Listening tips from IELTS high scorer (Band 8.0)

Some time ago Vasco Medeiros, our previous IELTS results competition winner, had sent me his best tips and methods he used in his preparation. In other words, these are the techniques responsible for his Band 8.0 in IELTS, and you, too, can benefit from them.

Today I am publishing the first portion of Vasco’s tips (the Listening part) and the other 3 parts (Reading, Writing and Speaking) will follow.

Vasco says:

“I am happy to share some thoughts and advice with those of you preparing for IELTS. By taking this exam you are investing in your future career/studies, which is why I want to personally congratulate you. You want to succeed and are willing to pay for it. And this exam will open many doors.

Please realize that your level of English is already good. It has to be. If you are reading this blog and understanding our tips then you already have some background knowledge of English that you can, therefore, develop further every day.

Listening tips

Remember: all the answers are given in the recording so concentration is the key. Stay focused! Don’t allow your attention to wander for even a second! Practice a lot with the CD’s / audio files included with your IELTS book.

After you have completed a listening section and answered the questions, you can listen to it again while reading the script, thus activating both your listening and visual senses simultaneously. Do this not only to check whether you’ve got those answers right (in the exam you only get to listen to the recording once), but to become further aware of the pronunciation and rhythm of spoken sentences, while looking at them printed. We learn best by activating many senses simultaneously (visual and auditory in this case).

Listening to audio books in English, or other high-quality audio recorded by native speakers also trains your listening skills. A good technique to develop concentration is to listen to a sentence or so and then hit the ‘pause’ button, then repeat aloud what the speaker just said. You don’t have to say exactly the same words, instead focus more on the meaning and pronunciation. Then progressively increase the amount of sentences you can listen to and repeat aloud. This is a great way to enhance your concentration that is vital for the Listening section in IELTS.”

IELTS Speaking test in Vietnam – October 2010

The following speaking questions were shared by H who took his IELTS exam in Vietnam:

Speaking test


– Where is your hometown?
– What do you think your hometown is famous for?
– Did you learn about your hometown’s history in school?
– Do you think that people learn history in school?
– When was the last time you went to a place where people go to dance in your country?
– Do you like dancing?
– Have you ever learned dancing?
– Why do you think people love to dance?
– How many languages do you speak?
– What languages do you want to study in the future?
– Why do you want to study a foreign language?

Cue Card

Describe the last time when you were last late for an important appointment. Please say
– When did it happen?
– What was the meeting for?
– Why were you late?
– Explain the results of being late for that meeting.


– Are you angry with people who are late?
– Do you think that people have less free time today than in the past? Why?
– Do you think that the quality of living is increasing? How?
– Today people use machinery to automate everything, is it good or bad?
– How does modern technology help to save time?
– Do you agree that people should let machinery do everything?



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