My IELTS listening score is not improving. I am out of wits!

We would hear this all the time. This goes without saying that IELTS listening is a tough nut to crack, not because it’s difficult to understand what they are saying in the recording but because you need to listen read, and write simultaneously. In short, it’s a way of measuring your ability to concentrate and manage time in a way that creates perfect clockwork. 

The listening test in IELTS is divided into four parts with the first part being the easiest of the four. It only gets more and more difficult with parts three and four being the most difficult ones (especially the latter one). 

Psychologically speaking, your mind usually has two basic responses to any problems faced i.e. fight or flight (escape). For most minds, the usual approach is a flight which is why we have often seen students approaching us and telling us that they are not able to get the required band score even after attempting every single listening test they could get their hands on.

Understand that ‘Strategies’ alone are not going to help you increase your IELTS listening band score. Today we are going to focus on 5 tips (Follow these steps religiously and see your score go up).

Mind Your Spellings

Even if you heard the correct answer but misspelled it, you won’t get marks for that answer. One way of making sure that you do not lose your marks is by watching your spelling. There are easy ways in which you can improve your spelling significantly.

Start by looking out for any kind of spelling mistakes that are obvious (noticeable). If you are still pursuing your studies, then you can go through your notes or answers and try to find out as many mistakes as you can. If you are unable to find any then you can ask someone else to help you with the correction of your work and tell them to not only underline spelling mistakes but grammatical errors as well.

The other way of doing so without relying on anyone else is by using Microsoft Word or Grammarly for checking your spelling, punctuation and grammar. These tools will help you understand where you are going wrong and the way to make them right. 

In fact, another advantage of using the latter method is that you can gradually increase your typing speed if you plan on giving a computer-delivered IELTS (CD-IELTS) exam.

Develop Active Listening Skills

Well, when you hear someone saying that there’s a difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’ what they intend to equate them with in reality is ‘passive listening’ and ‘active listening’ respectively. 

Let me elaborate on it for you. If you ever have been involved in a conversation wherein you have felt ‘zoned out’ or lost in thoughts while the other person kept on talking, you were guilty of passive listening. So, ‘active listening’ simply boils down to any conversation wherein you are attentively listening and contributing to it actively. 

Focus is the key to active listening and thus seeks the commitment of the listener. The sole person responsible for that is you! There’s barely any rocket science to it. It’s all about you letting your distractors go by and being actively involved in the process of listening. That’s all!

Read Questions and Predict the Answers

Before you listen to the recording in your IELTS test, you will be given some time to read the questions. This time is quite crucial as you will need to utilize it to strategize and work out the kind of answer you are looking for. 

In the first two sections, you need to look for simple, factual information. For example, if it says the cost of entrance, you need to be looking for a number or a price, if it says starts at, then you are scanning for something related to time, and if it says to meet in, then it’s about a place. It’s almost similar to the 4th section with only a minor difference in the type of information.

When you have sentence completion, it’s very important to get the right type of word that fits in the sentence. It makes a huge difference to your listening when you know what you are looking for i.e. a date, or a time, a dish on the menu, and so on. It makes answering much easier.

The ‘Move On’ Strategy

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in the IELTS listening test is getting stuck on a difficult question. It tends to break your flow and consequentially you end up missing some of the following questions too. This can affect your scores no matter how hard you might have practiced or how well prepared you might have been for the listening section. Do not worry, I’ve got three tips/ways to help you deal with this situation.

Begin by reading and underlining or noting all the keywords in every question. Then, be aware of not just the keywords for the question that you are listening to but the keywords in the next question as well. But the most important tip of all is to ‘move on’. Move on if you even have to bat an eye to answer a question because the race is against the time and you are NOT going to listen to the recordings again. Dedicate the last 2 or 10 minutes (based on the type of exam you are appearing for) to answering the ones that you had to skip. One or two wrong answers are still better than missing out on a bunch of questions that you could have otherwise nailed perfectly.

Keep Track of Your Results and Improvements

Practice tests are a great way to find out where you might be losing your marks for both the reading and listening sections i.e. your weak areas. This will help you in understanding where to focus your attention in order to improve. 

You might have heard that there are no elevators to success and can only be achieved one step at a time. So, start working on each area one by one. Oh! Also, make sure that you are being upright with your evaluation; picking up even the minutest of mistakes.

While these tips will definitely make a difference (if followed religiously) in your IELTS listening score, there are some simple things that you need to take care of. When there are so many resources on the internet, there’s a huge chance of some materials being unreliable or inaccurate. That’s why it’s important that you practice from reliable and standard sources. A suggestion would be to register on our IELTS Tutorials portal and attempt over 20 mock tests while improving your skills and vocabulary via sample papers, vocab bank, list of idioms and phrases and more without paying a dime. 

So, start improving/enhancing your listening skills from today. All the best for your IELTS test!