How to prepare for the IELTS Listening test?

The accents you are most likely to hear during the IELTS listening test are British. That means you must get accustomed to understanding it. Watching a lot of American TV programs is not going to help because British and American accents are quite different. Instead, listen to British radio stations and watch British TV programs and news.

Numbers and letters are not exactly pronounced alike in British and American English. Get used to the different ways. Sometimes, in the listening section, you will be required to write down the spelling of a name, place or address. If you make a mistake while writing it down, your answer will be marked as wrong.

Learn the most common differences between British and American vocabulary. Sometimes the same word has different meanings in British and American English. For example, in British English mad means ‘crazy’. In American English, mad means ‘angry’. Very often, British and American speakers use different words for the same idea. (Example: US: apartment; GB: flat). Learn the most common of these differences.

Follow the instructions carefully. If the instruction says, ‘write no more than three words’, then you must not write more than three words. Sometimes you will be asked to circle three answers. In that case, you should do just that. If you circle two answers, your answer will be marked as wrong. You must read the instructions given for each question because it may change from the previous one.

Learn to interpret charts, graphs, bar charts, pie charts etc. These often appear as part of the answer choices in the fourth section. If you have difficulty interpreting them, you will not be able to score well.

Answer all questions because there is no negative marking for wrong answers.

At some IELTS test centers you will be given cordless headphones to listen to the recording. Remember that listening to the tape over headphones can feel very different from listening to it over speakers. Check with British Council if you will be using headphones at the time of registering for the test itself.

Stay attentive throughout the 30 minutes the listening test lasts. In sections 1 and 3 you will usually hear dialogues. Sections 2 and 4 are usually monologues.

At the beginning of each section, time is provided to read the questions pertaining to that section. The voice on the tape may also ask you to underline keywords in each question like ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’ and ‘what’. That usually gives you an idea what to listen for.

The speakers often correct themselves. They may say something initially and then change that statement. Watch out for this and make sure that you give the correct answer.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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