If you are taking the IELTS, one of the most common questions that you may have is about the speaking section and listening accents. Most test-takers want to know what accents to expect from the listening test. Some also have questions on how they should deal with their native accents when speaking English. Therefore, it is advisable to get well acquainted with the IELTS test format to know what to expect in the test well before appearing for it. The IELTS listening test is an integral part of the overall test, and your performance in it could make or mar your hopes of scoring well.

What To Expect

Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests have four sections which include:

  1. Two conversations, one of which is between two people in the backdrop of a regular social situation, and the other is between 2-4 people. The scenario could be educational or training-oriented.
  2. Two monologues, one of which will set against the backdrop of a regular social situation, while the other is based on an academic topic.

Different Kind Of Accents

The IELTS is an international test, and therefore, a test-taker must expect a variety of English accents to be featured: ranging from Australian, New Zealand, British, or North American accents. Also, a test-taker may hear different voices on the listening test. Please note that these are standardized accents that you shall be exposed to if you take the IELTS. These are, of course, accents spoken in urban centres, and not regional ones, which comes as a respite to test-takers. For instance, the British English you will hear will be the London standard or something close to it. The Australian accent you will listen to will be the ones most heard in places like Sydney. Further, the North American accent will the US standard, instead of the Canadian standard. In case you hear a Canadian accent, it will most probably be urban too, most likely a Vancouver or Toronto accent, which is closer to the US ones, and thereby reasonably neutral without much of a provincial/regional touch. What is of particular note is that while accents in IELTS listening are diverse, the British accent is quite common.

How To Prepare For Different Accents

One can train themselves to listen to and decipher the various accents, by watching documentaries online in the different accents mentioned above.  One can also check online for videos and listening exercises with speakers with different accents. Radio programs, especially those from Australia, Canada, New Zealand can go a long way in developing a natural understanding of those accents. News programs, films, sit-coms are also useful. Aspirants could also consider speaking in and listening to English every day, in situations as diverse as conceivable. With continued practice, it will only be a matter of time, before one can see some improvement in language and the ability to understand different accents. You can also try listening to different types of music, and attempt to understand the lyrics without help. The same exercise can be carried out by listening to hard-to-understand accents from movies. One may also practice listening to parts of a film without subtitles, pause the movie, and then try writing down the dialogues. Word to word. One can check the results by now playing the clip with subtitles. If there are any problematic sounds that one finds hard to understand, then one can practice listening to and saying those sounds repeatedly till the time one is comfortable with them.

Stick To Your Accent

While it might be tempting to alter your English accent to improve your IELTS speaking test score, experts suggest that instead of trying to change your accent, one should concentrate on enriching vocabulary, enhancing the organization of ideas, and speaking at a natural pace, keeping in mind the correct pronunciation, stress, and intonation. The key is to be able to communicate effectively to the examiner, and there is no need to fake an accent, as long as you are speaking with clarity with the correct pronunciations. Spend some time every day listening to different accents online, and familiarise yourself with them. Don''t fret and waste time in working on changing your accent just for the test. Speaking in a natural manner should be the focus of the aspirant.

Let''s recap the tips and strategies that we have shared with you in this blog:

  1. The IELTS listening test has four sections, which include two conversations and two monologues.
  2. The accents you can expect in the IELTS test are British, Canadian, American, Kiwi, and Australian.
  3. You can get IELTS speaking practice by listening to country-specific radio stations online, or by making use other resources available online like movies, sit-coms, and the like.
  4. You should stick to your natural accent, not attempt to alter it, and only focus on your vocabulary, organization of ideas, pronunciation, and effective communication.

At IELTS Tutorials, we have years of expertise in providing test-takers with the necessary insights, inputs, and enough practice to empower them to ace the all-important test, thereby enabling them to follow their dreams of studying abroad. If you want help in improving your IELTS preparation, or for IELTS listening practice with the help of experts, then sign up for a FREE demo coaching class today!

Previous BlogNext Blog