3 Tips for IELTS Listening

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Learn how to improve your listening in 3 easy steps, and improve your IELTS band score for listening.

It doesn’t matter if you are doing general training or academic IELTS, here are 3 tips for IELTS listening to help you improve your IELTS score in listening.

Do you find it difficult to write and listen at the same time?

Do you need help finding the place in the listening where they give the answer to one of the questions?

Are there words that sound very different to the way you write them?

This blog will help you with all these questions in 3 easy tips.

Listen for Signposting Words

Signposting words are the words (or phrases) a speaker or writer uses to show they are moving from one stage, or topic, to the next one.



Today we are going to talk about…
We are going to cover 3 topics…

Introducing the 1st section


I’ll start by talking about…

Starting a new section


Let’s move onto…

Finishing the talk

To sum up…



You are allowed to read the questions in the IELTS exam before the listening starts, so you will have an idea of what topic is going to be talked about.

Listening for signposting words will show you when to move to the next question.

For more information about signposting, including examples and practise activities check out IELTS buddy.

Practice different types of listening

You do need to do practise IELTS tests, but it is important to do a variety of listenings, from different contexts and with different accents.

This will help you improve your listening score.

It is important to use websites that have reliable subtitles, so you can check you understand correctly.

YouTube is good when you want to watch videos to relax, but the subtitles are not very good.

Below are 2 websites that have good subtitles.

Ted Talks are lots of formal talks on academic subjects that all have accurate subtitles and transcripts.  The talks are about 20 minutes long.

TedEd is similar to the main Ted Talk website however the talks here are only about 5  minutes long.

This website is from an American talk show. The videos are short. There is a good variety of accents as the host is american, but the celebrities she interviews are from all over the world.

Practise Listening and Writing at the Same Time

It can be difficult to listen to English, find the answer and write it down all at the same time. You definitely need to practise this. 

You can use the websites I gave you in tip 2, or any other websites you know with accurate subtitles or transcripts.

Listen to about 10-20 seconds of the video, without subtitles and write down every word you hear.

You can repeat it as many times as you want, until you are happy you have every word written down.

Then listen again with the subtitles and check your answer.

Make any corrections to your written sentences.

Listen one more time and read the subtitles.

Pay attention to any words that link to other words in the sentence. You should also focus on words that sound very different to how they are written.

This strategy works best if you do it once every day (5-10 minutes). Your listening will improve very quickly if you do this regularly.

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If you want more help with listening in English, IELTS or any other problems you have with English, book a consultation with us.

You can also read our other blogs on improving your overall English listening skills or on how to pass an exam like IELTS.


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