Thursday, December 22, 2016

Five Test Techniques for the IELTS Listening Exam

You should not underestimate the Listening component of the IELTS exam. While its goal of accurate evaluation is simple, the test is chock-full of subtle and well-placed linguistic challenges that assess more than just your listening skills. For instance, it forces examinees to rely solely on their listening abilities. Test takers have to listen to four audio materials of English native speakers with various accents. The topics and degrees of formality involved range from social conversations to academic discussions. Examinees must, therefore, simultaneously listen to the recordings, take down key notes and write their answers on the question paper in 30 minutes (allocated time).

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Keen listening skills and excellent multitasking abilities are needed to ace this exam.

As an exam taker, you can develop these techniques by regular training or by enrolling in an IELTS review center. The IELTS review centers of Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Makati and Manila not only assess your current listening abilities but also improve them significantly. The specialists of these review facilities can also help you prepare for the other components of the exam. To help you tackle this section effectively, here are five techniques that you can do when answering the Listening component of the IELTS exam:

1.    Before anything else, read and predict. 
Read the questionnaire first before listening to the audio materials. The test is specially developed so that the answers turn up in the same order as they are mentioned in the recording. By having an idea of what to listen to, you can determine necessary information from the materials faster.

Meanwhile, for the multiple choice questions of section three of the exam, do not just read the questions but predict the topic and guess the answers. Underline the keywords in the questions and choices. Try to figure out the subject based on given information.  If the item presents a blank spot, predict which part of speech (noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, etc.) is the answer.
2.    Multitask! Keep track, listen carefully and take down notes.
Carefully monitor the item numbers as the audio material advances. Remember that the questions are arranged as their answers appear in the recordings, so it is crucial that you keep pace. It will spell disaster for your score if you lose track of which item number the material is currently at.

Pinpoint key terms in the questions and underline them. Keep these words in mind as you listen to the recordings. Do not stop listening when you find the answer. Understand the statements by its parts and as a whole.

For future reference, jot down all significant information you hear. Do not record everything that the speakers said. Though word-for-word notes are preferable for its accuracy, writing down everything can cause you to fall behind in the audio material.
3.    Do not panic over difficult questions—guess and move on.
Remember that while it is best not to leave any blanks, you do not need to answer all the items to achieve a high band score. The developers of the IELTS strategically scatter difficult questions throughout the exam. Do not let such challenging items derail you. Just jot down the possible answer and move on to the next number.
4.    Your memory is a feeble thing, so write down your answers. 
Do not put off writing your answers in the answer sheet. Write down all your answers.

It does not matter if it is in cue words or nonsensical phrases; make sure you jot down enough notes to establish information for later elaboration. Remember that each audio material tackles a different topic. If you leave writing the answers till the last few minutes, you risk forgetting or misplacing correct information. Moreover, there are times when the speaker contradicts his/her initial statements as the recording progresses. Be on the lookout for these instances.
5.    Follow instructions and recheck everything!
Simply put, not following the directions can nullify your answers. Specific sections in the Listening exam, for instance, have word count limitations. Go over the specified number and your answer, no matter if correct, will not be considered. The same applies to your spelling, number usage and grammar. Most test takers overlook mistakes on subject-verb agreement and use of appropriate articles (a, an, the).
The Listening component is the first test in the IELTS exam. Do not risk losing your momentum and prepare for it. Enrolling in an IELTS review center is one of the most effective study methods. Instructors of these training facilities know the ins and outs of the entire exam. Specialists of the IELTS review center in Baguio, for instance, can give you pointers not just for the Listening part, but also for the Reading, Writing and Speaking sections.

All in all, acing the Listening exam is all about keeping ahead of the audio materials. To avoid falling behind, you have to read the questions beforehand. Listen not just for the answers but take time to also process information. Take down notes for future reference and write down all your answers. Pay special attention to the instructions and recheck everything. Practice these techniques, and you are guaranteed of a high band score for this exam.


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