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Tips for the IELTS Listening Test

The Basics

The IELTS listening test has four parts with 10 Questions each. Each question can receive one mark. In order to receive a band 9, you need to get 39 to 40 of these questions correct. Marks are not given where there are incorrect spellings, so you need to be careful and review your work.

In the first part of the exam you will be asked for specific information such as times, dates, numbers, place names or spellings. Revising all of this material is a sure way of ensuring you can easily get marks in this section.

1. You will only hear the recordings once

Take notes during the time you are allowed to read and consider the questions. Try to anticipate what form the answer will take (adjective, noun, adverb etc). Follow the recording carefully and make notes - you will have time at the end to transfer your answers.

During the time you are permitted to transfer your answers into the paper, make sure you are putting the answer in the correct place.

2. Some information might not be correct the first time it’s mentioned

Be careful not to be too hasty to answer questions. Often, information will be given that is later revised or changed by the person giving it. For example, someone will call out a phone number or the spelling of a name that might seem like the correct answer, and the other person on the recording will say it is wrong or that there is a mistake.

3. Concentrate on relevant vocabulary

Section 3 is usually a discussion about Education; for example, a discussion about an assignment or a project. It's useful to revise vocabulary around studying at University in order to do well in this section.

4. Listen to the context

At the beginning of the recording, you will often be given some additional information that does not appear on your exam paper. This will tell you what the conversation is about; who is talking; and possibly where they are. Listening to this information can give you a lot of clues about the rest of the information.

5. Brush up on your grammar

Be careful about singular and plural nouns. Check if there are clues, such as an article, which might tell you if the noun you are listening for is plural or singular. Make sure to use the correct capitals for proper nouns like countries, cities, and towns.

6. Read the question carefully

Sometimes, the question can be very specific about how many words to write. If you are asked for one word, avoid putting an article or preposition before it; for example, if the question asks for ONE WORD and the answer is 'car', don't write 'by car' or 'the car'.

7. If you miss an answer, try not to panic
Make a quick note and move on. Only having one opportunity to hear the recording means that you can quickly lose your place if you become too focused on one thing. When you have the opportunity, go back and make a guess. There are no marks deducted for wrong answers.

8. Revise with a variety of materials

In the Listening Exam, you might hear a number of different accents and topics being discussed. Practice listening to material with a variety of voices and about different topics, to pick up vocabulary and get used to different accents. Past exams are a good start, but try listening to radio programs or podcasts, too, in order to be prepared.

Good luck from all of us at EnglishLogica!

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