What’s the best way to do a practice IELTS Listening Test?

9cp9AxocEWhen I give students a practice IELTS Listening test, I follow a certain procedure in class so that students get maximum benefit from doing the practice test.  I also advise students to follow this procedure at home.

Before we start, we have to think about why we do practice IELTS tests.  One reason is to get an idea of what the test is like and of the different task types etc.  The other is the same as any other activity you do in the English language; to improve your English.  Before I talk about my guidelines, I cannot stress the importance of doing as many practice exercises as possible in order to improve your English.

Over the years, I have taught from many different IELTS books and I always recommend that my students purchase Adams & Austen IELTS books. These books contain so many useful practice exercises for IELTS, which help you improve your English, and also IELTS practice tests.

OK, so on to my guidelines for doing practice IELTS Listening tests.

The IELTS Listening Test

  • First of all, you have to find a test to do; either from this site or from Adams & Austen.
  • Next, get yourself in ‘IELTS examination’ mode.  You may be at home, but we have to make this as authentic as possible; turn the TV off, turn the phone off, make sure you won’t be disturbed by your flatmate or your kids, have a couple of pens ready.  As well as the practice test, I suggest you also have the answer key, the tapescript an IELTS Listening Test answer sheet.  Remember, no dictionaries allowed!
  • Now sit down, start the audio, and do the listening test exactly as instructed (it’ll be about 30 minutes long), writing your answers on the question sheet.  Make sure you remember your listening prediction skills. At the end of the test, give yourself 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Now, grab a cup of tea or coffee and get your dictionary ready; this is where the hard work begins!

  • Mark your answers against the answer key.
  • Listen again to the parts where you got an incorrect answer; see if you can hear why it’s incorrect.
  • Listen to section 1 of the test again, while reading the tapescript for that part.  Again, make sure you now understand why your answer was incorrect.    Look up any vocabulary you don’t understand and write it in your notebook.  Note how the new vocabulary is used in context.   Look for other word forms (noun, adjective, verb etc) of the word in your dictionary.
  • Repeat this last point for sections 2, 3 and 4.  Take short breaks between analysing each section.

My students have always found this method very useful both for practising IELTS and improving their English.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

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