Need some IELTS Listening tips?
Few teachers have experience with this part of the test. Even fewer schools have access to the professional recording studios needed to produce practice material.
As a result, the internet contains less support for IELTS Listening than any other part of the test.
To help fill this vacuum, here are my top 5 IELTS Listening tips…
IELTS Listening Tip 1: Spelling
Even if your answer is correct, if you spell it wrong – it’s wrong.
Always write the word exactly as spoken in the recording. That includes singulars and plurals – if the answer was singular, it should remain singular.
To find out which words you tend to misspell, open a Word document and select Tools/Spelling and Grammar/Hide Spelling Errors. Then type away!
When you have finished, repeat the process above to reveal the spelling errors you have made.
The best way to improve your spelling is the old-fashioned way – repetition. Type or write out the word a number of times until you can remember the spelling.
You might like to check these general spelling rules.
Tip 2: Accents
Accents can also cause significant problems for test candidates.
The test tends to contain about 65% British accents and 25% Australian. The other accents come from a variety of native and non-native sources.
On the whole, I have found that students more often get the answer wrong with Australian accents.
Most people know British and American accents through mass media like the BBC and Hollywood. Australian accents are less well known.
This lack of familiarity causes particular problems in part three since you have little time to tune into the accent between speakers.
The answer – familiarise yourself with the Australian accent by listening to Australian podcasts, radio, movies, etc.
This link will take you to a number of Australian podcasts that you can listen to for free.
Tip 3: Number of Words and Numbers
Some candidates fail to pay attention to the instructions and how they change between questions.
Every time you start a new question type or task, you will find new instructions telling you how many words you can write.
Make sure you check them before moving onto a new task.
Tip: Your answer will only include a number if the instructions mention one. Numbers do not count towards the number of words.
Tip 4: Online Resources
Few online IELTS Listening tests exist.
Even if someone is skilled in writing Listening test questions, they often do not have access to a professional recording studio.
For some reason, the less skilled tend to have better access, and you will find many poorly produced tests online.
However, this link will take you to a full IELTS test published by the British Council.
And Our Final IELTS Listening Tip: Scoring
Clerical markers mark the test out of 40, and a computer calculates the final band score.
The exact score you need changes from test to test, based on the level of difficulty.
As a very general guideline, you need to score 6, 7 or 8 out of 10 to achieve the equivalent band score on test day.
Return to IELTS Listening Home Page