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How to Improve your Listening Skills in English

My advice for IELTS students is the following:

Develop a listening habit 

Choose the same time and same place everyday where you will practice listening. Even if you only do 10 minutes a day, if you can get into the habit, then you will gradually make the improvement you need over time. 

Listen to both shorter and longer listening texts

It’s important to analyse texts, doing intensive listening practice as mentioned above, but you also need to get used to listening to longer texts, as well as staying focussed for a longer period of time.

The IELTS listening test lasts 30 minutes (+ an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet), so you need to build your stamina and ability to stay focussed for a long time.

Listen to a one-minute listening passage 4 or 5 times

This repetition is really useful for building listening skills.

The first time you listen, you could listen, and make a note of, single words you recognise. The second time, try to see what words are used together with those words (what are the collocations). The third time, try to identify the general meaning of the whole passage and write ONE sentence to summarise it. The fourth time, listen for more details. The fifth time, listen for the mood or attitude of the speakers.

Transcribe short passages, 20 to 30 seconds long

Listen to a passage and write down everything your hear. This is really good old-fashioned dictation, but is very effective to identify meaning and sounds, especially if you go back and check the original script. For this reason it is good to use listening texts that have a transcript.

Two great tools for this are



Use Voice Typing 

This is a nice way to practice listening and pronunciation skills. On Google docs you can use the voice typing tool to say something and then the tool will automatically write what you say – if it understands you!

Practice listening only once.

Whereas it is good to listen to a passage many times to help build your listening skills, in the IELTS listening you only get to listen one time, so make sure in your practice, you are also listening to some texts just once.

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