IELTS Listening - Top 14 tips!


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's lesson, I am going to teach you my top tips for the

IELTS listening module. Okay?

So, before I teach you these tips, you might be wondering: "What's the IELTS listening

module?" Well, the IELTS is a test and one part of the test is listening. So, in the

listening section, you're going to have 40 questions where you're going to listen to

some conversations for about 30 minutes, and then you'll have 10 minutes to transfer your

answers over to another sheet. So, in total, it's 40 minutes; 30 minutes for listening,

10 minutes for writing down your answers.

Okay, now this part of the IELTS is very possible to get a high mark, especially if you follow

my tips. All right? Now, before we get started, I just want to let you know: I know you can

do the IELTS. I know you can pass, I know you can get a great mark, a great bandwidth

- you just have to have confidence in yourself and you have to practice. Practice, practice,

practice; it really pays off. So let's get started.

So, my first tip: write no more than three words. What do I mean by this? I don't mean

for the whole thing, write no more than three words. On the IELTS, you will have to read

the instruction of what to do. Often times, the instruction, before you listen, you're

going to see: "Write no more than three words." This is an example of an instruction you must

follow. One mistake a lot of students make during the IELTS is they don't read instructions

properly. They're nervous, they're stressed out, they write whatever, they don't... They

don't follow the instructions. If you see something like: "Write no more than three

words." Do that. You can't write four, don't write five. Write three or less. Okay? So

my main point here: follow the instructions carefully.

Point number two: get used to British English. A large part of the IELTS, you will be listening...

For... For... Sorry, for the listening, you will be listening to British accents. Sometimes

you might hear Australian accents or Canadian, you might hear a range, but a lot of the accents

will be British. So it's very important to get used to listening to British accents.

And also, listen to other accents like Canadian, Australian; that's a good idea too. Where

can you find British accents to listen to? I recommend the BBC. They have a lot of great

videos there and most of it's with British accents, so it's a very good idea so you can

practice listening. The more you practice listening with British accents, the easier

it will be to understand British speakers. Especially if you're used to American English,

this is a very good thing to do.

Related to this point: British vocab. You should learn British vocabulary. For example:

in American English and Canadian English, we say: "truck". In British English, we say:

"lorry". So it's good to know some of these British expressions, some British words. One

idea where you can practice these is if you check out our website:, we

have a new teacher who is British and who will be talking about British English, so

check out her... Her videos. It will also be good to help you with practicing listening

to British accents.

Number four: spelling counts. Okay? Very important. The listening part of the IELTS is not just

listening; you're actually using other skills like writing and reading. Now, with writing,

when you write down your answers, you sometimes have to spell something out, so you have to

be very, very careful with spelling. Okay? This is something you should really study

and practice before you take the listening part of the IELTS. Practice your spelling.

Learn spelling rules. We have a lot of different videos on how to spell on engVid, so I would

come and check those ones out.

Number five - this is the thing that always gets my students and I always warn them about

when we practice - plural versus singular. Okay? You have to listen carefully on whether

you're writing down the plural with an "s" or the singular. If the question wants me

to write down: "cat", someone's talking about their cat and I write down: "cats", it's incorrect.

I would get an "X". Okay, so it's important to be careful, to really listen: is it a singular

thing, is it a plural thing? Are they saying "store" or "stores"? Okay?

Number six - this is probably the most obvious tip, but - very important to do practice tests.

There are many, many books out there on the IELTS that have practice tests with a CD.

You can listen and you can practice. The more you do, the better, and the better your mark

probably will be. Okay? So do as many practice tests as you can for the listening. And again,

maybe when you start, it will be very difficult. Maybe you'll do a test and you'll do very

poorly on it - a practice test - it's good to keep going. Even if you do bad at first,

I'm sure the more you practice, the more you get used to these accents - you're going to

do fine. Okay? Just keep practicing, practicing, practicing.

Number seven: prediction. It's very important on the IELTS. During the listening, at the

end of each section, you have some time to check your answers and to read the questions

that are coming up. Very important that you look ahead. Okay? Any time you have a chance

to stop and to... to read ahead on the IELTS, the... the listening part, it's very important

to do this. The reason is you can make a guess, you can predict... It's not exactly a guess,

but you can predict what an answer is going to be, and your chance of getting that answer

right is going to go up. So, for example, maybe this is one of the questions:

"The woman will travel on __________." Okay, so I'm going to have to listen to the

CD. Now, what I can do is in pencil, I can just write in what I think it's going to be.

