How to practice IELTS listening effectively?

Practice listening to English IELTS hard, track your results and improve your performance. For the reading and listening sections, take practice tests to see where you're losing points. Practice tests will show you areas of English where you are not good. Initially, focus on improving your weaknesses before moving in a new direction!

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Tips for effective IELTS listening practice

+ Try to answer all the questions. You should take the test multiple times to have a careful schedule. This is to avoid wasting time on a question you don't know - take a guess and move on.


+ Pay attention to the plural and singular in the answer. If the question asks for a plural answer and you answer in the singular, the answer will still be incorrect.

+ The question you hear may still not be the actual answer. This usually happens when two people are making plans. They first agree to meet at a particular time but then one remembers they can't so they decide on a new time.

+ Be careful when you transfer answers and pay attention to the word limit for explanations on the answer sheet!

+ Multiple choice answers will require a letter (a, b, c, d). Write the letter, not the corresponding answer.

+ When asked to use no more than two words to complete a sentence and the correct answer is “leather coat”, the wrong answer is “a coat made of leather”. Same for numbers.

+ Hyphenated words (like “part-time”) are treated as one word.

+ “1990” is considered a number.

+ Focus on what the speaker is saying, not how they say it.


+ Don't take notes in complete sentences - write down key points and abbreviations. You just need to write it down on paper enough for reference and find the answer.

+ Get in the habit of distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary information. For example, if two people are talking about planning a dinner date, the key information is the last date/time they met. The other dates/times they are talking about are irrelevant.

+ Try to guess what the speaker will say. Speakers will often skip word suggestions or outline what they are going to say, but with your IELTS listening experience, you should be able to guess what part of the story will be.

+ Listen, take notes and improve note-taking skills.

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The IELTS listening test is designed to assess how well you can:

+ Understand both main ideas and details

+ Take note of the speaker's opinions and attitudes

+ Follow the development of the story

Structure of the IELTS listening test

The Academic IELTS and General IELTS Listening tests are similar in structure and scoring.

+ You will listen to four different recordings and then answer 10 questions for each (40 questions in total)

+ You will only listen to each recording once.

+ You have 40 minutes for all four sections. 30 minutes to listen to the recording and write your answers. 10 minutes to transfer these to the answer sheet.

The four possible recordings include:


- Recording 1 is two people talking daily. They might plan the weekend or discuss where to have dinner that evening.

- Audio recording 2 is a monologue (one person speaking) about an everyday situation. It can be a speech or a talk about planning something.

- Recording 3 is an academic conversation between up to 4 people.

- Recording 4 is a monologue on an academic subject.

Recordings can include a variety of accents, possibly American English and Australian English, so try to get familiar with these accents. In this recording, we can hear a judge speaking with a Scottish accent.

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