free IELTS Test help

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Listening TIPS

IELTS Tips by (Dr Vivek)
IELTS Downloads

With thanks to Dr Vivek, you can directly ask 
Dr Vivek your questions / confusions by posting at
AIPPG IELTS FORUMS IELTS - Tips for the Listening test

Answer all questions. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.

Read the How to prepare for IELTS - Listening test manual at the Hong Kong City University site to familiarize yourself with the test, the types of questions that are asked and strategies for answering them.

To get an idea of how this kind of test is conducted, you can try doing the practice tests at Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab . The accent is American so it does not approximate the actual test very well. Still, it is useful practice for this type of test.

Practise doing the 4 listening tests in the book -- Cambridge IELTS 3. It helps a lot. It is the closest you can get to the actual test.

At the center where I did the test, each of us was given cordless headphones to listen to the recording. This feels very different from listening to the conversation over speakers. Check with the British Council at the time of registering for IELTS if these will be used for your test. If yes, it might be a good idea to do the practice tests at home using headphones.

Keep all your attention focused for the half hour or so that the test lasts. A lapse of concentration can make you lose the sequence of answers and panic sets in fast.

The test consists of four sections. Sections 1 and 3 are dialogues and sections 2 and 4 are monologues. There are 40 questions to be answered and the test lasts for 30 minutes. Ten minutes are provided at the end of the test to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Pay special attention to the dialogues sections (Sections 1 and 3). I found it more difficult to focus on these and the conversation tends to be faster than a monologue (Sections 2 and 4).

At the beginning of each section of the recording, time is provided to read the questions. Use this time to read the questions pertaining to that section (the voice on the tape tells you how many questions to read ) and underline key words in each question on the question booklet like "when", "where", "who" and "what" which tell you what to listen for. Time is also provided at the end of each section to check your answers. Use this time also to read the questions for the next section.

Read the questions carefully. If the question says mark the answer as A, B, C or D on the answer sheet, make sure you don't write the phrase that A, B, C or D correspond to. Just write A, B, C or D. If the question specifies that you must not use more than three words in your answer, writing 4 words will get you no marks for that question.

The answers usually appear in the conversation in the same order as the questions.

The speakers often correct themselves. They will say something initially and then change the statement. For example, "we will go in March" is said first and then "No, let's make it May". The correct answer is the final statement i,e. May and not March. Watch out for this and make sure you write the final correct answer.

If you miss an answer, don't panic. Keep listening for the next answer.

Write your answer immediately on the question sheet itself. Don't try to memorize the answers or to write on the answer sheet. The ten minutes provided at the end of the test are quite sufficient to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.


IELTS Home Page ,Disclaimer / terms of use

All rights reserved world wide 2001-2005