Listening Test Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Previously we looked at an overview of the listening test.

Let’s review that lesson first:

  • The test takes 30 minutes, with an extra 10 minutes for transferring answers.
  • The test is the same for Academic and General candidates.
  • You only here the recording once.
  • The test has 4 section which get increasingly more difficult.

Part 1 – informal conversation
Part 2 – informal monologue
Part 3 – conversation about an academic or training topic
Part 4
 – academic monologue
Now, let’s look at some tips for how to achieve a good band score in the IELTS Listening Test. If you have any questions or any good tips you want to share please write them in the comments section below.

  1. Make sure you are well rested and can fully concentrate on the morning of the test. You only hear each recording once so you need to concentrate hard for the full 30 minutes.
  2. If you can’t hear the recording clearly, tell the examiner immediately.
  3. You receive time to check your answers and read the questions coming up, make sure you use this time effectively to prepare yourself and check for spelling errors in your answers.
  4. In gap fill and summary questions, the word or words that you write must fit grammatically into the sentence so make sure you use the right form of the word (noun, verb, or adjective).
  5. Before you listen, think about who is speaking and why they are speaking because this will help you to predict the answers.
  6. In part 1 look at the gaps on the form and predict what kind of information to listen for, e.g. names, places, numbers.
  7. If you have to find places on a map, make sure you familiarize yourself with the different features of the map before listening. What prepositions can you use to locate the places that are given on the map?
  8. When predicting answers or thinking about locations think of synonyms which could be used, e.g. opposite – over the road – across from. This will help you identify the answer on the recording.
  9. Always check how many words you can write for your answer. If you write too many words you will not get the point.
  10. When you have to complete a table make sure you study the headings and the details already written on it as this will help you to understand and predict what to listen for.
  11. For multiple choice questions read the ‘stem’ (the question or unfinished statement) carefully. Select your answer based on what the speaker says, not on your opinion or knowledge about the topic.
  12. Don’t stop listening after you think you have the answer. Often speakers change their minds and so you have to change your answer. Stay focused on the recording!
  13. When answering short questions, decide if you have to listen for a cause, effect, reason, opinion, suggestion, action or place. I find it helpful to underline the keywords in the questions to help keep me focused on this.
  14. Before you complete a summary make sure you skim over the text to get the general meaning of it. Then focus on the gaps and predict what types of words are missing, e.g names, numbers, quantities, dates, actions. This will help you to pick details out of the recording. Read the summary after you’ve completed it to make sure it makes sense and that your answers are grammatically accurate.
  15. If you miss an answer don’t worry about it, move on to the next question. If you spend too much time worrying about one missed answer you will miss more answers.
  16. Don’t forget to transfer all of your answers onto the answer paper in the final 10 minutes of the test.

​What do you think of IELTS Listening Test tips? If you have any questions or any more tips to add to the list, then please add them in the comments section below.