The average overall score of Indians who appeared for the IELTS in 2021 is 6.5. The average score for the listening section of the test? 6.30! Having the largest English-speaking population gives us very little advantage when taking the IELTS. Because it’s not about your knowledge of the language, but your ability to apply it in pressure situations, that is tested.
So, how do you differentiate yourself when applying for your dream college or workplace? A better band score than the IELTS average is one way.
Preparation Before the Test
Before you face the exam you need to be well prepared. You need not depend on only one thing for your preparation. You should try to expand your skills through practicing previous year’s question papers, mock tests, and listening to various audios. These audios can be anything, let it be, radio programs, documentaries, speeches, Tv shows, etc.
Go Beyond Preparation
When you are preparing for the IELTS you’ve got to go beyond the basic preparation. Deep analyses, devising strategies, and a thorough study aren’t just reserved for boardrooms. You’ve got to do all of the above to beat the average.
Let’s talk about the challenges you will face in scoring a band score of 8 and how to overcome them.
Challenges You will Face
The IELTS listening test has many challenges that one might face and you might be likely to face one of these problems as well. But the good part about learning a challenge is that we can start preparing for it with a solution in the meantime of the exam.
The accent can be any of the three types – British, Canadian, or Australian. All of them with their unique twang and pronunciation of different words. There are also some words that one needs to be familiar with. For example, the commonly used ‘naught’ isn’t very common in India. It could mean zero, failure, or nothing depending on the context.
#2. The pace of the Audio
The listening exam is unforgiving in a sense because you can hear everything only once and once you’ve missed the information there’s no way of getting it back.
The information in the audio is not straightforward. There are 4 sections out of which 2 are conversations between 2 or more people. In these conversations, you will find distractors or information changing as the audio progresses.
You have to listen, read and write all at the same time. Yes, there is no respite until the audio clip is done. Extended periods of concentration are a must for acing this test.
#5. Different Type of Instructions
Deciding whether to choose a letter from the list or write the answer in words? The correct answer is not just the one you find, it’s also the answer that is written according to the instructions.
How words & numbers are calculated. The instructions say ‘Write your answer in 2 words. But the correct answer is nineteen hundred and sixty-two! Converting it into a number like 1962 or not is difficult.
Transferring answers to the answer script.
Besides all these, wrong spellings are still a concern as we are sure that autocorrect will not be a facility that you can use while typing.
#6. YOLO (You only listen once)
You can only hear recordings once. I know you would love to hear it again or sometimes dread it. But IELTS won’t give you another chance. Therefore while practicing only hear the audios once and try to make it a habit.
Synonyms of another important aspect of your IELTS listening test. Synonyms of words or phrases that have similar meanings. Sometimes on the recording you will Real words are we asked to write synonyms of a word. Sometimes its questions may confuse you as there are words that you may have never heard. Therefore try to practice some of the useful synonyms before your exam.
While you listen to different audios, maintain your focus. Don’t get distracted by your surroundings or other things. As we have stated above, you will only get to hear this recording only once. Therefore, pay attention to each. Also if you missed anyone’s part, don’t fuss about it. Instead, move on to the next part.
Tips to Overcome the Challenges and Get Better IELTS Listening Score
Before we get onto the tips to overcome the challenges, there is one unsaid rule. And this is English. To master any specific language you need to accept that language. For this, you have to think in English. Thinking in English will help you to adapt to the language and comprehend the audio fast.
Now let’s talk about ways to overcome challenges. So, you have already read about the challenges but it is now time to learn about ways to overcome them. Here are some listening tips for IELTS to achieve band 9.
Know the Test
Each listening section is devised to test you on different skills. Let us examine each section by its purpose, the skill you will be tested on, and the type of questions that you can expect.
# Section 1
A telephonic or face-to-face conversation has the nature of the inquiry. It could be an inquiry with a tour operator, hotel receptionist, or vacation planner. There will be questions and answers from both the people involved in the conversation.
In this section of the test, you will mostly have a small table with a fill-in-the-blank format which you have to fill as per the word count suggested.
You may also expect a fill-in-the-blank section in which you will fill basic information. Here the difficulty level may be low and you are mostly asked uncomplicated questions.
