Listening Section of IELTS

What to Expect in the IELTS Listening Test

IELTS or the International English Language Testing System is administered by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations in collaboration with British Council. It is an examination that non-English speaking candidates have to appear for if they wish to study in the universities and colleges of UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa. Although nearly 3000 institutes in the USA accept this test's score as a representation of the candidate's proficiency in the language, yet it would be better if you appear for TOEFL if you wish to apply in the institutes of the USA.

IELTS score is also required by the Immigration departments of Australia, New Zealand and Canada, when considering the immigration application of a person. Thus, this test is an English proficiency test that has a number of applications.

An important part of the examination is the Listening section. This part will test your skills in listening, understanding and interpreting the language and analyzing instructions given in English spoken with an accent. To help you regarding this section, the listening section is explained in the following sections.

Know the Listening Section of IELTS

Before you start preparing for the test it would help to know what this particular section consists of. The following list outlines what you might expect from a typical Listening Section:

  • The Listening Section of the test consists of 4 parts designed to test your proficiency in understanding English spoken with or without accent.
  • Each part begins with an introduction that will tell you the scenario and background so that you can understand what the speakers are talking about.
  • You will be required to answer the questions based on the discussion that will be played for you.
  • In this section you will have to distinguish not only numbers, names and addresses, but idioms, proverbs and colloquialisms also.
  • You will get 30mins to solve 40 questions in this section of test.

The afore-mentioned list will help you prepare better for the Listening Section. But, before you start preparing for this section you should also know why this section of the examination is of paramount importance. If you wish to ace this section then you will have to practice. To help you to do so, some points are discussed below

Why Is Listening for IELTS Important

When you wish to study or work in an English speaking nation it is important for the authorities to understand how well you are able to understand English. Often candidates who can read and write well in English are unable to understand the 'spoken' form of the language. Thus, when you practice for this section you should keep in mind that the basic thing that you will have to understand is the accent.

Most candidates are well acquainted with the American accent but are not used to English spoken with a British or a neutral accent. Another problem candidates often face is, in understanding common English proverbs and idioms. You should try studying commonly used proverbs and idioms in order to understand and analyze the audio clips that you hear.

You can also become used to the accent by listening more to British programs (like the BBC Channel) and trying to speak in that accent. You can develop a fluency in the language only with practice. Some other points to be remembered about this section are discussed in the following section.

Tips to Help You Prepare

When you prepare for the Listening Section of the test you could consider the following tips:

  • You should try to understand English spoken with a neutral accent.
  • Get yourself used to common English colloquialisms. These will help you understand and analyze the audio clips better.
  • While writing the answers strictly adhere to the instructions provided.
  • While answering the questions don't try to predict anything. Answer the questions based strictly on the audio clips that you hear.

The above mentioned list will help you prepare for the examination. But, remember that you can ace this section only with practice. You will get used to the accent the more you hear it. Thus, you should practice listening, as well as, speaking with a neutral accent to make your practice complete.

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