listeningIELTS listening usually gets the highest marks in any test and is generally the easiest area to improve. You do need to expose yourself to as much listening material as possible, but watching movies is not necessarily the best way to do this (with movies, much of the information you get is visual).

The IELTS listening exam tests for the detail of what you hear not a general overview so improving your skills to pick out detail from a large body of speech is what you need to practice.

Here are some things you can do every day to improve your listening skills and get a higher band in your IELTS test.

Try to listen to something every day. Keep it short and listen to the way things are said as well as overall content. Which words are used? Which tenses are used? Choose things that are spoken by native speakers for native speakers – news broadcasts are good or discussions. Try to stay with audio rather than vide that way you won’t have any visual clues.

Make sure you listen to a range of different types of listening: one person speaking, a conversation, lectures, demonstrations etc. Remember in the ielts listening you have 4 different types of conversation. Good places to look are the BBC website and other news and entertainment websites, also university websites (sometimes they have public lectures).

Here are some short podcasts from the BBC that will help you:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/general/sixminute/index.shtml

Some of the IELTS websites offer a free listening test search for these for extra IELTS practice. You can find listening material for IELTS at Exam English such as this IELTS test:

http://www.examenglish.com/IELTS/cbIELTS_listening.htm

Search for specific topics as podcasts this way you will be ‘killing two birds with one stone’ practising English and also learning information about topics that might be in the speaking or writing. Put e.g. ‘environment podcasts’ into Google and see what comes up. I did this and got the following:

http://www.learnoutloud.com/Podcast-Directory/Science/Environment (there is a 30 day free trial for this site)

http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/podcasts/

http://www.contentious.com/2005/09/29/some-great-environmental-podcasts/

There were many more.

Try to make notes as you listen. This is a useful skill in the exam if you miss a question. Try to make notes about what you hear and then come back at the end and see if you can work out the answer. Some of these sites also provide transcripts and you can check your notes with the transcript after you have finished listening.

The more you listen the better you will become and it’s never been easier than now with the internet.

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