The Listening test is the same in both the General Training and Academic modules of IELTS. Speakers may use a range of accents and varieties of English. It takes entire 40minutes to accomplish the whole 40questions.
While listening, candidates must read and answer a variety of question types. There are short interludes before and during each passage to allow candidates to read the questions in advance. Analysis of the questions therefore forms a major part of any IELTS Listening strategy.
After all, four passages have been played, candidates have a further 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. At this point, poor spelling can seriously affect a candidate’s score.
IELTS Listening has Four Sections
Part 1: Refers to conversation between two people. This involves a basic exchange of information. For instance, placing an order over the phone, or confirming details for a reservation. Generally, the topic covers daily-life situation.
Part 2: This is a monologue (one person speaking). This part will also come from a common daily situation. For example, listening to someone providing directions, or presenting basic information about a place or an event.
Part 3: This involves a conversation, often among several people, about an academic topic. You will hear a few students discussing something from class, or a professor providing feedback about an assignment, for example. More speakers are involved in discussion with quite number of use of vocabularies.
Part 4: This will be a lecture from a professor. It could cover any topic from a typical college course. You are not required to have specialized knowledge about the subject matter. the language used here is a bit complex and difficult. This is the toughest passage on the Listening exam for most students.
IELTS Listening practical tips
- Set realistic goals
In order to achieve a good score of IELTS 7.0, your students need to answer 30 out of 40 questions correctly. You should really drum this point into them. Lead them out of the perfectionist mindset and get them thinking more pragmatically about what constitutes a good performance in the test.
- Analyze the questions together
This is a controversial point. First, read through all ten questions. Then listen to an audio as you take some notes. Then analyze each question for information type, troubleshooting, and grammatical clues. Later on students can be pushed to perform similar analysis under much more time pressure.
- Predict possible answers
As well as analyze the questions, students should be encouraged to predict answers. Predicting is not the same as guessing, since you’re not asking them to write down their prediction. What prediction does is reveal if students have properly analyzed the question for content and grammatical form.
- Practice targeted listening
I like to use this analogy with my students: imagine you arrived at the airport one hour ago for a flight that departs soon. Now recall what all the announcements in the past hour have said. Of course you can’t, because we only listen for information relevant to our own flight. That’s the essence of targeted listening: having a goal in terms of what information we want to receive. It follows naturally from proper analysis of the ten questions.
- Accent exposure
Unlike in TOEFL, candidates in the IELTS test can expect to hear a variety of accents, from regional British accents to North American and Southern Hemisphere accents such as Australian and South African English.
- Drill numbers
Just like for numbers above, IELTS candidates can expect to write several numbers, including at least one long number such as a product code or phone number. The good news is that numbers require little in the way of comprehension. Concentration is key, along with anticipating the number in the first place
Good list of listening materials you can use:
Listen and Watch from the British Council
BBC Radio/CCN/Aljazeera news