Trying your hand at a Listening test in IELTS without prior experience is guaranteed to produce either of the two results. On one hand, it would make you question your faculties of hearing, on the other, it would deem you worthy enough to become a stenographer. For those afflicted with the former, we have a few IELTS Listening tips that’ll speed things along.
Details about the IELTS Listening test
Among the key structures of learning a language, the ability to listen and understand what’s being mentioned is paramount. Likewise, the IELTS test brings into question the ability of listening comprehension. There are four different sections in the Listening stage with forty questions in total. Moreover, both the Academic and the General training versions of the test utilize the same format. We’ll take a closer look at this structure in the points below.
- As we mentioned earlier, there are 40 Questions and 4 Sections
- Section 1: Involves listening to a telephone conversation between two people. The content of the conversation can range anywhere from booking tickets to making reservations in a hotel. The Listening exercise requires you to pick up specific details like date, time, or points of interest.
- Section 2: More often than not, it involves listening to a lecture or a briefing, In the case of the former, you’ll be asked to listen to the introduction of a certain topic. In the case of the latter, you’ll be given a dressing down on how things work at a given workplace, e.g. a restaurant.
- Section 3: Makes you through a litany of back-and-forth academic discussions. It often involves two or maybe three students talking to a professor or an academic presentation.
- Section 4: Often meant to be to the point, Section 4 consists of only an academic lecture.
- There is a likelihood of varied accents in the test. Preparing for blocky British accents and drawling American or Australian accents is recommended.
- And for those of you who sweat the details of proper spelling, both American and British spellings are accepted.
- The overall time for the listening section is 40 minutes; 30 minutes of the stipulated time will be dedicated to the Listening part of the test, and the remaining ten minutes are used to transfer your answers to the paper.
Types of Questions
- Form/Note Completion
- Summary Completion
- Multiple choice
- Map/Diagram Labeling
- Table/Chart Completion
- Sentence Completion
Moving on to the IELTS Listening Tips:
Reading the question paper: Despite being a statistic that I wouldn’t like to admit to, a noticeable degree of errors can be attributed to the lack of proper understanding of the question paper. Eager answers in an IELTS paper are just that, eager answers. Instead what the examiner looks out for are precise answers. Based on that theory we have a bunch of IELTS Listening tips that you can try out.
“Mispell” your words much?
Students are often recommended to write down their answers while listening to the recording. Not everyone has a sharp memory. However, in the process of noting down the answers, there is the likelihood of making spelling errors. The time to make note of and change any errors can be done in the 2 minutes of transfer time that is provided at the end of each recording.
Writing the “correct” answer.
In some questions, test takers may be specifically asked to either write words or letters. For instance, in multiple-choice questions, you’ll be asked specifically to write the word itself or the letter that marks the answer.
If the answer happens to be A, then the letter “A” must be written instead of the word “Ship”. Failing to follow such minor instructions may lead to a loss of marks.
UPPERCASE or lowercase?
While both formats are accepted, it’s generally recommended that test takers follow the UPPERCASE format of writing. Using this format eliminates any confusion that might arise from using the lowercase or cursive format of writing.
Filling in blanks with word limits
In every “fill in the blank” section of the question paper, test takers are supposed to write their answers within a stipulated number of words. In most cases, answers may be written in one, two, or up to three words. Trying to encapsulate a wordy phrase will only lead to a point being deducted.
Returning to the basics
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, is a phrase that might apply to our next tip. Using a pencil to copy your answers onto the test paper can prove to be vital, especially when you have an innate tendency to make mistakes. Even if you were to make an error all you have to do is to erase and rewrite; zero hassles indeed.
Avoid chasing every tail
Trying to make a mental note of every single line is somewhat counter-productive. IELTS will certainly add fluffed-up details that have little relation to the actual questions, it’s up to you to avoid falling for such traps. Answers may sometimes come in an avalanche with one answer being given after another, the converse is also possible.
Working on understanding accents
The IELTS test usually has British and Australian accents thrown into its mix of lectures and discussions. In such a case it would be better to try listening to the inflections and pronunciation of words. The tenses of verbs and the singular and plural forms of a noun are all places where accentuation can play a role in understanding what is being mentioned.
Falling for traps, hook, line, and sinker
Conversations often take a slightly natural tone in the IELTS test. The conversant might sometimes double-check him/herself and reply with an answer that’s contrary to the initial assumption. For instance, “I certainly would love to come to the party tomorrow, but I’m afraid I’ll be able to make it only sometime after 9’o clock.” Or “Can we schedule a bus ride for sometime around 7:00 am tomorrow? On second thoughts, can you push it ahead to half past 7?”
To be a Grammar Nazi or not to be?
Sentences may seem to beckon you to use the grammatical form when answering; however, it may just be a façade at times. Using prepositions or articles is alright if the answer requires you to write in a grammatically correct fashion or if special mentions are asking you to write the answer in more than one word (read tip 4).
30 minutes might seem a little grueling to most test takers on their first try. Try and build yourself to become an active listener in those 30 minutes that matter.
That’s pretty much all there is on our end. For more similar content to help combat the test visit our website. Do leave a comment below if these tips turned out to be helpful.