Text only  Print this page | E-mail this page| Add to favourites
British Council arnEnglish Professionals British Council LearnEnglish Professionals
LearnEnglish Professionals - IELTS
Tips for the IELTS Listening exam
IELTS Listening tips 1
Listen: Tips for the IELTS listening exam 1
IELTS Listening tips 2
Listen: More Tips for the IELTS listening exam
Top tips for IELTS Listenings
Part 1- Predicting

Do you find the IELTS listening exam more difficult than other listening exams you have done?  What makes it seem difficult?  It has the same format as other exams – filling in spaces, completing information, matching exercises, and a variety of accents.  So why does it seem more complicated?

The Listening exam has 4 parts, 40 questions and lasts 30 minutes.  You then have another ten minutes at the end of the exam to copy your answers onto the answer sheet provided.  Parts 1 and 2 concentrate on social needs or “survival English” – the kind of English you need on a regular basis if you are living in an English speaking country, for example asking for information or getting directions.  Parts 3 and 4 focus more on the topics of education or training.  You will hear a combination of dialogues between 2 or more people and monologues.  

One of the big differences between the IELTS listening test and other listening exams you may have done is that you only hear it once.  This doesn’t seem like a big problem until you have finished listening to it and have just realised you missed the crucial information and need to hear it again.

So, what can you do to overcome this problem?  Look at the following advice and practical examples.

1.  One of the key things you can do is make sure you read through the questions before you listen.  At the beginning of the test, and before each new part of the test you are given time to read the questions before you listen. This is extremely important as it gives you time to practise your prediction skills and understand what information they are asking for and helps you predict your answers.

Here’s a typical example of an IELTS listening exercise.  Which parts would you underline on a first reading to help you predict what information is needed in each question? Before you listen, decide what answers you think will go in each space.

IELTS-type Question 1

Click here to check your predictions.

How well did you predict the information you need?  Now try listening and see how well you do.  Listen to the text and complete the spaces.

2.  Reading the questions is obviously very important.  As you’ve just seen, it helps you predict the answers which, if you only hear a text once, is crucial to help you understand.  It’s also very important to read all instructions and questions to make sure that what you write fits into the spaces and that you write the appropriate number of words.

Click here to see a student’s answers to IELTS 1.  

How many answers do you think they got right?  Remember there are no half points, an answer is either right or wrong. Click here to check the answers and see if you were right.  

Now check again to see how many you got right yourself.  Click here for the correct answers.

Click here to continue with Part 2.

The United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland)
Our privacy and copyright statements.
Our commitment to freedom of information. Double-click for pop-up dictionary.

 Positive About Disabled People