IELTS Listening Tips & Tricks
IELTS Listening Test Format
The Listening section is the same for both versions of IELTS (Academic and General Training). There are four parts. You will hear the recording only once. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used.
Section 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context (e.g. a conversation about accommodation).
Section 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speech about local facilities or about arrangements for meals during a conference).
Section 3: A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of people planning a project).
Section 4: A talk (e.g. a university lecture)
IELTS Listening Tips
- At the beginning of each section read the questions for that section carefully, before the recording starts. This will help you to follow the recording and identify the answers.
- After completing a section, it is better to look ahead and read the questions for the next section than to worry about the last section.
- You will sometimes have a list of options to choose from as answers. The possible answers may be listed in alphabetical order and not necessarily in the order you will hear them.
- Be careful to note word limits. If there is an instruction: Write no more than two words, writing more than two words will mean you will receive no marks at all for your answer, even if some of the words are correct.
- Try to listen for key words or synonyms (words that have the same or nearly the same meaning as another word) from the question to help you identify the answer. For example, in the recording you might hear: “She likes going to the gym and playing tennis. On your answer sheet/screen (in computer-delivered IELTS), this could appear as “She is an active person.”
- You may be asked to write down words that have been spelled out in the recording. In order to do this well, you need to know the English alphabet and how each letter is pronounced (for example, the letter ‘W’ is pronounced as ‘double-u’).
- Listen carefully for words that indicate which stage of the recording you are listening to, e.g. ‘firstly’, ‘my next point’, ‘to sum up’. These words will help you identify which question you have reached.
- As you are listening to the recording, cross out options that don’t fit. This makes it easier for you to find the right answer.
- If you are writing dates as an answer to any question, remember that there are several correct ways to write them (e.g. 24th April, April 24 and 24 April are all correct).
- If there are questions you cannot answer leave them and move on to the next question. This will help you to stay calm and positive. Go back to those questions at the end, if you have time.
- In paper-based IELTS, after the last recording has ended you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the Listening booklet to your answer sheet. Don’t make the mistake of copying these answers across to the answer sheet in between sections or you may miss important information about the next section of the test. Wait until the end of Section 4 before transferring your answers
IELTS LISTENING QUICK TIPS
Always read the question.
Predict the topic
Use a minute to look through each section
Careful with question order
Look at two questions at once
Move on if you miss an answer
Watch others if you’re completely lost
Look out for paraphrasing
Ignore words you don’t
Underline key words
Take care with spelling and grammar
Use British or American spelling
Don’t worry about what you write on the exam sheet
Read the instructions
Use upper or lower case letters
Get used to the British accent
Practice the pronunciation of letter and numbers
Careful with what you write down
Don’t leave answers blank
Transfer your answers to the answer sheet carefully
Check your answers
Listen very carefully
Listen to lectures
Learn to listen and write together
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