Just like some other candidates do you also find IELTS Listening more stressful than IELTS Reading?

If yes, we guess only this could be the reason!

In IELTS Reading test, you have the text in front of you. So, you can refer to it as many times as you want. But, in IELTS Listening test, you hear the recording only once. You cannot rewind it or go back to listen it again. This is what exactly makes listening more difficult than reading for some aspirants.

This post of ours is all about the common mistakes that candidates make on the Listening paper and the strategies to avoid them.


1.  Listening The Audio Blindly

Here, ‘listening blindly’ refers to listening the audio without knowing what information you will get from it. This will put you in a state where you will be unable to identify the correct answer.

So, you must read the given instructions properly, look for clues, and determine the context of the audio that you are going to listen. Further, reading the questions beforehand will also help you recognise the correct information easily while listening to the audio.


2.  Avoiding Use Of Prediction Skills

IELTS Predictions

Apart from understanding the audio in context and knowing the clues, it is equally important to predict some sort of information before the audio begins. You should be able to predict –

  • The kind of audio you are going to listen
  • Specific information that the question demands you to find

Without prediction, it may get difficult for you to find your response from the audio.

Underlining the key points or keywords can help you predict. When the audio is being played, you need to concentrate where the keywords or its synonyms and paraphrases are used. You might find your answer somewhere in that part of the audio.


3.  Losing Your Focus

It might be possible that you come across a question that leaves you in a state of dilemma and you are unable to get the answer. This could lead you to distraction and thus, you end up losing your concentration. So, it is advisable that you don’t stick to one question.

Not able to find an answer? Just stay calm & head on to the next question.

Leaving one question won’t cost you more than one mark. So, don’t panic if any such situation occurs in your IELTS Test.


4.  Avoiding Distractors

Usually, distractors are used in exam to trick the candidates. They are actually wrong answers that appear right. But, in IELTS Listening module, you should not avoid distractors. Instead, you must pay more attention to them.

This might happen while the audio is being played – a speaker will speak one sentence and then at the other moment he will correct himself. You must be quick at identifying this distractor else you would end up giving wrong answer. Similar is the case with Multiple Choice Questions. You listen to a list of options out of which only one is correct. Thus, you must stay attentive!


5.  Ignoring The Given Instructions

ignoring instruction

Ignoring the instructions of any questions types asked in IELTS Exam is not accepted. Firstly, you must read the instructions, then the questions and write answers accordingly.

Suppose, the given instructions read ‘answer in no more than two words’. Then, you are strictly required to write either one word or two words. You won’t be scored if you write your response in three words.

Let’s consider the below example.

Complete the sentence below, using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

The number of stocks have fallen across the world as well as in the USA.

The number of stocks have fallen all over the world as well as in the USA.

Thus, make sure that you do exactly what the instructions demand you to do.


6.  Making Spelling Mistakes

Wondering, do spellings matter?

Yes, obviously!

Any word spelled incorrectly will be marked wrong. You will also lose marks if you misspell the names of places, cities, countries or addresses, if mentioned in the audio. So, listen to the audio properly and then provide your response.


7.  Making Grammatical Errors

Grammar Errors

Grammar mistakes are also taken into consideration while marking your answers. If you have written ‘singular’ in place of ‘plural’ i.e. if you missed ‘s’, it will cost you marks. Similar is the case with the use of countable and uncountable nouns. Hence, be careful with the use of Grammar.


8.  Leaving Blank Answers

In IELTS Listening module, you won’t lose marks for wrong replies. If you don’t know the answer, you can make a guess. There are two reasons for doing this –

  • You don’t lose points if the response is wrong
  • If you leave a blank space, you might write the right answer in a wrong place later on. This may get you into trouble.

So, it is better to guess rather than leaving blanks.


9.  Writing On The Answer Sheet While Listening The Audio

Remember, you get to hear the audio only once in the IELTS Listening test. Thus, it is important that you neither get distracted nor miss the information.

However, shuffling from your question paper to answer sheet while listening to the audio is not feasible. It consumes more time, confuses you at times and also distracts you. Keeping it simple, don’t read, hear and write simultaneously.

You are given 10 extra minutes to transfer your responses onto the answer sheet once the audio is completed. Thus, it is recommended that you utilize the given time to transfer responses and avoid writing them while listening to the audio.


Conman Mistake in ielts


Ensure that IELTS Test day is not the first time you are appearing for the listening module. Try to attempt IELTS Listening practice tests while undergoing test preparation at IELTS Tutorials. Get familiar with different question types, learn different strategies to solve them and ace the actual test with your desired score.




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