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IELTS Test Preparation Tips

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Most Important Tips to Excel in IELTS Listening Test

ielts listening

ielts listening

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is a worldwide reputed test conducted for testing ‘Proficiency in the English Language’. IELTS assesses English skills of a candidate in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is designed to make the candidate how he/she would communicate in English at study/work or in real life abroad. The test has such a high reputation of setting a benchmark of a candidate that its’ certificate is accepted by more than 90,000 organizations all over the world including schools, universities, and companies. Strange it may sound but even the ‘Native English speakers’ have to go through this test if they opt for studying or working abroad in an English speaking country and often it is observed with a heck that a native English speaker scores lower than a non-native English speaker. A big reason for that is a good percentage of them follow the way of casual or informal way of speaking or writing English, but IELTS sets the standard at par with International English. Before coming to the ‘How to’ of preparation some points are needed to be discussed. Any person with no knowledge in English at all can’t expect to score high in IELTS. To achieve an optimum level of understanding one has to prepare initially with some basic processes. For developing one’s understanding of English language one should follow these steps first:

  • Listen to English News: Listening to the English news on a regular basis would help a person understand English better. Understanding a foreign language with right accent does not grow overnight, it takes time. So an ambitious student or a person who wants to work overseas have to have a long-term
  • Watch English Movies: Selective watching of English movies with ‘International’ fame and full of dialogues or monologues would be beneficial for a If it comes with subtitles it would be of more help. One should go for watching top rated English movies where rich language is used. It would not only help in understanding English better but also enrich the listener’s overall the grasping power and English knowledge.
  • Listen to ‘English Audio or Video Lessons: On the Internet there are dozens of Good quality websites with free ‘Audio’ or ‘Video’ lessons for teaching English. These stuff use very simple and understandable English. The contents of the lessons are also very handy for learning English as well, most of them teach basic grammar, constructions of correct sentences etc. which are very helpful. Audio or Video lessons on conversations are also available on the Internet, they deserve listening as well.
  • Listen to English Songs: The toughest thing to a non-native speaker is to understand English songs. Listening to English songs would help one grasping the native English accent. If one listens to English songs and can understand the words, then taken to be granted that the person has acquired some level of ‘understandability’ of English.

Now let’s focus on the actual ways of preparation for IELTS listening test. IELTS conducts two types of tests 1) IELTS Academic training, for those who want to go abroad for study and 2) IELTS General Training, for those who want to join a professional organisation in an English-speaking country for work. In both forms of the test, one of the foremost and integrated part is ‘English listening test’, as listening and understanding English is of prime importance for any person venturing out to a foreign country for any purpose, be it work or be it higher study. Hence IELTS conducts this test with a practical approach, the skill of the candidate through ‘Real life’ conversations is tested and the candidate becomes acquainted with ‘International English’. For giving access to education, immigration, employment, professional registration or training opportunity, different academic bodies or companies seek different ‘IELTS Scores’ or ‘Bands’, so the higher the score or the ‘Band’, the higher is the chance for acceptation by a foreign organization. Naturally, the question comes how to score higher in IELTS Exams. Let’s discuss the ways of the preparation process to score higher.

Basics of Preparing for Listening practice test: Test materials for the practice of listening are found on the Internet, the candidate can choose one website and download the question paper with blank answer sheet. An audio of 30 minutes length for the practice test would be there. The ‘Listening test’ consists of four sections and there would be instructions for each section. The candidate should complete the test within the stipulated time period of 40 minutes. There would be 40 marks in total, one mark each for each question. While listening to the 4 sections of the audio, the candidate should write the answers to each question on the question paper using a pencil. For each section of the test, there would be time given for the candidate to look through the questions and to check the answers. After listening all the 4 sections of the audio the final answers should be transferred to the downloaded blank answer sheet.  Several key points are there to expertise through the mock tests. Looking at the questions while listening to the audio and circling the keywords are important. Keywords are usually names, numbers and some verbs and nouns. The answers are given in order, one needs to follow along with the test booklet and find the keywords. The answers are always next to the keywords. So practising in this way which replicates the actual test one can ensure to have a transparent idea about the original test and can expect to score higher.

Some very important points are ‘How to avoid IELTS listening traps?’. There are 5 traps in the exams failing to avoid which would lower a candidates score substantially. The traps are nothing but ‘mental games’ and these actually test a candidate’s ‘rigidity of mind’ a nervous candidate with not enough practice and in-depth knowledge about the ‘actual listening test’ falls in traps and lose ground. Anyway, the traps are as follows:

Trap 1) Trying to figure out the score while taking the test: A majority of student do this mistake but, If one do this, attention gets diverted from the listening resulting in not identifying proper keywords for the answer. So calculating score during the test is a strict no-no.

Trap 2) Writing one answer and trying to guess another :  It’s another mental game. The test audio would not stop to allow more time, so extreme caution has to execute while listening. The candidate should stick with the first answer that comes into mind. Writing one answer and going back to check it or change it immediately would result in losing time and eventually lower the score.

Trap 3) Not following the instructions and sticking to the strategies: The test instructions tell what exactly to do. Following the steps are immensely important. Often candidates look ahead at the next group of questions instead of using ‘answer checking time’, this is another mental game, candidates always try to save time this way and finally fails to check the spelling, grammar, and logical mistakes. Enough time is given after listening to the audio to check the answers, so no need to hurry.

Trap 4) Taking notes while listening:  It’s a great blunder. If one take notes while listening he is bound to miss the next answers. While providing training, it is expected that the institutes make the candidates aware of this. The candidate should concentrate fully in listening to the audio while it is playing.

Trap 5) Stressing out too much due to not understanding each and every word : It’s almost impossible to (even for the native speakers) understand each and every word. The candidate should not put much stress on it or become nervous, what is needed are the answers. IELTS designs the test in a manner so that a candidate gets to understand enough words to answer and enough time to change and check the answers after listening to the audio.

For preparing to score high in the actual test not only getting familiar with the procedures would do. One has to take ‘Professional training’ to achieve higher band at the exam. There are so many Professional Institutes, one just needs to select wisely by judging the reputation. The Institutes train and guide the candidates in a planned way and they also prepare candidates with ‘Mock tests’. Adhering rigidly the tips and tricks brighten the chance to score high in the IELTS exam.

An estimated number of 2 billion people in the world use in English to communicate on a regular basis. With globalization, the acceptance and importance of understanding the English language is increasing further. Also English is the main language on Internet, which is a great resource of information for students, businessmen as well as teachers and many professionals. Candidates pursuing their dreams for studying higher or working abroad needs to be proficient in all forms of English. The first step to it is ‘Understanding English’ of native speakers. Hence qualifying and scoring high in the testing system like IELTS is immensely important.

Originally posted 2016-10-07 11:11:25.

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