Listening is one of the four macro skills tested in the IELTS Test. There are 40 questions to be answered in about 30 minutes, and 10 minutes is given as transfer time.
The question types include Multiple Choice, Summary Completion, Plan/Map/Diagram Labelling, and Matching.
Male and female speakers, or a mix, audio recordings will be played during the test in a combination of monologues and dialogues. Topics vary widely and range from social conversations to academic lectures.
A variety of accents – including regional accents – are used, including American English, British English and Australian English. Although IELTS Test candidates need not know how to use such phonetic peculiarities, it will be necessary to familiarize themselves with the sounds belonging to each identified accent. Using a good dictionary with IPA representations will help, as well. This also means the student makes an effort to look up words and expressions from time to time and record them – be it while reading, listening, writing, or speaking, thus increasing the student’s word-bank and allowing both a wider active and passive use of the new lexis.
Spelling is another key factor in succeeding at IELTS Listening. Incorrect spelling is always marked wrong – even in the listening test. So, with the help of your dictionary, check how you spell words (especially the unfamiliar ones) constantly.
8 Steps to better IELTS Listening
This short tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of listening for the IELTS Test in eight easy lessons. Afterward, you’ll get recommendations for professional training, plus links to tutorials on IELTS Listening and IELTS Listening Test preparation.
- What is in the IELTS Listening Test?
- What IELTS Listening Skills do you need?
- Practice tests are invaluable
- Listening requires comprehension
- An ability to comprehend what is being said quickly is essential in Listening
- Context clues help you understand unfamiliar words
- Synonyms increase your comprehension
- How to prepare for the IELTS Listening Test
What is in the IELTS Listening Test?
The IELTS Academic listening test is approximately 40 minutes in length and there are four sections each with an individual listening passage. In each section, there are 10 questions making 40 in all. Sections 1 and 2 are based on social survival in an English speaking country and sections 3 and 4 are based on a more educational and training orientation. The actual recording lasts for about 30 minutes and then students have 10 minutes at the end of the listening in order to transfer their answers to the answer paper.
Here students listen to a dialogue between 2 people which is divided into 2 parts. 10 questions are required to be answered based on the content. At the start of section 1 an example is read out and then explained. This is then repeated when the listening test starts properly.
Students will hear a monologue, sometimes another speaker is included who asks questions in order to encourage the speaker. This is broken down into 2 parts. 10 questions are asked about what is heard.
Features a discussion between 2, 3 or 4 people. It is divided into 2 parts and students will be required to answer 10 questions based on what is heard
Here scholars will hear a monologue though it may include a second speaker asking questions to stimulate the monologue. It is divided into 2 parts. 10 questions are required to be answered based on what is heard.
What IELTS Listening Skills do you need?
In the IELTS Listening course, eight essential skills are extensively covered. Short, lectures, demonstrations, activities, and model answers are found in each lesson. They are as follows:
- Skimming any written instructions, question stems and choices
- Determining and relating keywords and synonyms
- Multi-tasking: listening, thinking, and writing
- Predicting through common collocations
- Predicting and Time Management
- Language for direction and distance relations
- Spelling: Importance and Strategies for Improvement
- Unlocking Difficulties through Synonyms
Practice tests are invaluable
It is a popular notion that immersion with the language makes learning successful. The same is true for IELTS, that is, immersion in the topic makes for success. There are many available materials that let you build relevant skills for Listening proficiency, and the nine series of practice materials by Cambridge, prepared by the IELTS creators themselves, remain the most important part of the whole preparation.
Listening requires comprehension
Every candidate must always remember that IELTS Listening is mainly a test of comprehension. Hence a good vocabulary foundation together with a good grammar basis is integral toward achieving success in the test. In IELTS Listening classes,
as part of the preparation stage, grammatical and lexical nuances are highlighted, for example, the relationship between keywords and synonyms, or the need to focus on whether a noun is singular or plural. Additionally, comprehension also means being able to listen and understand between the lines, to make assumptions and inferences about what is being said.
The ability to understand quickly is essential in Listening
In the early stage of preparation, grammar and vocabulary may be taken into account. However, as you progress toward the day of your exam, time becomes a crucial factor. Since the entire test is for 30 minutes including the gaps in between questions, the questions must be answered with full attention. Techniques like reading the questions and given choices ahead are very important.
Familiarising and Understanding Words through Context Clues
Students of English rely on a good dictionary to look up words and phrases. In the IELTS Listening test, since dictionaries are not allowed, context clueing must be the alternative help. Although some books have tackled this concept, everyone is unique at being receptive with words and ideas. Context clueing Is the art of knowing a term based on what terms, phrases, or sentences come before and after it. However, context clueing involves more than this simplistic view. It also includes stored knowledge especially vocabulary, style and speed of reading, and most importantly – the familiarity of which approach to use and this should be polished through time and constant use.
Signposts in IELT Lstening
Understanding how they are used is a key skill for IELTS Test candidates and band scores can only rise higher once their effective use is learned.
Enriching Vocabulary through Synonyms
Many words and ideas are similar – just expressed in different ways. Literary writers though, do not just use pick the right word just for the heck of achieving variety in the text. They pick the right word that would vividly capture the essence of what they are trying to express. For IELTS students, although synonyms are not 100% alike, they can still aid at building vocabulary through one of the most effective ways – association. In IELTS, words and chunks of expressions are expressed differently in the Listening tracks and in the sets of questions and it is the comprehension of these that the IELTS student has to perfect in order to perform well in the IELTS exam.
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