words and phrases, such as the names of parts of a machine or key stages in the process. Diagrams visually represent an object or an idea. Flow charts visually represent the steps in a process. Remember that the numbered list is always in the same order as you hear the information in the recording. Remember that with this kind of task you can use each letter more than once.

7. Always read instructions carefully

Read the question very carefully to see how many answers you need to choose. Choose exactly that number of answers . Choose only those answers which are mentioned and which answer the specific question you are asked. Read the question very carefully. As you listen, put a line through the ideas in the list that are wrong.

After the 20 minutes of the Listening test, there are 10 additional minutes. During the test you have written all of the answers in the Listening test booklet. These 10 minutes are given you to copy your answers to the Answer Sheet, and you should use them smartly. The Answer Sheet has 2 sides, one for the Reading test and one for the Listening test, so make sure you are writing on the Listening side.

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