Improve your English and prepare for IELTS Listening

Improve your English and prepare for IELTS Listening

So, you have decided to take the IELTS test. Well Done!

It’s tried and tested throughout the world.

The IELTS test is designed to assess your ability to understand spoken English.

The listening is the same regardless of you taking the Academic or General Training Module.

These are the key details of the IELTS Listening test.

The paper includes 40 questions spread over 4 sections in 30 minutes.

The sections get more difficult as you progress to the test.

You will only hear each passage once.

It is vital that you follow the instructions. E.g. if the question says, Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, any answer with 4 or more words is automatically marked wrong.

At the end of the listening, you will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Write your answers carefully.

Spelling is important. Capitalization is not however.

There are no penalties for wrong answers.

So, attempt all the questions even if you are not sure of the answer.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the test.

  • You are given the time to read the questions ahead of the Listening. It’s vital that you analyse the question here.
  • Look for the keywords for the questions. Usually, they are the Nouns or Verbs. Underline or Circle them.
  • Make sure you know the type of answer needed. E.g., Is it a name, telephone number or an adjective?
  • Try to predict as much as you can before you listen.
  • Ask yourself,
    • What is the situation?
    • What is the topic?
    • Who might be speaking?
    • What might be the answers?
  • Synonyms are important. There is often a word in a question and a different word with similar meaning in the Listening.
  • Expect tricks. The speaker may try to confuse you. For instance, They may give an answer and then change their decision.
  • Also, beware of negatives. Speakers might sometimes flip the word “Not” into a sentence.
  • Don’t choose an answer just because you hear specific words. Consider the overall meaning carefully. Changes in the tone of voice can indicate this. For example, excitement or disappointment.
  • Always have the next question in mind. It’s easy to miss several answers if all your focus is on one question.
  • It’s important to practice listening to a range of resources that might include television, films, radio, lectures or online videos.
  • Aim for a variety of sources of spoken English. Particularly different accents.

At last but not the least, there is no substitute for practice.

For more information on IELTS, please refer to our other blog posts on Speaking, Reading & Writing.

If you have any specific queries, kindly share it at

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Brij Best

Brij Best

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