How to Improve Your Listening Score

Spelling mistakes

Many students, even those with a good level of English, make mistakes in Section 1 on the listening test. Often these are either spelling mistakes or mistakes with numbers.

When it comes to spelling, some students confuse ‘a’ and ‘e’, ‘i’ and ‘y’, ‘w’ and ‘u’, ‘s’ and ‘c’ and others. Some might consistently get ‘w’ wrong when it is followed by a vowel. No matter which spelling mistake you have you can follow some simple steps to get your spelling right.

1) Identify the problem.
You need to analyse your spelling mistakes and understand which letters or letter combinations are problematic for you. Until you find out which exact letters you confuse, you won’t be able to eradicate the problem. In order to do this, take a few past tests and analyse your mistakes. Try to see the patterns in your mistakes to identify the problematic letter combinations.

2) Remove the problem.
Once you have identified your problem, you need to work on it. One of the best ways to improve spelling is by practicing spelling. For this, you will need a friend, who is good at spelling, and any reading text. Ask your friend to listen to your spelling and correct you when you spell any letters wrongly. Take any reading text (you can take this piece of advice) and start spelling it until you get all the letters right. For example, try spelling the text below

M-a-n-y s-t-u-d-e-n-t-s, e-v-e-n w-i-t-h-a-g-o-o-d l-e-v-e-l o-f E-n-g-l-i-s-h, m-a-k-e m-i-s-t-a-k-e-s i-n S-e-c-t-i-o-n 1 o-n t-h-e l-i-s-t-e-n-i-n-g t-e-s-t. O-f-t-e-n t-h-e-s-e a-r-e e-i-t-h-e-r s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g m-i-s-t-a-k-e-s o-r m-i-s-t-a-k-e-s w-i-t-h n-u-m-b-e-r-s.

For most students it will take a couple of paragraphs to spell, for others it might be a bit longer but what is common for everyone is that this simple practice works.

3) Test your spelling
Before testing your improved spelling, ask your friend to dictate a few English or foreign proper names to you. There are a few examples you can you for your spelling dictation but remember that you can always google more names in the internet.



Simon Smith                           Euan Foster

Ann Watson                           Giles Fernandes

Alfie Blacksmith                     Hamish Branson

Conall Sevieur                       Bryony Coleman

See more ideas on how to improve your spelling here.  

Dealing with multiple choice questions

Multiple questions are those where you need to choose the correct answer A), B), C) or D). Many students complain that they have mistakes in this type of questions because the speaker often mentions all the options, so they do not know which one to choose. Indeed the speakers would deliberately confuse you by mentioning many (if not all of the given possible) answers. And this is done because the wrong options are called distractors. In other words they are there to distract you from the correct answer but there is a way to help you hear the right answers. Read the advice below to help you improve on multiple choice questions in listening.

1) Read the question carefully.
It is very important that you read the question very attentively and either underline the key words or fix them in your mind because the key words will help you choose the right answer to the question.

2) Read the given options.
Look through the options to prepare yourself for the task. Read all the questions and as many options as possible but do not get disappointed if you couldn’t read all of the options as it can be quite a lot to read and process within a few seconds that you are given to prepare.

3) Keep the key words in the questions in your attention
When you listen to the conversation or a talk, keep the question in your eyesight, especially the key words. Sometimes you won’t be able to read all the options that are given. In this case try listening to the conversation/talk first, keeping in mind the key words and choose the correct answer later. The main thing here is that you understand the question and what the person/people say. You can then come back to the options and make the right choice.



Getting summary completion tasks right

Some students find it difficult to do the summary completion task where they either do not hear the answer or get it wrong. If this is your case, please try the recommendations below.

1) Read the summary carefully.
It is absolutely vital that you read the summary attentively. When you read the summary, try fixing the key words (the words with a meaning, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs). You need to prepare as when you listen to the recording the key words will be your signal words i.e. after you hear the key word from the summary it will signal you that the speaker is going to give the answer now.

2) Check the grammatical accuracy
After you have written your answers it is important to check if the answer fits the sentence or phrase grammatically. In other words, if the sentence requires a noun or a noun phrase in the gap and you have written a verb, then this is incorrect. Often prepositions, conjunctions or an article help you understand if your answer is correct.

3) Move on
If for some reason you have not got the answer, move on. Do not get stuck as you might miss another question or questions.











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