In this post, we will look at some simple activities to help you develop four listening skills, each crucial to doing well in the IELTS Listening test.
The good thing is that you already use these skills every day in real life in your own language(s).
Four crucial listening skills for success
The 4 skills are ‘anticipation’, ‘active, targeted listening’, ‘thinking/preparing’ and ‘noticing’.
Anticipation: In real life we usually know what we’re listening to and why, so we have some expectations about what we will hear.
Active targeted listening: For example, in contexts like airport departure lounges you naturally screen out all unnecessary information to hear your own flight call.
Thinking/preparing: This skill relates particularly to meetings at work or seminars at college or university. You know in advance who is going to speak and what they will speak about. So, you know ahead of the talk what notes you need to make that are relevant to you.
Noticing: Another innate skill. In casual conversation, if a friend says ‘Oh, by the way . . .’, we know they are about to add new or different information. Similarly, in a lecture, if the speaker says, ‘Now, let’s turn to . . .’, we know this signals a change of focus.
You need to transfer the same abilities to the IELTS Listening test. Here are some things you can practise to help you transfer these skills to answering questions in the IELTS Listening test.
In the IELTS Listening test, you have 30 seconds before each of the four Parts of the test to look at the questions before the audio starts. You also have a further 20-30 seconds in the middle of Parts 1, 2 and 3. You should use this time to anticipate/predict topics that might arise, and the type of information you need to answer the question.
Anticipating the topics
There are some ‘typical’ scenarios that occur in Part 1 in one form or another. Here are some examples:
- A job interview = Looking for a part-time job
- Opening a bank account = Arranging accommodation
- Attending a conference = Arranging a holiday