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Listening Tips For IELTS: Strategies to Improve Your Band

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

ielts listening tips

Before delving deeper into the listening tips for IELTS, you should learn a little more about the examination. The IELTS is a globally recognized English test that assesses the writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills of candidates. Reputed global specialists frame the syllabus, and the aim is to determine the English proficiency levels of non-native speakers.

IELTS Exam Sections 

There are four sections that you need to attempt. They are Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Reading. IELTS has two types, namely General Training and Academic. The Listening and Speaking examinations are similar for both IELTS types. However, there are differences in the Writing and Reading examinations. 

Here is a closer look at the format of every section

  1. Listening- Four recordings and 40 questions (30 + 10 minutes). There is one mark for each question. 
  2. Writing- There are two questions to be answered within 60 minutes. There is one assignment with at least 150 words and another essay of at least 250 words. Task 2 has more weightage in comparison to Task 1. 
  3. Reading- There are 40 questions to be answered in 60 minutes. There are three passages in total. One mark is allotted for each question. 
  4. Speaking- There will be three questions spread over 11-14 minutes. The first portion will be the Q&A test, while Part 2 will have aspirants speaking on any familiar aspect in detail. Part 3 will revolve around structural discussions. 

Now that you have an idea of the basic examination structure, it is time to take a closer look at IELTS listening tips to help you improve your score in the section. 

IELTS Listening Section 

Before you learn how to improve your listening skills in IELTS, here is some more information about the section. As mentioned, the Listening section has four components or sub-sections. Each one has ten questions, and there will be 40 questions in all. You will have 30 minutes for completing these sections, along with 10 minutes of extra time for transferring the answers to the answer sheet from your question sheet. 

The first recording will be a conversation between two speakers on an everyday topic. The second one will be a single individual speaking or a monologue of sorts. The final two recordings will cover training/education-based topics or scenarios. There could be a discussion among students or a student and a tutor, for instance. The last recording could be a monologue given in any academic discipline or a lecture at a university. 

You should look for the best IELTS listening tips and tricks academic to ace your game for this crucial section. You can only hear the recordings once and hence should be prepared beforehand. 

Listening Tips For IELTS - Your guide

There are many IELTS listening tips and tricks that you can use. They include the following: 

  1. Prepare in advance- It never hurts to start preparing in advance. This is one of the basic tips for IELTS listening. Listen to TED talks, podcasts, videos, television shows, and radio shows. The more you adjust to listening to English speakers, the higher your chances of success in the examination. IELTS audio recordings are slightly slower in comparison to speeches made in daily life. Hence, practicing the art of listening is always recommended. 
  2. Take mock tests- One of the biggest listening tips for IELTS is the necessity to take practice tests. The Listening test has a standardized format, and you will find practice audios aplenty online. 
  3. Build your vocabulary: Your vocabulary will naturally impact your score in the Listening section. Build your vocabulary by learning new words and phrases. Create your own book of words, which will help you with last-minute revisions. Make flashcards or rely on language learning apps or sites. 
  4. Transferring answers at the end: One of the biggest IELTS listening tricks is to stay composed while transferring your answers to the answer sheet from the questions in the extra 10 minutes. Make sure that you write properly since this will determine the final score. You should complete the answer sheet while having filled it up correctly in turn. Do not mix up questions and maintain good grammar and spelling since you do not wish to lose marks over the same. 
  5. When you miss an answer- Distraction is not uncommon; you may miss out on an answer. Do not panic and disrupt the rest of your test. Move to the next question and when you have the extra time for filling up the answers in the answer sheet, go back to this question and take a guess (informed or well-thought-out). In some cases, you may end up remembering the answer, or you have to use your deductive abilities to figure out the likely solution. 
  6. Multiple-choice questions- The biggest tip of all is to tackle multiple-choice questions carefully. Emphasize the question that you heard and then read the options. First, hear the question and do not simultaneously try to read the options. 
  7. Grammar and spelling always matter- Poor grammar will lead to loss of marks, and so will incorrect spellings. Be careful with the subject or verb agreement and tenses. 
  8. Writing your answers- While transferring your answers to the sheet, consider your handwriting for a change. If you have handwriting that may be difficult to read or is jumbled up, consider writing your answers only in capital letters. 
  9. Read the questions carefully before listening to your recording.
  10. Stick to the word limit: Every question has its word count for you to follow. Ensure that you practice writing within the word count in your practice tests. 

IELTS tests are a true test of your English language proficiency and specific skill-sets. With practice, perseverance, and the right strategy, you can score well in the IELTS Listening section.

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Prepare for IELTS With upGrad Abroad 

Suppose you have been facing problems preparing for IELTS at home. In that case, you can enroll in upGrad Abroad's booster program that helps in preparation for IELTS, academic writing, profile building, university application, education loan, and visa support. 

The program costs 15,000 and is 100% refundable if a student starts their study abroad journey with us. 

It is a six-week-long course and offers the following for IELTS preparation

  • 25 hours of live online classes
  • Four one-to-one doubt clearing sessions (30 mins each)
  • Four one-to-one speaking practice sessions (30 mins each)
  • 15 writing assignments with correction and feedback 
  • Two full-length mock tests
  • One-to-one analysis of two full-length mock tests.

Read More:

IELTS ResultsIELTS Last Minute TipsIELTS Academic Reading
IELTS Speaking Test formatHow IELTS Exam is ConductedIndian Education System Essay
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1IELTS Academic ExamIELTS General Writing Tips Task 2
MBA in Germany Without IELTSHow to Improve IELTS Score from 6.5 to 7IELTS Speaking Tips


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you listen to the recording again in IELTS Listening?

No, the recording is played only once. It will not be played again. This is why it is important to pay attention while listening to the recordings.

Can you take a pause in the IELTS Listening section?

No, you cannot pause the recordings when attempting the IELTS Listening section. The section has four tasks, with 10 questions under each task. All of them need to be answered in one go.

Should I use a pen or pencil when writing the answer in IELTS?

When attempting the Listening and Reading sections, use a pencil. Don’t forget to carry the eraser along. For the writing section, you can use either pen or pencil.

Can I have extra paper for making notes when answering the IELTS Listening section?

No, you cannot have an extra paper for making notes. You should use the question paper to write answers while listening to the recordings.

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