Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. In this lesson, I've put together all the tips I have for IELTS
listening, so if you're preparing to take the test, you've got all my tips to help you
do your best in the listening exam.
So, it's 40 marks, and it's around 30 minutes long, so how can you make the most of your
listening exam? Well, it's true what they say: practice really does make perfect. So
you should aim to do as many practice tests of the listening section as you absolutely
can. It will really, really help you.
There's a book that I recommend, it's the Cambridge Series for IELTS, we've got some
practice tests. There are other parts in that book, not just for listening, but the listening
materials are good, so I've used those many times. And you don't get that many listening
tests in the book, but what you can do is do the tests, and then take a break for, you
know, two weeks or three weeks or whatever, and you'll forget, and then you can do it
again. So, that's really important, because I'll tell you that as a native speaker, yeah,
plus someone with a university degree, but I'll do… I'll do an IELTS listening test
after a long break, and I'll not get a lot of the answers right. Okay? So what that tells
me is that doing IELTS, and the listening part is just another example, it's as much
about learning how to pass a test and learning an exam technique, basically. Because if a
native speaker isn't going to get it all right, it shows you that you need to train yourself
to be able to do this listening test. So, anyway, if I do a couple of those tests, then
I'm getting them all right.
So what I'm telling you, just from my experience is: the more you practice those tests, you
really will become better and better at doing those tests. Even if right now you think that
your English is, like, really good and you're going to get a really high score in the IELTS
listening because you're good at listening, it may be true that you are a really good
speaker of English and you understand a lot, but if you haven't practiced any of the IELTS
tests, you might not get a good score, because you haven't learned the exam technique, and
you're not familiar with those tests. So rule number one: Practice makes perfect.
Also in these tests, you really need to spell carefully, because if you make a spelling
mistake, you don't get the mark. So, try your best to spell things correctly. And especially
in questions where they are spelling something to you, make sure you don't lose an easy point
for writing down the wrong letter.
Which brings us to this one: Learn the pronunciation of letters. So, just do a little bit of revision,
go back over how to say the letters in British English, because the IELTS test is mainly
in British accent. So make sure you know how we say our letters here. But it would also
be quite handy for you to practice the letters in American English and Australian English,
because these will also be covered in the… In the test. You'll get these different accents.
So there's a tip for you.
Going back to this one: when you're doing the test, in between the different parts of
the exam (there are four parts), you get a little bit of reading time. When you get this
reading time, what you should be doing is reading the questions that you're about to
answer. Not checking the answers that you wrote before. See, a lot of people will just
be looking back at what they've already done, but when they do that, they're not preparing
for the next questions. So you really need to make the most of that time, and make sure
that you've read what's coming. And that will help you, because these listening exams, they're
in chronological order, it means it starts at the top of the page, the first answer's
somewhere at the top of the page, and then it goes down. It's not like you have to be
looking all over the paper for the answers, basically.
Next tip: You're only going to hear this once, so don't stress about that. When you are practicing
your exams, doing the practice tests, try to do it in a way that you're only listening
once. And don't worry so much if you get them wrong. Just listen once, then leave those
tests for a while, and then when you've forgotten about them, come back and do it again. If
you're listening twice, you're not really practicing the IELTS listening skill.
And… What else have I got to say about it? IELTS has a particular speaking style; it's
not like normal spoken English. It's nothing like normal spoken English, but in one way,
it makes it very easy to understand. So, get used to that kind of speaking style. It might
be in a British English accent, maybe it's in an American accent or an Australian accent.
And this will just make you more ready for doing the test.
Here are some other, more general tips, okay? As a listener, key words are really important.
These are, as you're listening, the words that are going to point you to the answers.
Like when you're looking at the question written on the paper, you'll be looking for verbs,
adjectives, and nouns. Especially in the third and final part of the listening test, it gets
increasingly difficult. So, it's also very likely that you don't know the nouns that
they're talking about. It could be a scientific or academic context that they're talking about.
It could be a really unusual noun that you've never heard before. All right? That's okay,
because as long as you know that you're listening out for a noun, because you look at the question,
if there is a word that you don't know but you know it's a noun because it had "the"
before it, or "a" before it, that's probably your answer. So don't be too scared when you're
hearing words, like: "I don't know what that means. I don't know what it means", because
you're not supposed to know what every word means. You're just supposed to be able to,
you know, magically find the answer by knowing…
Knowing where a noun comes in a sentence, basically.
What else to say? Synonyms: your knowledge of synonyms will be useful and important in
the text. In the test. So, when you're listening, you might hear the word "suitcase", but on
the answer paper, the word "luggage" may be written. And the same for "reservation" and
"booking" and "holiday" and "vacation." So, know that when you're listening, you're not
necessarily trying to find the exact word; you'll be trying to find something similar.
And here is the IELTS trick that they love to do: Someone will be talking, and they'll
give the answer-whatever the answer is, I can't improvise-"Yes, I'd like to book a room
for, for… I'd like to book a table for two on Monday. Yes, that's great. Oh, no. Actually,
I've changed my mind. On Tuesday next week." Maybe I said the same day. But this is what
they do: they say the answer, and then they take it back. So… So sometimes, you think
you've found the answer, and you write it down, so just be aware of that IELTS trick.
What we're going to do in the next part of the lesson is look specifically at the harder
questions, question forms, and what you need to look out for in those specific question types.
