How to Improve Listening Skills in English

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English Listening Skills Practice

Listening can be one of the most difficult skills. There are so many accents, and how people speak in real life can be very different to the listenings you do in the classroom. One of the problems is finding videos with good subtitles. Here, I will talk about how to improve your listening skills, and your confidence in 3 easy steps.

1. Little and Often

It is important to practice listening regularly for short periods of time. Try to spend 10-15 minutes, 4-5 days a week.

Watch a short video without subtitles and make notes of the general topics. Then watch again with subtitles and check your notes. Did you miss anything?

Extension: When you watch the second time you can make note of any vocabulary you don’t know, and look it up in a dictionary when the video is finished.

2. Different Accents

When you practice listening it is important to include many different accents, this is like real life. So when you watch videos/listen to podcasts listen to Americans, English, Canadians…

If you work, for example, only with Americans you can focus on this accent, but you should still listen to some other accents too.

3. Pronunciation Helps Listening

When you watch something with subtitles, it is a good idea to make note of any words that sound different to how they are written. Keep a notebook, and make a table like this:

chart for practicing English listening - written word, sounds like, want to, wanna - learn English on the internet

Then next time you hear “wanna” you will know it means “want to”. All English speakers connect their words in sentences, and this will help you understand it is not one word, but two words connected.

Do You Have Any Questions?

Good Websites to Practice English Listening

Practicing at home between your lessons is very important to improve your listening skills in English. Here are some great websites and apps that you can use for your self-study.

  • News stories for any level 
  • Elementary = level 0-1, intermediate = level 3-4, advanced = level 6

This website is good because you can listen at 5 different speeds. Start with the slowest and then listen to a faster one. You can also get the text to read while you listen.

Breaking News English above lesson count
Breaking News English
TedEd Logo - Learn English on the Internet
  • Video lessons where you can learn about any topic. 
  • Good for upper-intermediate and advanced.

This website is good because it has subtitles and is helps to develop your formal vocabulary. Also all the videos are short (about 5 minutes). If you want longer videos go to Ted Talks.

  • Celebrity interviews with American presenter Ellen Degeneres.
  • For all levels (elementary to Advanced).

This website is good because it has good subtitles, and natural conversations. Ellen also interviews celebrities from different countries so you will hear different accents.


  • Activities and games
  • Good for all levels (elementary to Advanced).

This app is really good because you can practice all skills, but in the listening section it starts slow and gets faster to see your level. Then it asks you questions.

How Lessons Can Help Your Listening

Taking classes with a native speaker is a great way to practice speaking. There is no better way to get used to listening to English than to talk with someone who speaks it as their first language.


In classes we will also practice your listening skills with songs, videos, and short podcasts. 

Do you questions? Ask us in the comments.


And when you’re ready – book a consultation or a trial lesson with us.

Ready to improve your listening?

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