IELTS advice from Band 9 achiever – Part 3, Listening tips.

After the general IELTS exam tips in part 1 and part 2, now it’s time we move on to some section-specific advice. Here are Debashis’ preparation tips for the Listening test.

Key points – you must be highly alert for this module. Watch out for questions that involve intentional deviations from the most obvious answer.

1. The key skill to master here is ATTENTIVENESS. You cannot allow your concentration to falter for even a second. I did not find time to practice this, and experienced momentary lapses on two occasions.

Four topics were played out to us, each with about 4 questions. I found that in each topic, I was alert for the first two questions but became distracted by the 3rd one. As soon as I realised this, I would snap into attention for the 4th question. Other students narrated similar tales of woe, so I would recommend being particularly vigilant about the 3rd question.

2. Another exam ploy is DEVIATION FROM THE MOST OBVIOUS ANSWER. For e.g., the CD may play “the new tap was placed on the top shelf”. If the question is “where is the kitchen tap?” with possible answers “kitchen sink, chair, shelf, car”, an inattentive brain may attract you to the obvious but incorrect answer of “kitchen sink”.

OVERALL – This exam is otherwise easy. Questions are read out in order of answers, so you do not need to search up and down. My attention faltered twice, both times on 3rd questions, and I filled these in from imperfect memory. I got grade 9, so I don’t know if I was lucky with those 2 questions, or they award a perfect grade even if you make an error or two.

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