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All About the IELTS Listening Test

The best listeners are actively involved in what they are hearing. This might be a discussion with a friend or a lecture at school. Have you ever spoken to a friend while daydreaming and then wondered, “Oh, what did he just say?”? You weren’t paying attention well! Additionally, this can occur during your IELTS Listening test.

The IELTS test begins in a manner similar to this:

You will hear a number of different recordings. And you will have to answer questions on what you hear. There will be time for you to read the instructions and the questions, and you will have a chance to check your work. All the recordings will be played once only. The test is in four sections. At the end of the test you will be given a chance to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.
(Note: The transfer time is not applicable to computer-delivered IELTS)

The challenge in the Listening section is you have to listen, read, and write during the test. What’s more, you only hear the recording once — if you miss it, it’s gone forever. It may all seem difficult but there are things you can do before and during the test to improve your performance.

Practice Good Notetaking:

Your first step should be to practise being an attentive listener because you only listen to the Listening audio once. Making thorough notes while watching or listening to audio is one method to put this into practise.

Consider Sir Ken Robinson’s TED lecture as an illustration. Take notes on the following inquiries while you watch. It is better to acquire more knowledge.

  • What piques Sir Ken’s “interest”?
  • What views does he have on kids?
  • What is it that he wants to cover in his speech?
  • He describes the tale of a young girl. She is doing what?
  • He describes his son’s journey. Whose son was in what play?

Look before you listen:

Take your time studying the questions. You have a designated period of time to read through the guidelines and questions. During this time, you can prepare yourself for the type of information you will be listening for.

What kind of information can you therefore anticipate hearing? Is it a name, a subject, a concept, or a conviction? What do you anticipate hearing? You can hear phrases like “I think…,” “I’m sure that..,” “It seems to me that..,” or “It’s my belief that..” while you are trying to figure out what he “believes” in. It’s crucial to listen for synonyms in addition to various phrases.

Common Problems People face:

This is a frequent observation made by students getting ready for the IELTS Listening test. Even though doing all of these things at once is difficult (particularly when the audio is only heard once), it is not impossible. The most crucial thing you can do is properly prepare; study the fundamentals of the listening test and expand on them. The opportunity to read the questions before listening is given to you during the IELTS listening test, usually with around 30 seconds to spare. You must make good use of your preparatory time.

The solution:

You can take the following steps now to get ready:

  • Find the key phrases in each query.
  • Words with meaning are referred to as keywords. You can use these to get a sense of what to listen for.
  • Consider alternative keywords
  • Once you’ve identified your keywords, consider synonyms, which are other phrases that have the same meaning. In the Listening test, keyword synonyms will frequently be used.
  • Determine the type of response you require.
  • Is it an adjective, a name, or a number? Consider possible responses to the questions. (You might believe that this is impossible, but try it anyway; you never know when your estimate will be accurate.)

Differences between paper based and computer based test

Different types of questions in the IELTS Listening test

  • Sentence Completion
  • Summary Completion
  • Note/Form Completion
  • Flowchart completion
  • Table Completion
  • Diagram Labelling
  • Multiple Choice
  • Choosing from a list
  • Matching features

Traps that the IELTS Listening has for each question type:

  • Paraphrasing for Sentence/Note Completion
  • Confusing options in MCQs/ Matching and Choosing from a list
  • Increased frequency of questions
  • Self-corrections in conversations
  • Certain pronunciations- for example- veil/whale, flow/ floor
  • Progress to the next question is abrupt sometimes that you miss it

Things you can do to overcome the traps:

  • Focus on the recording 100%, don’t miss out on a single word
  • Improve your reading speed, helps you with the confusing options in MCQs. Highlight your questions.
  • Understand the context of the recording by looking at the questions/ reading them in advance.
  • Notice the intonations- changes in the voice, stresses on certain words
  • Notice the repetitions, especially for MCQs.
  • For maps, read the information that is present, make correlations with the blanks

Watch this video to understand everything about the test format and the question types:

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