Top 10 Tips for Reading and Listening Section in IELTS


The IELTS exam is a gateway for receiving recognition of one’s fluency in the English language. Every year, thousands of students undertake the IELTS exam by taking up IELTS coaching, completing IELTS practice tests or by IELTS coaching. The IELTS pattern has become mandatory for those seeking education in foreign countries.

After completing your IELTS registration on the British Council’s main website, users can receive some help in the form of IELTS practice tests and IELTS preparation materials. Other than cramming these materials and learning from the IELTS syllabus, paying some attention to these useful tips is sure to aid you in getting that perfect score.

1. Understand The Structure And Plan Accordingly

The IELTS exam pattern-depending on whether it is academic or general will usually consist of two to four passages for the reading section. As a rule, you should plan which passages to tackle first depending on length, complexity, and number of questions.

As the IELTS test has no specific rules on progressing with the questions in a linear order, you can skip particular questions if needed and move on to the others. This may, however, be different if the test is online.

2. Reading The Listening Section Beforehand

The Listening section in the IELTS exam essentially requires test takers to fill in details from an audio recording to the answer sheet. This can include an audio conversation, descriptions of objects, places, and events or even speeches.

A common mistake is to fill in the first words that correspond to the blanks in the answer sheet and the audio. Instead, skim through the questions for the listening section before the audio begins. This will help in developing some intuition regarding what answers should be filled.

3. Learning Outside The Scope Of The Books

Here’s an essential piece of advice. Instead of merely sticking to the materials provided and books available, gain some knowledge from mass media. Dish out the newspapers and tune into debates on English news channels. Publications like the New York Times and Washington Post are frequently recommended to get an edge on reading.

Another essential thing to consider when preparing for the IELTS exam is to develop a vocabulary to explain substantial sentences in shorter words. Not only does this reflect nicely in the writing sections but also helps in specific questions for synonyms and antonyms.

4. Underline, Underline and Underline

Don’t know a word, underline it? Don’t know what a passage means? Underline it. Can’t find the exact word to use for a listening exercise? Underline it. A simple yet effective tip, underlining difficult words and passages helps maintain the flow of reading through the readings rather than mentally remembering them.

As a rule, you’re allowed to use a pencil for the fillings in the IELTS exam. But if you do choose to use a pen to make the answers more legible, be careful when having to redo or undo inevitable mistakes.

Related Blog: Getting the right mentor is important for cracking IELTS

5. Ignore The Passages

A piece of advice that SAT students utilize from time to time. The mind tends to play tricks on students, especially when several options can seem so similar to each other. In an IELTS academic test, this is best seen from the reading section when passages are only understood after repeated readings.

Instead of jumping straight to the passage. Read the questions first to get an understanding of what’s needed and then start reading the passage.

6. Keep Away Distractions And Disturbances

It’s not surprising to know that even while going through an audio recording, test takers can go adrift and lose their focus altogether. This can usually happen when the test taker is too focused on finding a specific segment of the audio that he or she loses track of all other segments.

As a note, always practice the art of transferring answers and reading. A better alternative is to enhance dictation skills as the listening section in an IELTS exam requires some level of multi-tasking.

7. Plan Out Your Time Efficiently

Remember that while the examiner will remind test takers about the time, it’s best to keep a mental clock about the time that should be devoted to each section. Both the reading and writing sections of the IELTS exam are roughly 40 minutes.

Depending on whether the exam follows an academic or general style, devote no more than 10 minutes on a question(passage or recording) with some minutes for corrections in the end.

Related Blog: IELTS Test 2020-21: 15 Common Myths About Test

8. Follow The Rules Of Subtraction

A crucial adage that is inspired by the works of software development-‘ If it has no use, don’t add it in the design.’ Similarly, if during the reading sections, one is to come across words and phrases that stand out but don’t seem to add anything to the answers, don’t add it straight away.
Always be cautious about using words and phrases that you seem unclear about as this induces the risk of losing points due to incorrect grammar or poor spelling.

9. Themes, Keywords, and Summaries

Right off the bat, a fairly reasonable question would be to develop an idea or summary from the passage or audio recording. This is where vocabulary and excessive sentence skimming is crucial.

Read through the passages and go through the audio recordings not just to grasp a feel of what is being conveyed but which words are being repeated and reused. This will help in answering such complicated questions.

10. Keep In Mind The Accents

While accents are bound to be present in the listening sections, specific reading passages in the IELTS exam can be written to suit a particular style or tone. In the mishmash of words and sentences, it’s not strange to misinterpret phrases and verbiage.

Prepare thoroughly beforehand and listen to English speakers from the Commonwealth nations – including Australia, Canada, as well as the United States.

If this article has helped you chose your own way of IELTS preparation then schedule your IELTS exam and figure out the IELTS test dates at your local test centers, please share it and help others register for the IELTS.

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