Well, I see the word: "travel", "travel on", so maybe she's travelling on a bus, or maybe

a plane. Okay. Think of some... some things she might be travelling on. And then you can

just write quickly what your prediction is. And then, when they actually play the... the

tape, listen, see if your prediction was correct. If it's not, you can just write in the correct

answer. But you'll have a good chance of getting the answer right. The listening goes very

quickly so it's very good to do this prediction so you can prepare yourself. Know what they're

looking for. Okay. Prediction, very important.

Now, let's learn some other tips to succeed on this part of the test.

Okay, my next tip is about predicting again. But if you can't predict the word - maybe

there's not enough information - at least you can predict if they're looking for a noun,

adjective, adverb, or verb. Okay, so what's an example of this? I come over here. For

the fill in the blank questions, maybe it will say something like:

"She has three __________." Okay, she has three, what? I have no idea;

she could have three of anything. But what I do know is this is going to be... What is

it going to be? Is it going to be a verb? No. Adjective? No. It's going to be a noun.

Keyword: "She has", there's already a verb here, I know it's going to be a noun. So that

can help.

Next tip. This is one of the challenging things about the IELTS, you're listening and writing

at the same time. Okay? So, again, the listening is not only a listening; it's also listening,

writing, reading, not speaking. So it's important that you practice these skills together. What

you can do is you can maybe go on the BBC, listen to what they're saying, take notes.

Get used to writing quickly while you're listening. I think this is one of the most important

skills you can learn.

Number 10 - this is the trick on the IELTS - be aware of changes. Often times, they have

a phone conversation in the listening and somebody says something like: "Oh, the number,

it's 2078." And so you write: "2078". But then they say: "Oh, no, wait. I'm sorry. It's

actually 4078." So you have to be very careful because often times, they will give information

and then they will change it. They will say: "Oh, I'm sorry. That's the wrong information.

It's actually this number instead." Okay. So be aware of that. The first time you write

something down, they might change it, so keep your ear out for that; listen for that.

Number 11. One thing to practice is listening to groups of numbers. Maybe you're good at

listening to the number one, if I say: "five", "seven", you understand that. But if I say

a lot of numbers at the same time like: "My phone number is 971-225" - it's not this,

by the way, so don't call this number - "1-877-43298". Okay. I hope nobody has this number. But if

I say something like that, were you able to write down all those numbers?" All right?

You've got to get used to listening to large groups of numbers in sequence.

Again, about the numbers because you often have to listen to something about numbers

in the IELTS. It's also important to listen for the difference between "13" and "30",

"14" and "40", "15" and "50", and so on. Okay? So the trick here is: "13", "teen" is usually

louder, "thir" is quieter and shorter, versus: "30" where "thir" is longer, "ty" is shorter.

So get used to listening to these numbers so you can actually hear the difference, because

you might hear that on the IELTS.

Number 13, this is also very important. Your handwriting must be clear. All right? If they

can't read what you write, you're not going to get the marks for your answer. Even if

it's correct, if they can't read it - that's a problem. So if you have bad handwriting,

this is something you should work on. Practice writing. Start off slow and then work on speed;

get better and better and better, and faster at writing. All right? So write well.

Number 14, this is my last tip of the day. With... Again, this is with spelling because

it's so important on the IELTS for the listening section. One thing they often do is they'll

have somebody spell something out. So maybe they'll... Someone will be on the phone and

they'll say their last name. "My last name is Tattoli." Okay? And then they'll spell

it. "That's T-a-t-t-o-l-i." Now, one thing to be careful of is often times they do these

double lettering thing where when they're on the phone, they'll say:

"It's T-a- double 't'-o-l-i." This means there are two "t's". So if you hear the word: "double", "double

't'", "double 'm'", "double 'n'". My name has a double "m". Be aware of that. It means

you have to write down two of those. All right?

So I know you are going to do well on this test. It's... It's... You can do it. It's

all a matter of practice, practice, practice. All right? And just constantly practicing

to improve. So you can do it, I know you can, and you need to know you can do it. It's very

important to be confident in yourself.

So, for a lot of extra language learning material, you can come visit our website at

Also, there's another great website: On our website, I will have a quiz to test

you on some of these tips to see if you remember them. So, until next time, take care.