Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

The average IELTS Listening scores from 2021 were surprisingly low!

Even native English speakers scored quite low.

These statistics can motivate you when you see your Listening score is higher than average.

IELTS is an extremely difficult exam.

Students who don’t have strategies have difficulty scoring 7 or higher.

We’ll share with you these scores and how you can surpass them!

Series on how to avoid average IELTS scores

The scores we’re sharing today were published by and can be seen in full here.

Don’t miss all 4 episodes of this series, as we are discussing the 2021 scores for each exam.

We’ll also provide details in each episode on how to get much better scores!

For all the strategies you need for the entire IELTS exam, take our IELTS course!

2021 IELTS Listening scores

These IELTS Listening scores are the total average for everyone who took IELTS.

  • Academic: 6.5
  • General: 6.82

The Listening exam is the same for both academic and general training students.

Therefore, it’s surprising these average scores are so different.

One reason for this might be that those preparing for the academic exam are listening to more difficult practice audio.

This would better prepare them.

2021 IELTS Listening scores for native English speakers

You might expect the scores for native English speakers to be much higher.

Surprisingly, they’re not!

  • Academic: 7.26
  • General: 7.28

Why aren’t native English speakers scoring 9’s?

It is because they don’t know the test.

This is clear evidence that understanding spoken English does not suffice when it comes to IELTS Listening.

Instead, it’s all about strategies!

Native English speakers scoring this low do not know IELTS strategies.

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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How to avoid average scores

Today we’ll share the three main things you must do to avoid these average scores.

You have heard us say on this podcast over and over that it’s about strategies.

These low average scores for native English speakers are clear evidence of this.

#1: What you listen to matters

If native English speakers are only listening to daily conversations, that doesn’t suffice.

Because they speak English fluently, they may not bother to listen to news reports and podcasts.

High-level, more difficult vocabulary doesn’t always come up in day-to-day conversations.

The average native English speaker who isn’t reading and listening to a lot of English won’t have enough vocabulary to score 7+ on IELTS.

You must listen to a variety of English sources.

This is how to gather less common vocabulary on every topic.

  • Podcasts on a variety of topics
  • News reports
  • Audiobooks
  • Documentaries

What you listen to must engage you

Find audio that engages and interests you.

Don’t listen to the news for hours!

Listen to 5-10 minutes of audio that is less intriguing.

Add 3-4 words to your vocabulary notebook.

Then, move on to something that is fun.

Novels and articles will also have high-level vocabulary!

What is most important is that you listen to as much English as possible.

Switch up the sources to build topic-specific vocabulary.

#2: Learn strategies

Natives don’t score 9’s because they don’t have strategies.

They don’t bother to sign up for an IELTS course.

Speaking English fluently is assumed to be enough.

Unfortunately, last year’s average scores prove that it’s not enough!

All the strategies you need are in our online IELTS course, 3 Keys IELTS.

One example is the strategy of making predictions.

We teach you how to predict the type of word an answer will be.

  • Noun
  • Verb
  • Adjective
  • Adverb

When you know what word to listen for, your brain will pick it out much more easily.

The course has a wealth of strategies that you need to know.

These will help you score 9’s on IELTS Listening.

#3: Practice

Once you have the strategies, it’s all about sufficient practice.

Native English speakers don’t bother to practice.

They don’t even know which strategies to practice!

Once you have IELTS Listening strategies, you must practice them on IELTS practice tests.

Our course comes with practice exams.

You will also be faced with questions where you don’t understand why you got it wrong.

3 Keys students can ask about these IELTS questions in our Facebook group.

Knowing why a particular answer is correct helps you understand the exam and raise your scores.


Last year’s average scores are shockingly low!

You want to avoid having average scores.

In order to get 7 or higher, you need strategies!

You must know the exam and know how to prepare.

Today’s tips will help you ensure you’re prepared for test day.

Sign up for 3 Keys IELTS to make sure the next time you take IELTS is the last time!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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