Listening tips

How to prepare to IELTS Listening test, tips and techniques that really work

6 Tips to Instantly Lift Your Listening Score

The Listening test in IELTS can be tricky, for a number of reasons.

Some people have trouble following the recording and get lost, missing a number of questions in a row. Others look at the wrong question, at the wrong time, and miss their chance to answer it correctly. Then there are the distractors – answer options that are designed to trick you into thinking they are the correct answers. There isn’t enough time to read the questions before the recording starts playing. And as if all this wasn’t enough, people lose marks just because their ‘almost correct’ answers had too many words or spelling errors.

You know what… don’t stress over it.

Here is a video that shows you how to deal with all of these problems (and more!) to make sure you train yourself to avoid all the pitfalls and get a great score in Listening.

It’s just four minutes, but it can save you a lot of time and trouble – so give it your full attention and you will be glad you did.

After watching, visit our IELTS Online Prep platform and start practicing. It’s a great tool for your online practice sessions that comes with a generous free trial. The way our practice tests look and work is very similar to the real IELTS on Computer and IELTS Online tests, so you won’t have any surprises in your exam.

Sign up for free or log in with Google and see for yourself!

6 Easy Ways to Improve Your IELTS Listening Score

Achieving a fundamental improvement in Listening takes time, work and patience, there’s no doubt about that. But I find that people often overlook some quick steps they can take to significantly raise their IELTS score. And for some test takers, that increase in score is all they need! So, by all means work on your Listening skills, but do these steps first and see your score go up:

1. Watch your spelling!

Even if you heard the correct answer but misspelt it, you won’t get a mark for that answer. The easiest marks you can ever get in Listening is by watching your spelling. A ‘Commonly misspelled words’ list can help you learn the words you are most likely to misspell (you can find it here in free trial of ‘IELTS Success Formula’ book)

2. Learn to write while listening

Writing while listening is a skill that needs developing. If you have trouble with it, writing your answers at same same time as listening to the recording will feel a lot harder. Find out early whether or not you can write while listening, and develop/improve that ability by listening to any kind of lecture or talk, and making notes at the same time.

3. Read questions and try to predict answers

When you are given time at the beginning of every Listening section, go over the questions in that section, but don’t just read them – try to predict what kind of answer they require. It makes a big difference to your listening, when you know you are listening for a date, or a time, or a dish on the menu and so on.

4. Develop unbreakable concentration

From the moment the Listening recording starts playing, don’t let your mind wander. A single thought that takes you away from the recording can cost you an answer. All your attention should be on the recording, and you need to actively shut down any other thoughts. This takes practice, but you can easily do that at home – just put on a Listening test recording and practice ignoring any distractions for the next 25-30 minutes. You’d be surprised how good you can become at blocking things out!

5. Avoid getting stuck on a missed answer

If you followed suggestion #3 and predicted what kind of answer you’re listening for, you can recognise when the topic of conversation switches to another subject and realise you missed that answer. At that point in time you need to move on, read the next question, predict the answer type and start listening for it, to avoid a chain reaction causing you to lose multiple answers. Your worst case scenario here can be losing all the answers from the first one you missed and to the end of that section. But your best case scenario can be losing just ONE answer, quickly recovering and saving the situation.

6. Get familiar with accents commonly used in IELTS

IELTS Listening test recordings feature different accents: they use British, Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealand speakers, etc. You can’t afford to be in a situation where you are hearing one of these accents for the first time in your life during an actual IELTS exam, because the pronunciation of some words really differs from one accent to the other. You can and should expose yourself to these accents by doing Listening tests with them – such as these practice tests here.