# Section 2
The second section is mostly instruction based where a professor or management personnel will dictate detailed instructions for a student or employee to follow. The task will be to find matching information or fill in the blanks with a specific word count.
# Section 3
As the sections progress the complication level can be expected to rise as well. In this section, you will hear a discussion between a group of people. It could be a discussion before a presentation on a current academic topic. Expect the questions to be relatively tricky. To choose the correct answer, you have to be very precise in your comprehension.
# Section 4
This section will generally be a lecture from a professor or an academician on a topic. The skill tested here is the ability to understand complex phrasing and vocabulary.
Since the speaker will be talking about a study on a current issue or scientific discovery, you will be tested on your ability to grasp the core idea and answer questions related to the issue highlighted in the speech.
Use of Distractors
The distractors are put in place to make sure you follow the conversation through and to test your attention span. Naturally, you have to make sure that you can do the same without panicking or wondering if you got it right or not.
How to Use the 30 Seconds before the Audio Begins?
Analyze instructions before starting–Underline keywords in the instruction that make all the difference. For example: Write the answer with a maximum of two words or write the answer in at least two words that mean different things.
Skim through questions in the section – You get 30 seconds to look at the instructions and the questions. Underline keywords in the questions to quickly establish the kind of answer that is needed.
Identify the type of answer for each question – It could be a name, a number, a city. Predicting the type of answer needed can help you listen for the right answer when the conversation veers towards that topic.
Here are the Various Types of Questions
So before you begin to implement the IELTS listening tips for band score 9, you need to understand the different types of questions that might come during the test. And we have listed the various questions which might appear in the exam, such that you can start analyzing these types of questions beforehand.
- Multiple choice
- Matching information
- Sentence completion
- Table, diagram, flowchart completion
- Short answer
Learn How to Write Your Answer
So when you are done learning about questions and struggles you might face during the exam, it is time to learn about the way to answer it now. To help you here are 5 different listening tips for IELTS for band score 9, which can work for your benefit if applied properly during the exam and can save much time as well.
Knowing the Answer Sheet
Click on the following link to see what an answer sheet looks like.
As you can see above, there are no questions to refer to. You have to write the correct answer as per the instructions next to the correct number. Your answers could be alphabets, names, numbers, or just the correct information within the word limit. Make sure you map the right answer to the right question number.
#1. Pen vs pencil – We advise using a pencil and not a pen to mark answers. This is a great way of dealing and coping with distractors and spelling mistakes that you may spot later.
#2. Upper vs lower case – We advise using all uppercase in the tests or all lowercase. There is no need to worry about it since the marking is case insensitive.
Listen to Various Types of Audios
For overcoming the accent and vocabulary related challenges listen to podcasts, BBC radio, speeches, TED Talks, and the likes.
Improve Your Concentration
We suggest starting with listening to short audios then progressing to longer audios. Taking on too much at the beginning can make you feel hopeless while preparing. Conditioning your mind to move on and not panic when you miss an answer is an essential part of dealing with adversity that comes with the IELTS.
Learn to Multitask
This is one challenge that can only be overcome with practice. Reading the question, listening to the answer, and writing down the correct one at the same time is not as easy as it seems. Generally, you get 30-40 seconds between each answer in the audio. This gives you the much-needed time to read the next question quickly.
To get better at this, take dictations or write transcripts with professional help. There are many experts online that can guide with simple practice sessions.
Practice with Timed Tests
This is one of the obvious IELTS listening tips for band 9. Practicing each section separately is good at the beginning but taking a full test can leave your mind exhausted with the effort of concentrating. Don’t feel complacent and continue practicing even if your initial score is decent.
Calculating Band Score
Hopefully, this article will help you get a better band score at this section of the test and will eventually enhance your overall band score as well. But, to score better in all the papers, five equal focus on academic reading, writing and IELTS speaking too. And, don’t forget to do IELTS listening practice online.
Also for more such related articles and to boost your IELTS preparation, visit the IELTS Ninja website. Also if you want to take your preparation to the next level you can enroll yourself in the course provided by this website. IELTS Ninja provides affordable and customizable courses for the students to achieve their desired band scale.
Best of luck!