Blog Students Exam Tips Essential Tips to Improve Your IELTS Listening Score

Essential Tips to Improve Your IELTS Listening Score

When it comes to taking the IELTS exam, every aspect of your proficiency in the language is tested: from how well you understand a written text to how well you understood the spoken passage.

The listening part of the IELTS exams is a tricky subject for some examinees because of the nature of the audio being used for the exam. Some questions are spoken with a different English accent, which some examinees may find hard to understand. There are also questions which are spoken swiftly, causing others to miss key points or mishear a certain word. Considering the uniqueness of every version of English out there, mistakes can indeed occur and it can prove detrimental to your scores.

Others also find it tricky to focus for this part of the exam because it must be done within 30 minutes and the audio is only repeated for a certain number of times. As a result, they would not be able to answer any of the questions they skipped.

If you are not very confident with your listening skills, there are ways to help you improve your listening score for IELTS.

Here are five tips we can share with you:

Read the instructions carefully

Just like any other exam, it is important that you read the instructions carefully before you answer the exam. For the IELTS listening exam, the instructions would give you an idea of what type of answers are being asked and the word usage used for a specific question. For example, if the instructions say that you only need to use 2 words in a certain question, you should not add another word. It will be a point off your score.

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The instructions may also tell you the rules they have for the audio playback. The instructions would clearly detail everything you need to know about the exam so you can focus better in the process.

Try predicting the topic

Before the exam begins, you can try predicting the topic of the conversation so you can have a clear idea on how the discussion would be like and how it would progress. You can also predict what type of questions will be asked based on the main topic provided so you can already devise your answers before the exam begins. Of course, when the exam begins, make sure to listen carefully to know who is speaking, what they are talking about and what context is being used.

To help you out with this part, you can try out the available IELTS listening reviewers online or on bookstores. You can also enroll yourself in an IELTS review center so you can have a grasp of how the listening exam would proceed.

Read the questions carefully and check their order

In order to keep examinees on their toes, the order of questions for any exam (IELTS included) can change. It would not always be straightforward and follow how the conversation took place. Sometimes, there would even be stray questions that you would never expect, like a diagram, chart or table. The questions may even be written from left to right so you need to check if you are answering the right question.

Try practicing the listening questions with a friend or a tutor so you can see if you can work under pressure and answer the questions. You can also use this time to learn a pattern on how you can listen carefully. You should also read into the different types of questions that may be used for the exam so you can have a grasp on how to answer them.

Do not focus on one question

It is a common mistake for many examinees for any type of exam to take a lot of time in one question even if they are on a time crunch. As a result, they lose a lot of time which they could have used for other questions and lose points on the ones they can answer easily. When you find yourself facing a difficult question, skip it and move on to the next one. You do not have to perfect this part of the test or answer all the questions since it may not affect your IELTS listening band score.

Just remember though, make sure to note which questions you will return to when you have the time to spare. You should also make some notes during the audio playback so you can look into it when answering the questions.

Mark the keywords

Questions hold many hints if you know where to look and what to look for. In the case of the IELTS listening test, these hints are present in the question. Usually, the hints from these questions can be seen in the third or fourth part of the question. When you reach this part of the question, mark the keywords since it will help you predict the possible answer for the question. Hints usually come in the form of names, dates, locations and other fun facts.

If you are uncertain about the keywords in the question, you can double check with the audio playback and listen in the conversation. You should also look behind the lines for hints since some of the hints may not be very obvious.

Final Remarks

Listening is a skill that can be difficult to master, but when it is mastered, it can bring in a lot of benefits. For takers of the IELTS exam, do not fear the listening section of the exam because there is a way to get past the challenges this part poses. With the tips, we listed above, you will be able to get through the listening section of the test easily.

Just remember, do not feel disheartened when you feel like you didn’t ace this part. Do your best in preparing up for the test and give it your all when you answer. Listening is not the only part you should practice for your IELTS test to prepare for the entire test! Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.