IELTS Listening

Students often ask me "How can I improve my listening?"

Practice tests are a useful way of improving your skill at taking the test. In particular, you should make sure you clearly understand:
  • the different question types
  • the situations you can expect to hear in each of the four sections of the test
  • the instructions
However, doing practice tests over and over again can quickly become boring and may not increase your score. 

Here are some more interesting ways you can include listening practice in your daily life.

Continue reading for some suggestions...
1. Taxi Driver Method
If you drive to work every day you may spend up to one hour a day in the car. Use this time by listening to English CDs, audiobooks, MP3s or podcasts while you drive.


2. The TV Addict Method
If you like watching TV, try this method.

Buy, borrow or share some DVDs. Make sure the content is not too difficult and is related in some way to the IELTS test.

Suggestions include: 
BBC documentaries (Blue Planet) or dramas (Sherlock)
National Geographic/History Channel
Situation comedies such as My Family (useful for Section 1&2)

Make sure the actors speak modern English.

Listen/Watch the DVDs in 20-min - 1 hour sittings. Watch each part or episode 3 times on different days:
1. No subtitles - just listen for general idea / make notes on any vocabulary you don't understand
2. English subtitles - check your understanding by reading / check the spelling of the vocabulary
3. Chinese subtitles  - double check your understanding and the meaning of the vocabulary

3. The Lazy TV Addict Method
Watch TV for 1 hour a day with the subtitles covered up. You can put a piece of cardboard against the TV so the subtitles are hidden.

4. The Smartphone Method
Download podcasts or MP3s to your mobile phone and listen while jogging or travelling to work. Write down a summary of the key points when you finish your exercise and listen again to see if you missed anything.  Search for any apps for iPhone or Android and give them a try - some are better than others.

5. The Radio Method
Download freely available talk radio shows (BBC Radio 4 is one example) which are based on discussion of topics. Choose useful/interesting topics to listen to and write down the opinions of the guests. 

6. The TED Method 
 TED Talks can be viewed online. Some are short and most are easy to understand. This is good practice for Section Four of the listening test which is usually a lecture or talk.

7. The Kids' Science Method 
Watch videos on Discovery Kids' website How Stuff Works or look for Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution (annual lectures about science for kids in the UK). If you are an arts student, you may need to improve vocabulary in science and this can be one way to do it.

8. Online Listening 
There are plenty of website's offering listening practice. Look for the ones which provide the transcript (words), vocabulary explanation and a few short exercises to do. BBC has a good range including Words in the News and 6 minute English

9.  British Council
The British Council website has IELTS practice tests, short exercises and explanation. Click HERE to have a look.

10. The Evesdropping Method - only for the brave!
Go to a bar or restaurant and sit near some native speakers. Listen in to their conversation, but try to be discreet!

Be sure to include regular listening in your study schedule and don't limit yourself to IELTS listening. 

2 則留言:

Olivia 提到...

Could you please tell me that I should write answer like"Old clothes" or "old clothes"...lots of answer keys in Cambridge were really confused me, thank you!

James 提到...

Don't worry about (big) capital letters in the listening.

Just make sure the spelling is correct. Also the grammar must match and you must use the correct word form (NOUN / VERB / ADJECTIVE etc.)especially in sentence completion/summary/note completion question.

In your example, old clothes / Old clothes / Old Clothes / OLD CLOTHES would all be correct, but there are too many variations for Cambridge to publish EVERY possible answer for all of the questions.

Hope this helps!

James