How To Prepare Yourself For LISTENING -IELTS? Tips And Tricks

How to prepare yourself for LISTENING -IELTS? Tips and Tricks

IELTS:  International English Language Testing System

If you are familiar with the IELTS pattern, then you know that there are 4 modules in total; listening, reading, writing and speaking.

One of the difficult and most underrated modules would be listening. All year students or even working professional are preparing for their IELTS test. However, many seem to focus only on writing and speaking. This is a crucial mistake. All four modules should be treated with the same focus and urgency. A lot of communication abroad will be done via listening and speaking. How are you going to answer someone or ask someone for something, when you can’t even understand properly what they are saying?

No matter where you go, be it Canada, USA, Australia or Germany, you will meet so many different people with even more different accents.

As for students who are taking the academic version of IELTS to join a university and pursue their higher education, it is extremely important to be prepared for their daily lectures. Sure, you can get scripts and reread things at home but the real information will be said during those lectures. You cannot always depend on someone else to understand these things for you.

Working professionals, who are taking the general version of IELTS to work in a company abroad are equally challenged. You will have to listen to customers, co-workers, your boss etc. They will not repeat everything a hundred times just so you have enough time to make out what exactly it is they are saying.

Same goes for announcements at the train station or the supermarket.

Now, with the right strategy and tips and tricks it is actually really easy to prepare for the listening module and listening in general. However, it requires effort, lots of it.

Important steps to improve your listening skills:

*Do not only listen to prepare yourself for this module. LISTEN FOR PLEASURE. Watch movies, interviews, TV shows etc in English. Sometimes it’s also available with subtitles. Turn them on to make it easier for you and to familiarize yourself with the way people actually talk in real life. How they pronounce things etc.

Only listening to people talking in practice tests won’t do you much good. You will just get bored after a while and it takes even longer to improve your listening score.

*Actively listen! This means to look out for the vocabulary, grammar, accents and connected speech. All of these are crucial to pass the IELTS Listening Exam.

This does not mean, that you should force yourself to memorize long, tedious lists of words. This just puts you and your brain under stress and eventually you will end up forgetting everything. Do not try to learn more than 15 new words each day. That's more than enough. Knowing hundreds of new words does not help you at all, if you have no idea about their usage.


-Retain chunks of language of different lengths in short-term memory.

-Discriminate among the distinctive sounds of English.

-Recognize English stress patterns, words in stressed and unstressed positions, rhythmic -structure, intonational contours, and their role in signaling information.

-Recognize reduced forms of words.

-Distinguish word boundaries, recognize a core of words, and interpret word order patterns and their significance.

-Process speech at different rates of delivery.

-Process speech containing pauses, errors, corrections, and other performance variables.

-Recognize grammatical word classes (nouns, verbs, etc), systems (e.g.: tense, pluralization etc.), pattern rules and elliptical forms.

-Detect sentence constituents and distinguish between major and minor constituents.

-Prepare yourself with a strategy to answer the questions. The question types in the IELTS Listening module are well known, you should use this to your advantage.


Here you will be given a summary of a clip you are going to hear. Words have been changed but the meaning is the same. You should be able to read the text beforehand and have an idea about what you are going to hear.

What to do?

You should remember that you won't hear the exact same sentences as they are in front of you. Words will be different and constituents can be in a different place. Think about the possible changes.

The next step would be to look at the gaps. Most of the time you can easily predict what type of word will fit grammatically (verb, noun, adjective etc.) and you can also predict he content based on the other words around it.

Last but not least, do not cross the word limit. The instructions will clearly mention something like ' NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS' etc.


Often you will come across a form filling question in the first section of the IELTS Listening Test. Usually the answer consists of just one or two words, e.g.: phone numbers, dates and times.

Even though these types of questions are fairly easy, students still loose important marks here. For instance, sometimes they may mention a piece of information but later on in the recording they will correct it. Always write the corrected information.


The good thing about this section is that you can usually predict what you are going to hear. You always have a few seconds time before the recording starts. You should use that time wisely. Look at the gaps and make sure you understand what is asked and what will be said in the recording.

Grammar: noun, verb, adjective etc.

Subject: phone number, address, date, business name etc.

Function: list, question, label, instruction etc.


It is important to not only think about the information you read but also the information you might hear in the form of synonyms. This is a common mistake many IELTS students make. You may read 'tenant' but in the recording they call it 'resident'.