Let's have some general tips for the specific question types now. I'm not going to look
at all the question types, because some are self-explanatory, like matching or multiple
choice. But let's have a look at form filling. Sometimes you'll get a form like this, with
some information missing. As I mentioned to you, the listening test is chronological,
so it will start talking about this diagram by mentioning Sarah, and then it will move
across. So you know that after you hear the name, you're likely to hear the telephone
number. And if this is repeated… Maybe you have somebody's name, here. Maybe you have
the number, here. There's my number. Not my number; it's just a number. So it's… When
you get here, again, you know you need to be waiting to hear this location. And it might
not be a place that you know, it might be a place that you've never heard of, so when
that… When that happens, you just have to either take a guess at spelling this word
that you've never heard, or they will spell that place to you. The person will be like:
-"Hmm. I'm not sure if I understood that correctly. Did you say 'Bristol'?" -"Yes, that's right.
B-r-i-s-t-o-l." So, either you'll have to guess, or they'll spell it to you.
And if you have this kind of question-I mean, this is important in the whole test, in every
single part-don't put too many words or too much information in these things. Because
let's just imagine you put the answer here, but then you also put in some extra piece
of information, you won't get any mark there; that will be wrong. So, the correct number
of words, okay? No more than that.
And the IELTS trick… The IELTS trick is that they give you… They give you unfamiliar
names, or ones that are spelt in unexpected ways. So, when you're listening out for that
name, you're only going to hear it once, but rather than think you already know how to
spell that name, spell it the way that you hear, because sometimes you'll doubt yourself.
You'll hear the… The weird name, and you'll be like: "Oh, I know how to spell…" Well,
it's not weird. Okay let's… I'll give you an example. Let's imagine they said the word
"Smith". And you're like: "Oh, I know how to spell 'Smith', but it didn't sound like
'Smith'. Oh, but I must have heard that wrong." They'll probably… They'll probably smell
it… Smell it? [Laughs] Spell it in a strange way. I don't know. That's what they do. So,
trust your… Trust what you… What you hear, not what you think it should be. IELTS trick.
Let's have a look now at label and map, or label or diagram question. These will not
necessarily be in every single test, and therefore, you might… You might not actually get this
on your test. But they're really worthwhile to practice, because when they are on the
test, they are some of the hardest questions. So, you might… You might lose points, here.
Label and map is usually in the first section or the second section, so it should be one…
Among the easiest listening questions in the whole test. So you really don't want to waste
any points in this section of the test. Label or diagram is more complicated, usually in
part three or part four, but the same principle. How can you prepare for this? You use your
reading time to look at the map. Okay? So you get 30 seconds to look at the map. So,
it could be a good idea to… I don't think it's actually possible to predict the answers
for all the questions in IELTS, but for the map, it could be helpful. If you look at the
map, you'll know: "Am I listening for shop names? Am I listening for street names? Am
I listening for building names, or numbers? Or is it particular landmarks, like trees,
lake, that kind of thing?" And just knowing what you're listening for will really help
you in the… In the map questions, or the… In the map questions.
Also in the map questions, it will really help you to learn directions phrases. Anything
like "across", "opposite", "on the right hand side". So make sure you study some directions
phrases before you take your test, to refresh those all in your memory. And when we… When
we get to a diagram question, these… These ones will be technical vocabulary or technical
language, probably language that you're not familiar with. You haven't heard it before;
you don't know it. So, when you're in these… When you're having this part of the paper,
know that you'll be listening out for an unusual word that you don't know. So don't let that…
Don't let that be a scary thing. Don't let that make you panic or something. It's meant
to be difficult in that way, that it's testing your ability to just find a technical word
in the middle of some other long technical thing.
And then, the most difficult out of all the questions are flowchart completion and classification
questions in the IELTS test. Flowchart completion would be something like this: you'd have some
boxes showing a process. A scientific process, or something, an academic… Something in
academic things. No, that's not right. Something, you know, at university level, this thing
happens, this thing happens, this thing happens. I'm thinking of biology or something like
that. So, there'll be different steps. And when you listen, you need to order which thing
happens first. How do you do that? Well, the biggest IELTS tip I can give you is that:
Use a different approach for these questions.
So I'll give you… I'll give you a real life example. When I was preparing IELTS with one
of my students, he was doing the practice, and he was consistently… He stayed not getting
the result that he needed for quite a long time. It was if… It was as if his practice
wasn't really helping him get a better mark. But when I suggested to him: "When you get
to this part of the listening test, don't read the questions and listen at the same
time." When I suggested that he just listen, but then after, write in the answer, fill
in the gap A, B, C, D, then, suddenly, the result that he was getting in the test went
up by four marks, or something like that. So when he changed the approach, how he listened
in these difficult questions, he was getting a much better result. Because when you get
to the end of the test, section four especially, which is the hardest questions, you don't
really have time to read complex, long words, listen to academic speaking; it's too much
information. So, you could try this, like my student tried: when you get to these hard
questions, you're listening to a long lecture by one person, just listen to it. And then,
when they're finished speaking, take your full knowledge of everything that you listened
to and then choose your answers. So try that. That's my number one tip for these hard questions.
I still think a different approach works in the earlier questions. Obviously, if you're
listening for a telephone number, you don't just let the telephone number go and then
say: "Oh, yes. I remember", because you won't remember. But for the hard questions, that
different approach really helps. And I put classification type questions in there, because
these are… It's a bit like matching. You have to say: "Oh, this thing goes with this
idea. This thing goes with this idea", and it's more complicated. So, you really need
to have an understanding of everything you listen to, to answer that well.
So, there are my IELTS tips for you. I wish you a very successful listening exam. Remember,
you do need to do the practice. Do as much practice as you can. Follow my tips. Also,
I'd really like you to do the quiz for this lesson, so go to the engVid site to do the quiz.
But before you go there, please do subscribe here on my channel, and my personal channel,
because I've got two YouTube channels. I'd really like to have you subscribe in both
places so you get all my videos. And, yes. I'm finished now, so good luck in your exam.
See you later.