IELTS Listening Tips

The IELTS exam can be challenging and covers listening, reading, writing and speaking tests in an exam over two-and-a-half hours long.

Each of the four IELTS components has its own challenges, but there are some useful tips you can learn to help. Here we will look at the IELTS listening test section to give you some key IELTS listening test tips to help you improve your score.

Don’t panic! 

Obviously the IELTS exam can be stressful but don’t panic at the test. Take a deep breath, open the paper and take your time. Read the questions carefully, and remember that the answers appear in the order they are heard in the audio. They may be close together or far apart, but they are always in order.

Think about the answers

When reading the questions before you listen, think about the context and the structure. You may be able to work out what you need to listen for like a noun or verb, to use in your answer. For example, a passage like ‘…the engineer can show the workers how to ______ the bridge’, the word ‘to’ indicates a verb will have to come after it in the sentence. 

Answer everything 

You lose no marks for a wrong answer, so try to answer each question, even if you guess. Don’t waste time on answers you don’t know, just guess and move on.

Be careful

Understand what you need to do. If the question needs a plural, then a singular is wrong, if it asks for no more than two words, three is wrong.


IELTS exam students have to understand different English accents. The recordings use lots of different English accents so you should practice listening to English from England, Scotland, the United States, and Australia. It’s hard to predict which ones will be heard in the exam, so it is beneficial for you to familiarise yourself with as many as possible.

Practice makes perfect

Taking the IELTS exam is like taking a driving test: you simply have to practise to succeed on exam day. Taking practice listening tests and noting which areas need improvement are vital for overall IELTS success.

The IELTS test can be tough, so why not make it easier? The Language Gallery offers online and face-to-face IELTS preparation course that can help you improve all your skills to achieve a higher overall score. Find out more here

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