Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

You’re guaranteed to hear many different accents in English on IELTS Listening.

The audio might have a British person speaking to an American and an Australian.

You must be ready for a variety of accents in English.

Today’s guest shares tips that will help you be familiar with different accents in English.

This way you will be ready on test day!

Do accents matter?

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to accents in English.

Is it acceptable to have an accent when you speak?

How will this affect your IELTS Speaking score?

What types of accents will you hear on the IELTS Listening audio?

It is vital that you listen to many different accents in English before test day.

Tip #1: American and British English

Michael recommends differentiating between these two accents by focusing on specific sounds.

  • The ‘d’ sound
  • The ‘t’ sound
  • The ‘r’ sound

These are the 3 biggest sounds that many people have trouble with.

For example, in standard British English, the ‘t’ is pronounced quite strongly.

He says, “We like our letter ‘T’ like we like our drink ‘tea.’

When he says ‘British’ it sounds like a ‘T.’

When Aubrey says ‘British’ it sounds like a ‘D.’

‘Butter’ sounds differently if pronounced by a British speaker or an American speaker.

The ‘R’ will also be much stronger when an American is speaking.

This is especially true at the ends of words.

If you’re not aware of that, you could become confused about which word is being spoken.

Tip #2: Glottal stop

Many British speakers will use glottal stops.

When they say ‘bottle of water’ the T’s are said with a glottal stop.

It is good to be aware of this so you understand what you’re hearing.

For IELTS audio, it will standard British English.

If you travel in England, you’ll hear thicker accents than on IELTS.

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Tip #3: Don’t stress about accent

This tip applies to the IELTS Speaking exam.

Rather than being concerned with imitating a particular accent, focus on clear pronunciation.

If you’re too worried about your accent, this can hinder your score.

Instead, make sure you’re pronouncing phonemes clearly.

As long as the Examiner can understand you, it’s absolutely fine to have an accent!

Resources for hearing accents

Most of Michael’s media consumption is American.

However, he recommends a podcast called “Feel Better, Live More.”

The host has a British accent and speaks clearly and eloquently.

He also speaks rather slowly.

He is a doctor that interviews people about health.

This is a very common topic on the IELTS exam.

It could definitely be your Writing Task 2 or Speaking Part 3 topic.

Not only are you hearing the British accent, you’re also getting ideas for that topic.


You will hear a variety of native English accents on IELTS Listening.

It’s vital that you prepare and familiarize yourself with all of them.

Think about the different phonemes that make these accents different.

The more you’re familiar with the differences, the easier it will be to understand each accent.

It’s also key to not stress about your own accent on the IELTS Speaking exam.

Instead, focus on speaking clearly and pronouncing words so the Examiner can understand.

As long as your pronunciation is clear, you can have an accent on IELTS Speaking!

Michael’s bio

Michael Lavers is an English teacher and podcast host from the UK. His podcast is The Level Up English Podcast and its goal is to provide easy listening practice for learners looking at fun and engaging topics. He’s currently learning a few languages himself and knows the struggle, so his passion is helping English learners overcome these problems and reach their goals. You can find him on Instagram @englishwithmichael and YouTube at Level Up English Podcast. For more information, check out his website

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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