Ace Your IELTS Listening With These Tips

What is IELTS? What does Listening in the IELTS exam mean? Why is it so important? You see, IELTS is not just any regular exam to crack. It is a pathway to your future education. There are many English proficiency tests; IELTS, TOEFL, PTE. However, IELTS remains the most common and idle choice.

 IELTS is an English language proficiency test, primarily used as an admission criterion for foreign post-graduation courses. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council (BC), IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. The test is recognised in 140+ countries and acknowledged by over 9,000 institutes worldwide. There are two types of IELTS; IELTS Academics and IELTS General Training. Both exams are graded the same way. And there are four parts of the IELTS exam; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

IELTS Listening Section

The IELTS Listening section takes about 30 minutes and an added 10 minutes to transfer your answers into the answer sheet. The entire section offers 40 marks, and each question carries one mark. A clear understanding of the English language is not enough to score quality marks in the listening section. You may get a perfect score in the reading and writing section, but when it comes to listening and speaking, your comprehension skills matter most.

The purpose of the Listening section of IELTS is to test your various listening skills. You have to figure out the gist of the passage, the ultimate meaning, word placement and synonyms etc. You should be able to identify distractions. If you can comprehend a speech, you should be able to get past other exam hurdles.

Tips For Acing IELTS Listening Section

Voice is much more compressible than text. But at the same time, it takes a better understanding of the language and an optimal state of mind. Sure, you can get guides and courses regarding how to prepare for IELTS or specific sections of IELTS. But apart from standard preparation, some directions are needed to consider. So here are some tips to ace your Listening section of the IELTS exam:

Precision Is The Key

The listening aspect of the IELTS exam is 30 minutes. You do not get a second chance to listen to it again. So you need to make the best out of one attempt. Without precision, you stand no chance to clear it. You can have multiple looks for the reading or writing section, but 30 minutes is all you have to comprehend. All you have to do is to prepare for it as per your preference. Build your precision and comprehension skills by going through various types of exercises. It does not matter what they are; make them different.

You can channelise your listening skills by listening to podcasts, narratives or people speaking. But content here is mere content, nothing else. The section consists of; everyday English conversation, a one-person monologue, 2-4 people conversation in an academic setting, and a monologue on an academic topic.

Synonyms Are Important

If you have not tried any IELTS preparation guide or course, know that synonyms are crucial for IELTS. Not just for the Listening section but all other three sections as well. In the Writing and Speaking section, you are expected to present your knowledge of synonyms. In the Reading and Listening section, many questions are regarding synonyms. Questions can be direct synonyms related or indirect. For example, a different approach can be asked to explain or in a sentence related to the content.

For instance, a question can be to define the word as a concept. Or the question can use a synonym of a word in a sentence. For example, the phrase is ’Colonel explained the consequences of code red.’ You can be either asked to explain the consequences in a word or two. Or it can be ’What was briefed about?’ You have to determine the question structure to answer it correctly. A lack of synonym knowledge, just understanding the questions can be an issue.

Think In English

While you try to figure out an answer or the content in your mother tongue, your precision and understanding keep drifting a bit by bit. It is seen in many cases that to understand a language better, you need to act on it. And it does not limit to speaking. So when you evaluate anything in your mind, do it in English. No matter whether you are in a practice session or an actual test. You will not have enough time to think once you are in an exam.

Do not try to convert or translate your thoughts in English; instead, do everything in English. When you translate something from any language (Hindi) to English, you unconsciously focus on two languages. It takes time, and it breaks optimal concentration. But, it is only a small matter of time when you get used to it. And once you grab control over it, everything becomes easy.

Practice What You Like

When it comes to your schedule plan, do not consider only academic and technical subjects. Pick subjects like movies travel podcasts, news anchoring, monologues etc. It all comes down to your ability to grasp the gist of the content. If you focus on some particular detail too much, you will lose your whole subject of comprehension. Include content of your preference. If you like movies, go through them without visuals. Try music podcasts for training. It all comes down to your ability to comprehend speech.

The listening section of IELTS does not evaluate your knowledge but rather your comprehension. So focus most of your energy on understanding and identifying distractions. You must be able to summarise and pick up crucial details after listening. Try to include some noisy and disturbing speeches in your practice sessions.


Listening and speaking are crucial aspects of a language. While speaking, you demonstrate your ability to communicate, and while listening, you show your comprehension. If you can understand a language is a form of speech, it ultimately provides a pathway to master the language. Therefore, the IELTS Listening section evaluates your English understanding and comprehension, not your knowledge or expertise.

Author Bio

Abhyank Srinet is a passionate digital entrepreneur who holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe. He started his first company while he was still studying at ESCP, and managed to scale it up by 400% in just 2 years. 

Being a B-School Alumni, he recognized the need for a one-stop solution for B-School to get in touch with schools and get their application queries resolved. This prompted him to create MiM-Essay, a one-of-a-kind portal with cutting edge profile evaluation and school selection algorithms, along with several avenues to stay informed about the latest B-School Updates.