IELTS Listening Tips

(Last Updated On: November 29, 2017)

IELTS Listening :

You know that there is two form of IELTS Exam. General and academic, but there is no suppurate test for listening. So you don’t need to search for general listening tips of academic listening tips. All you need is to improve your understanding of English. In this post, I will try to give best options available to improve your capabilities of  English understanding. This post is specifically for listening. So how we should begin? Well, we need understand what kind of question we might get in IELTS Exam. You must expect different types of questions.

Exam and question format
Expected Question Format For IELTS

Now you know all the different types of questions format. We should have clear strategist to address this types questions.

Read more: Describe Your Hometown IELTS Speaking.

Multiple Choice Questions IELTS listening:

Let’s have look at Multiple Choice Questions.  This might be in different format. like asking short answer from a statement or sentences completion, and the last one is based on some photo you have to match. You may be asked to choose two answers from four or five options or three answers from five or six options. So don’t consider a number of options available, just learn how to figure out our answer. You could learn more about IELTS listening question types multiple choice from below links.

  1. ieltsbuddy.
  2. ielts-up.

IELTS listening short-answer Questions:

One of the best ways to answer any questions in IELTS is to read all the questions before the audio play, you might get some 20 seconds to 30 seconds to read this questions. It is very useful especially if you are answering short-answer questions in IELTS Listening. By reading all the question you could easily recognize what will be the expected answers, and you won’t make many mistakes. So always follow this steps.

IELTS Short answer question Tips
Five Important Tips For Short-answer questions

If you want to learn more about this type of question you could check this links.

  1. highpoint-ieltsblog.

IELTS Listening Form Filling:

Compare to another question format this will be very easy and very easy to make mistakes. Normally we need to give either one or two words like address, a name of person, place and phone numbers. Sometimes they might ask the date of birth or holiday or any other date or time. This is the easy type question you could ever get in IELTS exam. By practicing, you could answer up to 10 questions, (depending on your question paper). Here you must expect multiple corrections,  Which mean speaker might say,

Speaker 1: Excuse me, Could you please tell me your name,

Speaker 2: well, It’s Jennifer. But I didn’t book the ticket. It’s my husband who booked this ticket.

Speaker 2: His name is Andrew simons.

And we might be waiting for the answer (Who booked cinema ticket?)

Students start writing when they listen to the answer could you please teal me your name as Jennifer, Which may look correct initially, but next steps itself she corrected. But a student might be busy with writing the name as Jennifer.

So always try to listen to full answers, they might change an answer. So if a person give one piece of information and then correct it later in the recording and if you felt any confusion its better to go with the second piece of corrected information.

Sample Question
Sample Form Completion Question

IELTS Listening Map Labeling:

In Section Two You could expect this kind of question. Usually, one person will explain map or small town or library or school or any building. This is also an easy part. The only thing you need to have a good understanding of vocabularies which native speaker will use to give directions.

In some maps, you are given a list of words like multiple choice and you have to choose the correct word to fit on the map. Sometimes you need to figure out your answer from the audio only. The most important thing you need to focus here is answer will always follow sequential order. So you will here answer question 1 before question 2. So how sample map looks like.

Sample Question 16 to 20
Sample IELTS Map labeling Question

As I told you, you should read the question initially itself so that you could easily understand what will be your answers. Try to solve two or three question at a time because sometimes you might hear two or three answer in short time. But sometimes you need wait for more time to figure out your answers. So please don’t make any mistakes. And the most important thing you should have a clear idea about how to use the following listed vocabularies.

35 vocabularies
Map Labeling vocabularies

IELTS Exam Format:

  • There are 40 questions and there is four sections.
  • Each part exam will test your ability about a different topic and gets increasingly more difficult.
  • Section 1: The first audio is usually an informal dialogue in a social or everyday situation.
    • A conversation about opening any insurance.
    • Inquire about an insurance policy.
    • Inquire about sending any parcel.
  • Section 2: The second audio is usually a non-academic monologue. This could be one person giving information on something.
    • A guided giving details about any museum tour.
    • A person giving information about a conference or exhibitions.
  • Section 3: The third audio is usually a discussion (between 3-4 people) related to education/training.
    • Discussion between some students and a tutor about a group assignment.
    • A group of students talking about a project.
    • Students or friends planning about some project.
  • Section 4: The fourth and final audio is usually a university style lecture. This could be related to any academic topic.
    • One person will explain some topics related to academic.
  • Total 40 minutes to answer.
    • You’re going to listen to this conversation for about 30 minutes.
    • You can use last 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Instructions are crucial:

On IELTS listening, you will have to read the instruction of what to do. Sometimes you’re going to see: “Write no more than three words.”. If you see something like: “Write no more than three words.”  Write three or less. You can’t write four, don’t write five or six, just write one, two or maximum three words.

