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:
- Scan and read information to understand the main topic
- 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.
- 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
Having extra time is great. Use it wisely by reading the next section before it starts.
Tip 4: Be careful! You will only hear each section once.
The next skill that needs to be developed is an awareness of the basic rhythm or flow of topic questions and answers. Sometimes, you might miss out on waiting for an answer when actually the speakers have already provided it and moved on.
So what should you do? If you feel you may have been waiting too long for an answer, turn your eyes quickly to the next question. Has the speaker already started speaking about this next question topic? If so, be sure to “let go”. Stop being fixated on the one you missed. Transfer your concentration onto the next. Otherwise, you could risk missing out not just on one point but two or three.
Afterwards, when you have time to transfer your answers at the end of the test, the answer to the one you missed might pop in your mind after having heard the whole discussion. This problem is more likely to happen before a page turn. So be on your guard.
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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