In this video two British Council teachers – Roxanne and Christine – give useful tips on the IELTS listening test.
1. Read the instructions
The most important thing is to read the instructions carefully. Otherwise, you don’t know what exactly is required. The instructions might tell you to write down no more than 3 or 4 words. Numbers are important! If you get them wrong, your answer will be wrong.
2. Synonyms are important
At the beginning of the listening test, you will have 30 seconds to look at your questions. Look for keywords and underline or circle them, so you can easily find them. Then, think of synonyms for these words, so you are prepared. Don’t wait for the exact words from the text, because you will most probably not hear them in the text and you’ll get lost.
3. Beware of distracters
Just because you hear something the first time, doesn’t mean it’s the right answer. Don’t write the first thing that sounds right, because sometimes the correct answer comes later.
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4. Think about the topic
When you see the topic, start thinking of words related to it. We tend to organise vocabulary in groups in our brain, so you need to activate your vocabulary for a certain area. It could be sports, for example. Use the 30 seconds you have for thinking of words connected to sports.
5. Write your answers carefully
Avoid writing abbreviations in the answer sheet. If you decide to use them, make sure that you know the standard abbreviation for a native English speaker, because if you’re not you might write it incorrectly. You can use them while you’re making notes on the test paper to save time. But on your answer sheet, try to write the whole word if you have the time.
6. If you get lost, don’t panic
If you miss an answer, don’t worry about it! Continue! Look down to your questions again, find your keywords and listen for them. Chances are you will hear a word that fits one of the keywords in the question. If it happens, pick up from that point. Everything happens in the last 10 minutes, you might even remember the answer.