These 10 IELTS Listening Tips provide you with essential strategies to help you get the score you need in the exam.

1. Predict the topic– it helps you to listen if you know what kind of conversation is taking place so you can picture it in your head. So look through each section in the time you are given and make sure you have an idea of who is speaking to who and what the context is.

2. Predict the questions– you should also try and have an idea of what kind of information you are listening out for. For example, in section one you often have to listen for names, numbers and addresses. Have a look at the questions in the time you are given and work out what needs to go in the space. A name? Number? An address? You are more likely to catch it then when the answer arises.

3. Use a minute to look through each section – you are given 30 seconds at the end of each section to check your answers. You are then told to turn over and look at the next section for 30 seconds. Although some IELTS listening tips will tell you to check what you have written, there is little you can check for the previous section as you can’t hear the listening again. So instead, turn straight to the next section. You will then have one minute (instead of 30 seconds) to look through the next section. This is time better spent.

4. Careful with question order – often you have a table to complete, and sometimes a diagram or chart. The questions will not necessarily go from left to right, so check the progression carefully otherwise you will get lost and confused.

5. Look at two questions at once – there are two reasons for doing this. Firstly, some questions may have the answers close together in one sentence so you could miss one if you only look at one question at a time. Also, it is possible that you will miss an answer – if you are just looking at one, you may not know that you missed it. If you are also looking at the next, you’ll see that it has moved on.

6. Move on if you miss an answer – if you do realise you have missed an answer, quickly forget about it and concentrate on the next ones. There is nothing you can do, and you can also guess when you transfer your answers to the answer sheet at the end. The same applies if you realise you missed two or three answers. Don’t panic and just move on as there is nothing you can do. A few questions missed may not necessarily affect your band score.

7. Watch others if you’re completely lost – if you completely lose where you are, then watch when the other candidates turn over their exam papers. You’ll know then that you are back in the right place.

8. Look out for paraphrasing– remember that what you hear will most likely not be exactly the same as is written on the exam paper as that would be too easy. The question and the question stems use such things as synonyms so you must listen carefully for these.

9. Ignore words you don’t know– don’t worry or panic if you hear a word that you do not know. It may not be necessary to know it anyway, or you can take a guess.

10.Underline key words– when you look through the questions first, particularly in the more difficult parts 3 and 4, underline key words (such as names, places and dates) in the question stems to help you hear the answer. Remember though, as explained above, synonyms are often used.

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