Ten Top Tips for IELTS Listening

Here are our Ten Top Tips for the Listening Test. If you like the tip, please click on the link after the tip and leave a comment.

We'd love to hear your ideas - if you have any favourite tips you'd like to share, write them in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

1. Try to predict the answer by reading the questions before listening – you will be given time for this as before you hear the recording you are allowed some time to read through the questions. 

2. While reading through the questions, think about what kind of information you need to listen for and underline keywords. Decide if you’re listening for a name, an address, a price or a phone number.

3. If you miss an answer, don’t panic – stay focused on the test and listen for the next answer. Missing one answer will not have a big impact on your overall score.

4. Sometimes speakers correct themselves when talking so focus on the whole conversation - don’t rush to write down the first thing you hear but listen carefully to everything that is said. Here are some examples.

5. Some tasks require you to fill in a table – look at the table carefully to identify clues as to what type of information you are listening for. This can include times, prices or days of the week.

6. If you don’t know the answer, have a guess – especially for multiple choice questions. You will score nothing if you leave a blank space on the answer sheet.

7. Pay attention to the word limit. For example, if the instructions say ‘write no more than two words’ then make sure to follow them and only wirte one or two words.

8. Correct spelling is important – you’ll lose marks if your spelling is not accurate. Be careful with the spelling of common items such as days of the week and months of the year.

9. Practise reading, writing and listening at the same time as much as possible before you take the test. Use practice tests or look for practice materials online.

10. Remember to transfer your responses to the answer sheet – you have ten minutes at the end to do this. You will only be given marks for what you have written on the answer sheet, the question booklets are not checked.

Remember, We'd love to hear from you - which tip do you think is the most useful? Do you have any other tips you'd like to share - add a comment below.

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