I often receive emails from readers of this site saying something on the lines of ‘Help, I have my IELTS Test this Saturday, what can I do?’
Now, I think I always make it quite clear that I believe in starting your IELTS Test preparation way in advance of the test but I’ve over these next posts, I’m going to give you my last minute tips for the test.
This is the first post in the series ‘Best IELTS last minute tips’ and has my last minute tips for the IELTS Listening Test.
- Read the instructions carefully. In particular, I suggest that you underline the instructions regarding the number of words you are required to use in your answer.
Do this all throughout the test as the instructions usually change throughout the exam.
- Remember that every second counts in the Listening Test; you only hear the recording once so you must use your time profitably. Before each section, you are given time to read the questions before listening. Use it! At the end of each section, you are given 30 seconds to check your answers; as soon as you’ve finished checking your answers, move on to reading the questions for the next section.When you read questions, look for key words and then underline them. This will help you to focus on exactly what you should be listening for.
- If you are required to write information on a diagram, flow chart or a table, take note of the question numbers. You will hear the information in the order of the questions.
- When the question is a short answer question or a gap fill; you should try to predict an answer; is it a colour, a number, a noun, an adjective, a verb? What tense is the verb? etc.
- In multiple choice questions or questions where you need to choose from a list, underline the keywords and try to think of any synonyms or different ways to phrase the keyword. It is very possible that you will hear synonyms of the keyword on the recording.
- Again, in multiple choice questions, if you hear something that tells you that one of the answers isn’t possible, cross that answer out immediately so that you have less to focus on.
- At the end of the test, you are given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. You should be aware of two things here:-
1. Make sure you write your answer in the correct space; I have seen too many students make this mistake when we do practice tests in class. The Examiner will NOT think, ‘Oh, this candidate has obviously put the answers in the wrong space, I’ll make allowances’. No, you will be in danger of losing your points!
2. Don’t forget basic grammar. For example, it your answer is a name, remember that the first letter is a capital letter (upper case).
3. What answer form is required? If the answer is a letter; A, B, C etc, write the letter, no the word from the listening.
If the answer requires you to write ‘true’ or ‘false’, don’t write ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
- Don’t forget that the IELTS Listening Test gets progressively more difficult
(Section 1 is the easiest, Section 4 is the most difficult). Many of my students require a band score of 7. In order to get 7, you need to score 33–35 out of 40. This effectively means you need to get 100% on Sections 1 and 2, 80% on Section 3 and 50% on Section 4.
Finally, good luck on Saturday!
Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!