25 IELTS Listening Tips for Band 7+

Before you listen, look at the information you have been given to complete. Predicting the kind of answers you need will help you to focus on what you are going to hear.

It’s easy to confuse certain numbers that sound similar, for example: fifteen and fifty. Listen very carefully to hear which part of the word is spoken with more emphasis.

You will be expected to know the spellings of common words and names. Any usual names will be spelt out for you. An answer spelt wrongly will be marked incorrect, so get plenty of practice before the exam.

When you complete a form, it is important to keep to the required number of words for each answer. You will be told how many words to use, e.g. NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER. If you write too many words, your answer will be marked incorrect.
A hyphenated word counts as one word, e.g. mother-in-law. A number can be written in letters or numbers, e.g. twelve or 72; either way, it counts as one word.

During the exam, listen very carefully and don’t presume the first information you hear is always correct. Sometimes the speaker can change his/her mind and correct the information given.

In some tasks in the IELTS exam, the information that you read in the question will be expressed in different words in the audio. So you will need to listen out for synonyms and paraphrasing. You will be able to practise this skill throughout this book.

When you have to complete notes about the stages in a process, for example to complete a flow chart, it will help you to listen carefully for words that indicate the order of the different parts of the procedure, such as first, then, after that and at the end.

When you are asked to do a completion task, you may be told to use words from the recording. If this is the case, you may have to om it unimportant words, like a or the to keep to the word count.

In some tasks you will be asked to choose several correct answers from a list. Always read the options before you listen to the recording. After listening, you will be able to eliminate the incorrect ones. Make sure you choose the required number of answer options.

PART 3, In this type of question, where there are several speakers, it is useful to identify them as early as possible. Listen carefully and write their names on the exam paper, leaving enough room to make a note of any opinions too.

Remember to read all the answers carefully before you listen to the recording. When you have to choose more than one correct answer, it may help you to cross out the wrong answers as you listen.

Before you listen to each part of the lecture in Section Four read the questions carefully and underline the key words. This will give you some information about the topic in advance and help you focus on the main ideas while you are listening.

When you have identified the key words / main ideas in the questions, listen carefully for more detailed information. While you listen, use any headings on the question sheet to guide you, and pay close attention to the key words.

In some questions you may be asked to label a map or a plan. You will always hear the information in the same order as the numbered questions. Before you listen, look at the plan on the question paper and pay attention to the information you have been given.
This will help you to focus on the context and predict what you may hear.

As you are reading through the questions before starting the Listening test, you will be identifying key words in order to predict what you are going to hear. As you do this, try to think of synonyms for the key words. Paraphrasing is very common in the IELTS
Listening test, so it is very important that you practise this skill.

Be careful not to confuse adjectives w ith adverbs:
Adjectives tell us more about nouns. They come before the noun.
Amira is a confident speaker.
Adverbs tell us more about verbs. They usually come after the verb.
Amira spoke confidently about her project on cultural exchanges.
Adverbs can also tell us more about adjectives.
Amira is an exceptionally confident speaker.

When you are listening to a recording of several people talking, try to make a note of
the names of the speakers when you hear them for the first time. It might help you to
write just their initials and whether they are male or female.
For example: A / f (Amira – female) or D /m ( Dave – male)

If you don’t hear the answer to a question and you are unable to answer it, don’t waste time worrying about it. Go on and listen for the answer to the next question. At the end, go back and try to guess the answers that you missed. You might be able to get an extra point or two. If you leave them blank, you definitely won’t get a point!

Knowing that a word belongs to a group of words will make it easier for you to predict what you are going to hear in the recording. For example, if you know that stamp collecting is a hobby, you will be ready to listen for other words connected with hobbies.

Some words can be confused because two letters may sound similar, for example: p and b, I and r. If you find these tricky, make sure you get plenty of practice before the exam.

Capital letters are part of spelling. You will lose marks in the exam if you do not use capital letters correctly. You should use capitals for:
• the names of countries, towns and cities
• the names of nationalities, religions and languages
• months and days of the week
• the names of institutions and organizations

If you don’t know the meaning of a word, don’t worry. Focus on the words around it. They will give you an idea of the topic and the situation and will help you decide whether it is a key word. If it is important, try to guess the meaning from the situation. If it isn’t, don’t waste any time.

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