Welcome to IELTS Success Formula Challenge Day 2. If you’ve just joined IELTS-Blog today, read about the Challenge here.
Today we’re going to solve the problem that Laura P, a pharmacist from Spain, is battling with:
“I took the IELTS test about half a year ago and I got Band 6, which is OK, but not enough for my purpose. I am a pharmacist moving to the UK soon and I need to score Band 7 at least in order to have a proper job opening there.
I have been studying English really seriously for four years already at the Languages State School and I have made good progress, but not enough to reach Band 7. So, I feel stuck and frustrated because even though I have been devoting time to the task, it seems I will never reach the required proficiency level.
I have trouble with all IELTS skills, but what I particularly find tough is the Listening part. I just cannot cope with listening just once and writing down the information simultaneously. I train my ear totally by watching films and doing listening exercises, but I am still having trouble to get the right information after listening just once, even if I try to focus on which type of data is required.”
How IELTS Success Formula can solve Laura’s Listening problem
Firstly, writing while listening is an ability one needs to develop. You can use any opportunity to practice – a talk show on the radio, a podcast, a listening exercise you found online, etc. Just listen and make notes on a piece of paper of the most important things that you hear. You can use shorthand writing (such as writing “doc. ord.” instead of “doctor’s orders” for speed, as long as you can decipher your writing afterwards.
Secondly, in the IELTS Listening sub test you need to know what you’re listening for. So you need to look ONLY at a small group of questions at a time (not all the questions in the section), as instructed by the recording. For example the recording says “Now look at questions 7 to 10”, so that means you need to quickly read only questions 7 to 10, but not any further. By doing that you are focusing just on the necessary information, you are not getting distracted by other things that aren’t important in the following fragment of the recording.
Thirdly, you need know question types really, really well. Pages 3 to 6 in IELTS Success Formula (click here to see) show you the question types and give you an example of each question type, which is good to get started; they also direct you towards which Fitness Activities you should do to practice in answering that particular question type. By studying all the question types you will know in what form the answer will come, and it will be easier to recognize it on the recording.
Another thing to keep in mind is that details you hear on the recording are there for a reason. Quoting from IELTS Success Formula,
“Any specific information mentioned on a recording, such as names, phone numbers, dates, opening hours, locations, years, colors is usually mentioned for a reason. It is very likely that such details are contained in the answer.”
But what to do if you can’t see which question this would be relevant to? Quickly write those details down in the Listening booklet. After the recording has finished, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the booklet to the answer sheet, and during that time you can match some of unanswered questions with the details you wrote down during the test.
One more hint that helps with IELTS listening is – you don’t need to rewrite or rephrase what you hear when answering a question. Write exactly what you hear, when you hear an answer. Don’t look for a synonym or change the word’s form, don’t lose time doing that, it’s the wrong thing to do.
To get more Listening tips, visit the IELTS Success Formula webpage and download a free trial copy (scroll down a bit and look for the download link).