Word Limit:

Do not use more word than allowed. Stick to the instructions. 'NOT MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER' means your answer will be counted as incorrect if you write more than one word.


You always have to write down at least a few numbers in your IELTS listening test. IELTS likes to question your ability to distinguish between 13 and 30, 14 and 40, 16 and 60 etc. For non-native speakers it is kind of difficult, especially when you have to listen to someone say it with an accent you are not familiar with. Therefore, familiarize yourself with these number pairs in different accents.


In case there is name or address mentioned in the recording, which is unfamiliar to most people, they will spell it out for you. This only benefits you, if you actually know how all the letters sound. E.g.: B,D,E,T,G,P an C all have a similar final sound.


If you know the normal address format in the UK and Australia etc, it will be of great help.

Different countries have different formats and so it can be really confusing when you don't know what to expect.

Usually it is like that:

House/Flat Number

Street Name

Town/City Name


Make sure you know how to spell all days of the week and also all the months of the year. They will not spell it out for you since these you should be known by everyone. Also, do not forget to use capital letters at the beginning of week days and months. It will be marked incorrect if you don't do so.(e.g.: Wednesday – correct, wednesday – incorrect)



There are three different types of these questions:

1) Short answer

2) Sentence completion

3) Matching


1) SHORT ANSWER:  You will be given a statement and different options where you have to choose from.

2) SENTENCE COMPLETION: You will be given one part of a sentence and you have to complete it with one of the options given.

3) MATCHING: You will be given a sentence and you have to match this to one of a number of pictures.

Sometimes you will have to choose more than just one answer. This, however, will be clearly mentioned.

The speaker is most probably going to talk about all three options. The problem here is, that students tend to choose the first one they here. Don't do that. Listen to all the options mentioned and then decide which one is correct or fits best.

Underlining keywords in the given statements and options is as important as listening to the recording. If you do that, it will be a lot easier for you to spot the difference between the options and choose correctly.

The answers will not come in word for word dictations. Watch out for synonyms and paraphrases.

Don't spend too much time on one question. If you were not able to understand the answer, make an educated guess and move on.

Always pay attention to words like 'but' and 'however'. The speaker is most likely to qualify a previous statement.


This type of question is most likely to occur in section 2 of the listening test. You will be hearing a person describing a map or a plan or giving directions to follow.

It is possible that you will be given a list with possible answers. Sometimes that is not the case and you have to select the answer from the recording itself.

The recording will not mess with the order of the answers needed. Don't worry about that.



The recording will be using a vast variety of vocabulary and functional language to describe locations and directions. Make sure you are familiar with those.

Since this question type requires you to do more than just listening, you should stay calm, focus and not panic. While your body is in panic mode, the recording will go on and one and you will end up losing even more marks because you did not listen to the recording. This goes for all of the listening questions.

Pay attention to your spelling. Students lose so many marks because of that.


Apart from these tips and tricks you should also not forget to challenge yourself. If you just do paper after paper and it bores you because it is always the same thing and you don't find it difficult, you will not improve your listening skills.

If you decide to take practice tests, then you should take them under the same conditions as in the real exam. No peaking at the answer key and a time limit. While evaluating your own answers you should be honest. If you spelled something wrong, mark it as wrong. Even if the IELTS examiner knows what you were trying to say, they will not give you the mark if it is spelled wrong.

Instead of doubting yourself and beating yourself up about your mistakes, take a notebook and a pen and start writing down your mistakes. This should be a daily routine for you to get to know about your weak areas and improve them. Only focusing on your strengths will never help you to improve your weaknesses. Remember that!

Last but definitely not least: Do not book your IELTS test until you are ready!

Many students come to us and already have their IELTS test scheduled in the next 3 to 4 weeks. That really isn't the right way to motivate you. Sometimes things just take some time, especially when your English level is not that advanced yet. You will have to learn the basics first before we can even talk about the test pattern and the tasks. Putting yourself under immense pressure by setting an unrealistic deadline will just backfire in the end.

Allow yourself some time to get familiar with the whole IELTS test and the skills it demands. After that your tutor and/or you can decide when the best time would be to take the IELTS test. Sure, you can retake the test but why waste so much money, when you could get your desired score right on the first attempt with just a little more practice?

For IELTS Coaching and IELTS slot booking call us at +91-9177971222 or send us an email to

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