IELTS is one of those exams which you have to crack if you are planning to immigrate to any country where English is first language for communication. Many people who have finished their primary education from non-English schools have a great difficulty in getting a grip over English let alone giving exams and test is a farfetched goal. But everything is possible with a little bit of effort and making use of proper methods to cover each aspect of any given exam.
So in this threefold post on IELTS we will cover each section and discuss tips and methods which will help you crack each section with ease. So, let’s start with listening section!
Listening section in IELTS has a time constraint of 30 minutes. Within this 30-minute time slot you will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
- Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
- Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
- Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
- Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
Now it’s very important that you are completely focused while they are playing the recording. If due to some technical problem you feel that the voice doesn’t seem clear and understandable raise objection immediately, they will definitely respond positively and make sure you are comfortable with the task.
Now, imagine you are sitting in the hall. One by one we will go through some important tricks which will increase your chance of getting a great score.
- 1. Look for clues in the question
A frequent question type is completing a table; in this type of question you will often find clues to the answer by looking at the other information in the table. In particular, look at the headings of the rows and columns: if, for example, the heading says “equipment” and some of the completed boxes say “paperclips” and “cardboard” you have a good clue as to what you should be listening for.
2.Read the questions before you listen
Read the questions before you listen so that you know what you are listening for. It is a difficult skill to master, but it can sometimes help to try and predict the type of answer you are looking for: is it a name for instance or a number?
- Focus on the whole question and then look for the answers
A huge proportion of mistakes are made not because you haven’t listened well, but because you do not focus on the question. As you are listening focus on the precise wording of the question.
- Look at 2 questions at once
The real problem is that you may lose track of where you are in the listening and you are still listening for question 13 when the cassette has moved onto question 15.Try answering to 2 questions one after the other.
- Get used to shorthand writing
You have 10 minutes at the end to copy your answers onto the answer sheet. So what you need to do is to learn how to write down enough for you to recognise as you are listening so that you can write it out in full later. The one exception to this is in part 1 with numbers and names where you have to write everything out in full as you are listening – that is the challenge.
- Don’t write the answer too quickly
Sometimes you hear what you think is the answer, but the speaker goes on to correct themselves or give slightly different information so let the speaker finish the sentence don’t hurry.
- Listen for repeated information
This doesn’t always work, but sometimes the words that are the answer are repeated: if you need to make a guess choose the words you hear repeated, they could well the be answer.
- Don’t wait till the end
Sometimes candidates leave the writing part to the end, thinking that they will remember what they heard. In my experience, this almost never works: there’s a lot of information, you’re under stress and, most importantly, after each listening you should be moving onto the next set of questions to read them.
- Check Spelling and Grammar
Do not forget to check spelling and grammar before handing in your answer sheet, especially the plural and past forms of nouns and verbs. Although most students understand these rules but there is always possibility of a simple mistake in the test.
Now, speaking of practice before going in to the exam hall depends on what resources are available to you. You can watch English news channel and try to understand the minute details in their accent and how they pronounce particular words. Try watching movies with subtitles, or if you are not a big fan of English movies you can always listen to sample recordings on official website of IELTS. But remember the only way you get comfortable with any language is if you listen to it constantly and start having conversation with an actual person.
So we hope you have noted down each point carefully and are ready to crack the listening section, All the Best!