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How to Ace Your IELTS Listening Scores- A Comprehensive Guide

Apr 24, 2023

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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely accepted and recognized tests for assessing a person's level of proficiency in the English language, especially for higher studies abroad. The test comprises of four main sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each section is designed to evaluate a specific aspect of a candidate's language skills, and together, they provide a comprehensive assessment of the candidate's overall English proficiency.

Listening is an essential component of all the sections that can significantly contribute to achieving a high band score. Acing this section requires thorough practice and developing critical skills like active listening, understanding varied accents and context clues, etc. 

In this blog post, we will discuss all aspects of IELTS Listening, including tips and strategies on how to master it and achieve desired results. 

We'll discuss why understanding the structure and format of the IELTS Listening Test is essential to ace your IELTS scores. We will also cover practical tips for success in this area, such as strategies for practicing different types of questions and improving your overall score. Following these guidelines makes learners feel more secure in handling this assessment confidently and efficiently.

Let's dive right in!

IELTS Listening Test: Format and Structure Explained

The IELTS Listening Test is a standardized assessment taken by both academic and general training students. All candidates take the same test, which is marked using the same criteria. The test consists of 40 questions divided into four sections, with each section increasing in difficulty as the test progresses. The entire listening test takes 40 minutes to complete, including the time allocated for transferring answers.

Section Breakdown:

  1. Section 1 features a conversation between two speakers, often conducted over the phone. Common scenarios include arranging a course, reserving a restaurant table, or renting an apartment. Candidates must listen for specific details such as names, dates, times, places, and numbers.
  2. Section 2 comprises a monologue, usually by a guide, providing information about a particular subject, such as a building, resort, company, or charity.
  3. Section 3 involves an academic discussion with three or four speakers. This could be a conversation between two students and a professor, or a student presenting their research to peers.
  4. Section 4 contains a single-speaker academic lecture.

Time Allocation:

  • Candidates are given 30 minutes to listen to the recording and note down their answers on the question paper.
  • An additional 10 minutes are provided to transfer answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.

As an international test, the IELTS Listening Test may feature a variety of accents, with British and Australian accents being the most prevalent. Both British and American English spelling are accepted in the test.

IELTS Listening Question Types

In the IELTS Listening test, you will encounter various question types that assess your ability to understand spoken English. Familiarizing yourself with these question types will help you be better prepared for the test. Here are the different types of questions you might encounter:

1. Form completion

2. Note completion

3. Summary completion

4. Sentence completion

5. Multiple choice

6. Diagram labelling

7. Map labelling

8. Table completion

9. form chart

Time Allotted for Answering

The following details will help you understand why you need to keep track of time for IELTS Listening section.

  • An estimated 30 minutes are allotted for the IELTS Listening section of the exam.
  • Time management is essential. You will have time to review each section's questions before the recording begins, as well as time in the end to review your answers. 
  • You will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the accompanying answer sheet in the after. (Kindly note, that this is only for the Paper Based test & for Online Based Test the transfer time is 2 minutes only)
  • There will be four distinct sections of this exam. The questions will become progressively more challenging as you get further into the test.
  • The test consists of a total of 40 questions. Each question’s value is 1. 
  • You'll have 10 minutes to copy your answers into the accompanying answer sheet when the test is over.
  • It's important to note that the Listening test is the same for both General Training and Academic IELTS students.

Now that you know everything about the test, it is essential you pay attention to review, revise and practice as much as you can for the listening test. Let’s now look at how with simple steps you can do it. 

Tips to Score Well

Let’s check out a few tips and suggestions to consider and implement as offered by veteran IELTS faculty at KC Overseas Education, one of the best IELTS coaching centres in India and South Asia. 

  • Get used to Different Accents - The IELTS Listening test features accents from various English-speaking countries, so it's essential to familiarize yourself with them. Try listening to regional radio stations or watching TV shows from different countries.
  • Practice Active Listening - Practice active listening by setting small tasks while you're listening. Regular practice will help you to stay focused as it can be challenging to stay concentrated during the test.
  • Follow Instructions Closely - Pay attention to the word limit in the questions. If the question says "No more than three words," you must answer within that limit.
  • Understand Different Question Types: Familiarize yourself with the questions by taking practice tests.
  • Practice listening to things only once - To simulate the actual test, practice listening to recordings only once. This will help you get used to the pressure of the test day.
  1. Listen to the entire listening practice test first without pausing.
  2. Take note of any unfamiliar vocabulary or phrases that you come across.
  3. Listen to the test again, but this time, pause after each question to allow yourself time to think and answer.
  4. Check your answers against the provided answer key.
  5. Review any questions that you got wrong and try to understand why you made the mistake.
  6. Practice similar questions and listening exercises to improve your skills.
  7. Repeat this process for all the practice tests you have.

Additionally, research has shown that students who talk out loud while completing listening exercises tend to do better than those who remain silent during testing - so make sure you practice speaking your answers too! Another strategy that may help you understand the test more efficiently would be to take advantage of available online resources such as video lessons and tutorials, where experienced teachers explain each exam part in detail and offer valuable strategies to approach it. Finally, try to stay calm; focus on gradually building up your listening skills over time rather than cramming everything into one sitting - taking plenty of breaks will also significantly benefit your progress.

Another way to hit the bull’s eye and strengthen your score for the listening test is to practice the different question types of the test. 

In conclusion, achieving a band score of 9 in the IELTS Listening Section is possible. It requires clear focus, effective preparation strategies, and persistent practice. With the correct guidance, preparation through IELTS online classes or offline classes and hard work, you can achieve your desired IELTS score.

KC Overseas one of the fastest growing edtech companies in India offers online and offline coaching that hone your skills for a better IELTS score! You can contact us today to get your study plan sorted out by experienced professionals!

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