IELTS Listening Test – Using the breaks well

In the IELTS listening test a neat trick is to use the breaks well.

The test guidelines advise you:

“You will be given time to read through the questions before you listen. You will hear each recording of the Listening test only once. As you listen, write your answers on the question paper. At the end of the test, you will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet in pencil.” Source IDP British Council 

Tip 1: Use extra time wisely.

When you are familiar with these instructions, you can use the additional time focusing on the the first exercise. 

Tip 2: Understand the main topic and make some guesses

With time given before each section, be sure to get the gist of what the speaker(s) will be talking about.  Here’s some steps you can take before each listening section begins:

  1. Scan and read information to understand the main topic
  2. Make guesses of what kind of answers are expected.  For example, ask yourself if you need to listen for a telephone number, a name of a person, title of a book, a price.
  3. Also determine what grammatical structure the missing information will be, ie. a verb, noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb or prepositional phrase
Tip 3:  If you have extra time at the end of the section, focus on the next section

Tip 4:  Be careful! You will only hear each section once.
  
It is important to take note before the speakers begin, to know what points you will need to listen for.  Sometimes, though, you might miss out on the answer.  Be sure to keep going.  If you notice a basic rhythm to the answers.  If you find yourself waiting too long for one, it could mean you’ve missed it.  
 
Turn your eyes to the next question if this happens. Keep going with the flow so you don’t miss a second or third one.  

Tip 5: Check your answers and don’t forget spelling counts.
 
You will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.  Be sure to use this time to make guesses for answers that you may have left blank.  And check grammar and spelling.
 
When transferring your answers to the answer key, pay attention. Make sure you put your answers in the right spot.  Not answering 1 question may lead you to filling in your answers in the wrong spot.  It’s best to put something in than nothing at all for this reason.  Again – trust your gut and make a guess.
 

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