Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

There are 4 IELTS listening tricks on every exam. Learn these characteristics and get more correct answers!

IELTS is a dependable, valid exam.

Certainly, there are some Saturdays when the exam seems more difficult than others. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as topics being personally familiar to you or not.

However, the speed at which they speak, the types of conversations and monologues that are given, and the range of topics discusses remain constant.

Therefore, there are 4 characteristics that you can depend on to help you get more answers right.

  • Repetition
    • If you hear a word repeated, it is most likely an answer.
    • For example: The key decision makers were absent from the board meeting. Those key decision makers were then contacted and required to attend a special session the following Monday.
  • Negatives
    • Watch out for negatives, such as no, not and never. These will surround distractors, or wrong answers. Keep listening because the actual correct answer will immediately follow.
    • For example: We should go on holiday to Turkey this summer. No, wait, I’d rather go to Italy.

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  • Plural nouns
    • One of the most common reasons for students getting wrong answers on the Listening Exam is that they write a singular noun instead of a plural noun. If you look at any answers for practice tests, the amount of plural nouns far exceeds that of singular nouns. Thus, when in doubt, add that ‘s’!
    • For example: The number of search engines used today has actually decreased in variety than even a decade ago.
  • Emphasis

Test out these tricks. When you do your next IELTS Listening practice test, go through and highlight these characteristics in the audio script.

This will help you to notice them moving forward, and catch more answers than other candidates!

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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