“Write no more than one word and or a number”, In this case, if you write two words it is wrong, you can write one word or one number or both.

Example “Write no more than one word and or a number”.

  • 15th January.
  • $400.50.
  • four books.
  • twenty six cars.

Understanding the context, But How?

  • You will get some time to read questions before listening to each audio sections, use this precious time to understand context.
  • In the introduction of listening each section, you will be told who this person is and what they are going to talk or discuss and why they are talking.
  • Use all this crucial information to understand context and topic so that you can easily predict each answer.

Capital Letters:

Capitalization of proper nouns is also important. For example, names of countries, cities or geographical locations should start with capital letters.You can write your answers in capital letters or lower case lattes. The best way is to use all capital letters as it is easier to read and avoids mistakes.

Read the questions:

The same which I described above, You will be given some time to read the questions( maybe around 30 seconds to 45 seconds) before each recording is played. If you read this questions very carefully you will be familiar with all these questions before you hear the recording.  And you can predict what you might hear and what will be your answers to each question.

Get used to British English.

A large part of the IELTS, you will be listening to British accents. Sometimes you might hear Canadian accents or Australian accents, 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. So listen to other accents like Canadian, Australian.

Where can you find British accents to listen to? I recommend the Youtube. There you will get a lot of great videos and most of it’s with British accents, so it’s a very good idea to practice listening with youtube. 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.

For video British accents:

British vocab:

You should learn British vocabulary. There are few vocabularies different in American English and British English, like truck and Lorry. In British English, we say: “lorry” was as in American English we say Lorry. So it’s good to know some of these British expressions, some British words.

Order of questions:

In listening sections the order of the questions will be sequential, which mean that you will hear the answer or relevant information for question 1 before you hear the information for question 2 or in other wards sequential order, answer for question 1 then answer for questions 2.

No negative mark:

There is no negative marking, so you will just get a zero for an incorrect or incomplete answer. So please make sure to answer all the questions even if you are not sure about the answers.

Be ready to answer multiple questions:

Some time audio will give multiple answers to multiple consecutive questions one by one in quick time. So how we will be able to deal with such cases. Only one thing we can do, be ready to hear to multiple answers one by one, first answer for question  1 then answer for question 2 like. Always be ready to hear 2 consecutive answers.

Write your answer at the time itself:

Of course, you will get 10 minutes to transfer your answer to answer sheet. But you won’t be able to remember all these 40 answers. So just learn how to use shorthand to write your answer so that you can rewrite it on your answer sheet without any grammar error.

Don’t write too quickly:

Sometimes you may hear some answer and you start to write without listening to the audio, but the speaker may correct that answer. so be very careful with this trick.

  • “So I’ll see you on Mandy at 7 0’clock”.
  • “Sorry, I’m busy then. How about Saturday or Sunday?”
  • “Sunday is Fine, Sunday at 7 0’clock”.

Use your questions to answer:

Sometimes it is necessary to read your questions to predict your answers, especially if you are going to completing a table.

Be careful with spelling:

Very important, very very important. The listening part of the IELTS is not just listening; you’re actually using other skills like writing. So always check your spelling. Practice your spelling. Learn spelling rules. If you make a single spelling mistake in the answer, that answer will be marked wrong.

Read more: Top 25 IELTS Listening Tips And Tricks.

So what to do? 


Although you may feel rushed for time, handwriting is important. If the examiner cannot read what you have written, it will be marked incorrect. So use your last 10 minutes to transfer in such way that someone can read it.

Check Grammar Very carefully:

Noun and tenses:

Don’t forget the ‘s’ at the end of the noun, If the answer is second person singular. Take care with verb tenses. Even if your answer is right incorrect noun form or verb tense can make it a wrong answer.

Plural versus singular:

Understand the contest properly, that is the only way to identify what kind of answer is need to write.


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Read More:

  1. Do You Study or Work?
  2. Vocabulary Exercises For Intermediate.
  3. Describe Your Hometown IELTS Speaking.
  4. Best Ways To Improve Your IELTS Speaking.
  5. 50 Common Grammar Mistakes in English.

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