Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Does Section 4 make you anxious?

Read on, and start feeling more confident in this challenging part of the IELTS exam.

Paying attention to only 1 speaker

In IELTS Listening Section 4, there is only one person talking. This can be difficult to pay attention to, and it is easy to lose track.

You have to train yourself to be able to focus on a short lecture such as this. One excellent way is by reading along with the audioscripts while you listen to IELTS practice tests.


Also, you must remember that you do not have to understand every word. IELTS doesn’t expect you to, especially not in Section 4. The key words from the questions and the answers will always be vocabulary that you know.

On that note, remember to write down the exact words you hear the speaker say, and not to paraphrase the answers.

Topics on IELTS Listening Section 4

IELTS says that Listening Sections 3 and 4 are about “academic topics”. This is a very broad description!

Section 4 sometimes features professors giving a class lecture, but there are a lot of possibilities here. Often, it is not so much an academic topic, but a professional one. Plus, no matter if it is academic or professional, that still covers a great many subjects.

The best way to prepare is to listen about a wide variety of topics, from professional, high-level, native speaker resources, such as CNN, NPR, TED, and the BBC.

The accents of the speakers also cause some IELTS candidates difficulty. Comprehending these different “Englishes” is another skill, which means that it is also just a matter of practice.

IELTS Listening strategies

Your pencil is your best friend throughout the Listening exam, but especially on Section 4 when it’s difficult to focus. Underline the key words in the questions, and follow along with them as you listen. All the questions are in order, so just keep track and you won’t get lost.

What are the key words? They are your key to getting the answers in both listening and reading! Watch this video lesson to learn more.

Another vital listening strategy is predicting. It is essential that before you listen, you predict possible answers. This warms up your brain and gets it ready to recognize the answers when they come.

In our course, the 3 Keys IELTS Success System, we give you all the clear, simple strategies you need for every part of the IELTS Exam!

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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