IELTS Listening: What Else Can I Do?

Of the four IELTS modules, people generally agree that IELTS Listening is the easiest one. Unlike the three other modules, Listening does not require much critical thinking. You just have to understand what is said and answer the questions. It is similar to listening for key information from a TV program, lecture at school, or office meeting.

However, the question is, Are you familiar enough with the English language to pick up the details? Although not much critical thinking is needed, IELTS still tries to trick test takers by rephrasing words and jumbling things up a bit to confuse them. But they are unable to make it as challenging as IELTS Reading because test takers cannot listen again to the recording, unlike Reading, where test takers can go back to the text.
But if you have been having trouble with Listening, read on to pick up a few more tips to help.

1. Keep practicing

Let us start with the obvious in case someone thinks they can easily get the score they want without trying an IELTS Listening test. Just like other exams, it helps to be familiar with the IELTS before taking it, especially since the test is costly. So you should try a few practice tests before sitting the exam.

Sometimes it is not the audio that is the problem but your test-taking skills, as you might be someone who has not taken a test in a long time. The different instructions, method of marking the answer sheet, and even how the test moves from question to question can throw off native speakers. So try some Listening practice tests before filing for the exam.

2. Watch lots of TV

As earlier stated, Listening does not require critical thinking, so high school students can score much higher than professionals simply because they watch a lot of English language programs.

If IELTS Listening has been bothering you, start watching more TV, such as news programs, talk shows, sitcoms, and drama. However, if you have limited time to practice, avoid TV shows connected to your expertise because you might be able to guess what is going on even if you do not fully understand what was said.

3. Drop the subtitles and visuals

If you are quite new to the English language, it might make sense to keep the subtitles on so you can understand what is happening. But if you always do this, it will take you a long time to master Listening. For those who need to take the test soon, start watching these shows without subtitles to gauge your ability to comprehend the dialogue.

A more advanced step is to listen to a podcast or a news program without any visuals. If you can understand what is going on without seeing the screen, it means your listening skills have improved.

4. Try different accents 

Since the accents used in the Listening test can vary, you should also try watching programs that use these accents. The main English-speaking countries are five, but a good understanding of American, British, and Australian accents should cover what you need for the test.

While you can do this by choosing comedies and dramas, selecting a particular show of interest can be tedious since not all shows are as good as advertised, and you will not be motivated to finish a show you do not like.
But a faster way to test your understanding of these accents is to watch news programs instead. Although you might not like all the news stories, the topics will at least change, allowing you to test both accent and vocabulary while remaining more focused than if you selected a boring TV show you do not want to finish.

Our computer based practice test has a mix of accents to practice.

5. Watch English movies for fun

Lastly, to ensure you are regularly immersed in the English language, opt for English movies rather than local movies during your spare time.

Please note that “movies” were not included in the abovementioned tips because the IELTS Listening module is more similar to listening to a lecture, news program, or TV dialogue. The test is talk, talk, talk, whereas a movie may have several minutes of action or scenic shots.

So if you do choose to supplement your English learning experience with a movie, do it more for fun than as a last resort to improve your IELTS score.

Wrapping it up

Even if IELTS Listening is the general favourite of most people, it can be tough if you have not been regularly watching English TV programs. So take note of the given tips and start listening soon. 

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