In the IELTS Listening Module, the recording is played once only. You must, therefore, use a number of strategies to help you listen closely. There are a few main skills you will need to do well in the IELTS Listening Module:
Understanding the instructions
Instructions are both written on the question paper and spoken on the tape. Read and listen to every word in the instructions very carefully. Ensure that you follow them exactly and answer in the correct way.
Previewing and predicting
An announcer will briefly outline:
- the topic
- who is talking
- the situation.
Try to listen carefully as this will help you to preview the questions.
Before the recording begins for each section, you will be given up to 30 seconds to read and become familiar with the questions. Use this time efficiently so that you can prepare yourself to listen for the information you need.
Here are some hints for previewing and prdicting:
- Study the question carefully and try to predict what type of answer is required. For example, will it be a date, a name or maybe a number?
- Check the differences between similar-looking pictures or diagrams.
- Look for minor details such as different numbers or omissions.
In addition to the 30 seconds before each section, you will also be given 30 seconds after each section to look over your answers. If you are satisfied with your answers in the section you have just finished, move on to the next section and use the full 60 seconds for previewing.
Listening for specific information
Use of previewing and predicting skills will help you listen for the specific information you need to answer the questions in the Listening Module. Listening for key words and common connective words often helps to signal the specific information that you need in order to answer the question. Make sure that, while you are actually writing your answers, you continue to listen to the information given in the recordings as there will not be a second opportunity to hear it.
Checking and rewriting
You are given about 30 seconds after each section to check your answers. Check that all your answers correspond with the given instructions.
Make sure that you have answered every question. Marks are not deducted for incorrect answers so, if you are unsure of a particular answer, you should guess by writing down what you think is the most likely answer.
Check that you have included only what is necessary in the answer.
At the end of the Listening Module, you are given about 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the question paper onto the answer sheet. Scan your answers to ensure that you have transferred them correctly so that the number on the question paper corresponds with the number on the answer sheet. Be especially careful when transferring answers from tables as sometimes the items are not linearly ordered.