IELTS Listening – Top 14 tips!

IELTS Listening – Top 14 tips!

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s lesson,
I am going to teach you my top tips for the IELTS listening module. Okay? So, before I teach you these tips, you might
be wondering: “What’s the IELTS listening module?” Well, the IELTS is a test and one
part of the test is listening. So, in the listening section, you’re going to have 40
questions where you’re going to listen to some conversations for about 30 minutes, and
then you’ll have 10 minutes to transfer your answers over to another sheet. So, in total,
it’s 40 minutes; 30 minutes for listening, 10 minutes for writing down your answers. Okay, now this part of the IELTS is very possible
to get a high mark, especially if you follow my tips. All right? Now, before we get started,
I just want to let you know: I know you can do the IELTS. I know you can pass, I know
you can get a great mark, a great bandwidth – you just have to have confidence in yourself
and you have to practice. Practice, practice, practice; it really pays off.
So let’s get started. So, my first tip: write no more than three words.
What do I mean by this? I don’t mean for the whole thing, write no more than three words.
On the IELTS, you will have to read the instruction of what to do. Often times,
the instruction, before you listen, you’re going to see: “Write no more than three words.”
This is an example of an instruction you must follow. One mistake a lot of students make
during the IELTS is they don’t read instructions properly. They’re nervous, they’re stressed
out, they write whatever, they don’t… They don’t follow the instructions. If you see
something like: “Write no more than three words.” Do that. You can’t write four, don’t write five.
Write three or less. Okay? So my main point here: follow
the instructions carefully. Point number two: get used to British English. A
large part of the IELTS, you will be listening… For… For… Sorry, for the listening, you
will be listening to British accents. Sometimes you might hear Australian accents or Canadian,
you might hear a range, but a lot of the accents will be British. So it’s very important to
get used to listening to British accents. And also, listen to other accents like Canadian,
Australian; that’s a good idea too. Where can you find British accents to listen to? I
recommend the BBC. They have a lot of great videos there and most of it’s with British
accents, so it’s a very good idea so you can practice listening. The more you practice
listening with British accents, the easier it will be to understand British speakers.
Especially if you’re used to American English, this is a very good thing to do. Related to this point: British vocab. You
should learn British vocabulary. For example: in American English and Canadian English, we say: “truck”.
In British English, we say: “lorry”. So it’s good to know some of these
British expressions, some British words. One idea where you can practice these is if you
check out our website:, we have a new teacher who is British and who
will be talking about British English, so check out her… Her videos. It will also be
good to help you with practicing listening to British accents. Number four: spelling counts. Okay? Very important.
The listening part of the IELTS is not just listening; you’re actually using other skills
like writing and reading. Now, with writing, when you write down your answers, you sometimes
have to spell something out, so you have to be very, very careful with spelling. Okay?
This is something you should really study and practice before you take the listening
part of the IELTS. Practice your spelling. Learn spelling rules. We have a lot of different
videos on how to spell on engVid, so I would come and check those ones out. Number five – this is the thing that always
gets my students and I always warn them about when we practice – plural versus singular. Okay?
You have to listen carefully on whether you’re writing down the plural with an “s”
or the singular. If the question wants me to write down: “cat”, someone’s talking about their
cat and I write down: “cats”, it’s incorrect. I would get an “X”. Okay, so it’s important to
be careful, to really listen: is it a singular thing, is it a plural thing? Are they
saying “store” or “stores”? Okay? Number six – this is probably the most obvious
tip, but – very important to do practice tests. There are many, many books out there on the
IELTS that have practice tests with a CD. You can listen and you can practice. The more
you do, the better, and the better your mark probably will be. Okay? So do as many practice
tests as you can for the listening. And again, maybe when you start, it will be very difficult.
Maybe you’ll do a test and you’ll do very poorly on it – a practice test – it’s good to keep going.
Even if you do bad at first, I’m sure the more you practice, the more you
get used to these accents – you’re going to do fine. Okay? Just keep practicing,
practicing, practicing. Number seven: prediction. It’s very important on the IELTS.
During the listening, at the end of each section, you have some time to
check your answers and to read the questions that are coming up. Very important that you look ahead.
Okay? Any time you have a chance to stop and to… to read ahead on the IELTS, the…
the listening part, it’s very important to do this. The reason is you can make a guess,
you can predict… It’s not exactly a guess, but you can predict what an answer is going
