If you are reading this article, i can consider that you are highly motivated individual. Even if you do not think this way, i do. Because positive thinking and expecting good generally bring good in return. I will write about IELTS Listening in two part series. I expect you will gain in-depth knowledge from these IELTS Listening tips and tricks.
Listen, Concentrate and Write
Unlike any other Listening Tests, IETS listening module require high degree of concentration and speed. In listening tests, there are three things to be performed at the same time which makes IELTS listening tests a challenge.
During any English listening test, looking carefully at the questions can help you to predict a number of things, both about what you are going to hear and the answer that is required.
Basic IELTS & English Listening Test Strategies
Before you start listening test, read and observe the content quickly. Look out for keywords (Visit, places, reserve, seat, people) and Underline them so when you hear them you will know answer is about to be given instantly. By underlining keywords you can guess what the speaker will be talking about. For example, if in questions you see references to; Visits, places, reserve, seat, people, it suggests that the content is about a tour, and someone is arranging the booking of the tour, and the information will be about the tour which may include number of seats, the no. of people, the reservation, the name or nature of places. Just by reading the questions in IELTS listening tests you will know what the speaker will speak about. In this case the speaker will be talking about tour booking.
What are Keywords in IELTS?
The words which help you to find the answer to question. Keywords could be names, places, a number or a description in the Question paper. Keyword could be one word but may vary upon the content. It should not be more than three words. It provides you with the clue on the nature of speech/conversation in IELTS Listening.
So now you know what are keywords, in next few paragraphs i will try to elaborate on the technique that can be used for IELTS Listening using the keywords:
While you attempt the listening tests, you should concentrate on two keywords at one time. This is because sometimes speaker reverses the information; sometimes he/she mentions the keyword out of sequence. For instance, in the table below speaker may give his/her “Name” before the “Card Number”. If you focus on two keywords which are Card Number and the Name instead of just Card Number, you can answer the question without any problem.
Consider this example in IELTS listening test questions,
|Identification and security check: Goodwood Card Service
||61938 ___ 9928100
||_______ Williams Street, Sydney
|Date of Birth:
||20 Aug ___________
|Mother’s last name
It’s easy to know that keywords in IELTS listening test as above are
Card number, Name, Postcode, Address, Date of birth, Mother’s last name.
So when speaker mentions Card number or Name while speaking in an IELTS listening test, you know the information about the card number or Name is about to be given. At this time you should be focused on what is to be mentioned immediately. Get yourself ready to write the answer and know that it is a number or a word. Wait for the information, when speaker say it just jolt it down as quickly as possible. Then once its done go back to the next question.
Next keywords in the table above are Name and postcode so wait for the speaker until he/she mentions “Name” or “Postcode” in her speech. Once she mentions “Name or Postcode” in listening test get ready to write what is about to be said. Because the keywords are Name which is only text and Card-number which can only be digit, expect it to be a word and a digit. When you have written the answer, go back to the question again.
Next keywords are Postcode and Address. Expect it to be a digit, as the speaker says any of the keyword i.e. postcode or Address, focus as the information is about to be given in this example of IELTS listening test.
Similarly, your next pair of keywords will be address and date of birth.
Once the answer is written by you your next two keywords will be, date of birth and Mother’s last name.
If you don’t get the idea of the keywords, don’t worry. Next idea will help you tackle the IELTS Listening in a different but effective way.
Another method in IELTS listening test is to change the words into questions. This prepares you to listen for the answer you need. For example during reading of IELTS listening test questions, these unfilled blanks (refer to the table above) can be changed to questions such as,
- What are the missing numbers in the credit card?
- What is the postcode?
- What is the house number?
- What is the caller’s date of birth?
- What is his/her mother’s last name?
Also, it’s very important to understand the nature of the information to be written in IELTS listening test answer sheets, for example in above table, the “credit card number”, “post code” and “date of birth” are the numbers. While the “address” could be the combination of the digits and words and “mother’s last name” is word.
That is all good but how are you going to know when speaker is about to give information about the answers in IELTS listening test?
When you hear
- Stress on the words – speaker stress on the words it means that those words are important in the speech.
- Repeating words – Sometimes speaker repeats the words
- Correcting the words – Sometimes speaker correct the words
Dealing with Names in IELTS listening tests
When you need to write the name of someone in the question as the speaker speak, write down the word as quickly as possible, even if its wrong or you didn’t get the words correct. Normally, if you have to answer the name/surname type of questions, speaker will spell for you by repeating it in the speech and you can write it easily. However, you should still write as the speaker mentions the name and do not wait for repetition. If he/she repeats the word check your written word and make corrections, if speaker doesn’t repeat, leave it as it is and come back when you have time to check the answers in the end and make corrections by your judgment. It’s the same case for Nouns and Locations.
Dealing with Diagram type of questions in IELTS listening tests
Diagram types are the tricky. When the time is given to look at the questions, locate exactly where the questions are because sometimes the questions are randomly distributed all across the page with the diagram. Also find the keywords and underline them, focus on the two consecutive questions at one time just like the method we used in table type questions.
Dealing with Multiple type questions in in IELTS listening tests
When you have time to look at questions, underline the main differences as you read the options.
She didn’t finished assignment because,
- She was doing her work and other assignments.
- She had a big assignment.
- Didn’t spent time in the library.
Dealing with Multiple speakers (agreement/disagreement type questions) in IELTS listening tests
In these questions the names of various speakers will be mentioned. So make sure you get the distinction and familiarity of voices. These questions are asked in the end of listening section.
Use elimination Method when question asks about the agree/disagreement of speakers. This method is used when there are lots of options present in the choices. Make sure you get the names right.
Once the option is already expressed by one of the speakers, write his/her option and cross the name of that person. Then that person has already expressed his option and so you have one less person to worry about. Now focus on the other speakers, as the options are expressed cross the names of the speakers.
Benefit of this technique is that as you answer the questions the number of choices you make becomes less and hence the difficulty becomes less. These questions are difficult when you start but as you come near the end the answers become easy by process of elimination.
By now you will have a good understanding of how to implement the IELTS Listening tips in your IELTS Listening exam. If you have any question, feel free to ask below.
This concludes IELTS listening tests Tips.