Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Accent Identification and Application in the IELTS exam

The IELTS Listening exam is not as simple as it seems. It does not just assess a test taker’s hearing and comprehension skills, but it also evaluates their ability to identify and understand different English accents. Prominent inflections in the countries that include the proficiency test in their immigration qualifications—Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK—are often integrated with the exam.

ielts review center

Enrolling in an IELTS review center can help examinees improve their accent comprehension abilities. These training facilities, such as the IELTS review center in Makati, use test-centered materials to enhance their student’s skills according to the demands of the exam. 

As a test taker, you must not underestimate the accent aspect of the exam. The Listening test only allows examinees to listen to the audio material once. Failure to understand some of the words due to an unfamiliar inflection can affect your score. Thus, it is important to develop an accent-centered Listening practice for your review.

The first step to overcoming this tricky aspect of the exam is by being aware of what inflections are applied in the IELTS exam.

 What accents are included in the IELTS Listening exam?

The audio materials used in the Listening test are voiced by native English speakers with various inflections. Though some of these accents are similar, each has its distinct qualities. These subtle differences may include vowel sounds, syllable emphasis, tone and pronunciations.

Native English accents have many province-specific variations. Here is a list of all the accents as classified according to their country of origin:

o   American English Accents
  •  Northern U.S. 
  • Southern U.S.
o    Canadian English Accents
   British English Accents
  • Northern English
  • Southern English
  • Welsh 
  • Scottish
o    Australian English Accents
o    South African English Accents
o    Kiwi English Accents

What are the best ways to practice accent application?

Listen to audio materials from native English-speaking countries.

o    Newscasts can be considered the best accent review material. A journalist’s foremost job is to deliver the news in a clear and concise manner. Listen to how newscasters report and try to distinguish the different nuances of the accents. News-based materials are also the easiest to find since each country has its news disseminating body.

o    Television programs are the recreational way of learning about accents. Watch television programs that air in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The informal way of communication in these media can help you get used to how the inflections influence everyday conversations.

o    Movies can provide benefits that are similar to those provided by television programs. These materials, especially the mainstream Hollywood films, offer a diverse window to observe various native English accents in a brief timeframe. Observing inflections through these fast-paced media can be tricky though. The accents of the characters are mixed, making it difficult for non-native speakers to determine the origin of the various inflections.

o    IELTS review centers offer an exam-focused review that can guarantee quality results. The specialists of these language training facilities, such as those that teach at the IELTS review center in Makati, not only help you hone your listening comprehension skills but also prepare you for the other components of the exam.

Why is it necessary to study all IELTS native English accents?

Deliberately learning about the English accent that is prominent in the country that you plan to reside in is necessary. However, limiting your studies to these language inflections can be dangerous for your IELTS Listening score.

There is no guarantee that the accent that you will encounter in the exam pertains to the country you wish to travel to. If you are caught unprepared with an unfamiliar accent, there is a huge risk that you will have a hard time understanding the spoken words.

Understanding the recording on the get-go is crucial since you can only listen to the material once. Thus, to maximize your chances of achieving a high band score, it is imperative that you understand all the English accents that could appear in the exam.


  • “IELTS Listening: Understanding Difficult Accents. All Ears English. February 10, 2016. Accessed December 20, 2016. http://ielts.allearsenglish.com/ielts-listening-understanding-difficult-accents/
  • “The Accents Used in the IELTS Listening Exam. IELTS Exams Tips Philippines | IELTS Review Strategies. Accessed December 20, 2016. http://www.ieltsexamstips.com/2013/09/the-accents-used-in-ielts-listening-exam.html
  • “IELTS Listening: English Accents.” IELTS Academic. October 31, 2016. Accessed December 20, 2016. http://ielts-academic.com/2015/10/31/ielts-listening-english-accents/
  • “IELTS Listening: Help! I don’t understand the accent!” blog.ieltspractice. October 28, 2016.  Accessed December 20, 2016. http://blog.ieltspractice.com/ielts-listening-help-i-dont-understand-the-accent/


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