to be, and your chance of getting that answer right is going to go up. So, for example,
maybe this is one of the questions: “The woman will travel on __________.” Okay,
so I’m going to have to listen to the CD. Now, what I can do is in pencil, I can
just write in what I think it’s going to be. Well, I see the word: “travel”, “travel on”,
so maybe she’s travelling on a bus, or maybe a plane. Okay. Think of some… some things
she might be travelling on. And then you can just write quickly what your prediction is.
And then, when they actually play the… the tape, listen, see if your prediction was correct.
If it’s not, you can just write in the correct answer. But you’ll have a good chance of getting
the answer right. The listening goes very quickly so it’s very good to do this prediction
so you can prepare yourself. Know what they’re looking for. Okay.
Prediction, very important. Now, let’s learn some other tips to
succeed on this part of the test. Okay, my next tip is about predicting again.
But if you can’t predict the word – maybe there’s not enough information – at least you
can predict if they’re looking for a noun, adjective, adverb, or verb. Okay, so what’s
an example of this? I come over here. For the fill in the blank questions,
maybe it will say something like: “She has three __________.” Okay, she
has three, what? I have no idea; she could have three of anything. But what I
do know is this is going to be… What is it going to be? Is it going to be a verb? No.
Adjective? No. It’s going to be a noun. Keyword: “She has”, there’s already a verb
here, I know it’s going to be a noun. So that can help. Next tip. This is one of the challenging things
about the IELTS, you’re listening and writing at the same time. Okay? So, again, the listening
is not only a listening; it’s also listening, writing, reading, not speaking. So it’s important
that you practice these skills together. What you can do is you can maybe go on the BBC,
listen to what they’re saying, take notes. Get used to writing quickly while you’re listening.
I think this is one of the most important skills you can learn. Number 10 – this is the trick on the IELTS –
be aware of changes. Often times, they have a phone conversation in the listening and
somebody says something like: “Oh, the number, it’s 2078.” And so you write: “2078”. But
then they say: “Oh, no, wait. I’m sorry. It’s actually 4078.” So you have to be very careful
because often times, they will give information and then they will change it. They will say: “Oh, I’m sorry.
That’s the wrong information. It’s actually this number instead.” Okay. So
be aware of that. The first time you write something down, they might change it, so
keep your ear out for that; listen for that. Number 11. One thing to practice is listening
to groups of numbers. Maybe you’re good at listening to the number one, if I say: “five”,
“seven”, you understand that. But if I say a lot of numbers at the same time like: “My
phone number is 971-225” – it’s not this, by the way, so don’t call this number
– “1-877-43298″. Okay. I hope nobody has this number. But if I say something like that, were you able to
write down all those numbers?” All right? You’ve got to get used to listening to
large groups of numbers in sequence. Again, about the numbers because you often
have to listen to something about numbers in the IELTS. It’s also important to listen
for the difference between “13” and “30”, “14” and “40”, “15” and “50”, and so on. Okay?
So the trick here is: “13”, “teen” is usually louder, “thir” is quieter and shorter, versus:
“30” where “thir” is longer, “ty” is shorter. So get used to listening to these numbers so
you can actually hear the difference, because you might hear that on the IELTS. Number 13, this is also very important. Your
handwriting must be clear. All right? If they can’t read what you write, you’re not going
to get the marks for your answer. Even if it’s correct, if they can’t read it – that’s a problem.
So if you have bad handwriting, this is something you should work on. Practice writing.
Start off slow and then work on speed; get better and better and better, and faster at writing.
All right? So write well. Number 14, this is my last tip of the day. With…
Again, this is with spelling because it’s so important on the IELTS for the listening section.
One thing they often do is they’ll have somebody spell something out. So maybe they’ll…
Someone will be on the phone and they’ll say their last name. “My last name
is Tattoli.” Okay? And then they’ll spell it. “That’s T-a-t-t-o-l-i.” Now, one thing to
be careful of is often times they do these double lettering thing where when
they’re on the phone, they’ll say: “It’s T-a- double ‘t’-o-l-i.” This means there are two “t’s”.
So if you hear the word: “double”, “double ‘t'”, “double ‘m'”, “double ‘n'”. My name has
a double “m”. Be aware of that. It means you have to write down two of those.
All right? So I know you are going to do well on this test.
It’s… It’s… You can do it. It’s all a matter of practice, practice, practice.
All right? And just constantly practicing to improve. So you can do it, I know you can,
and you need to know you can do it. It’s very important to be confident in yourself. So, for a lot of extra language learning material,
you can come visit our website at Also, there’s another great website:
On our website, I will have a quiz to test you on some of these tips to see if you remember them.
So, until next time, take care.


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