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How to Improve Your IELTS Listening Score

improve ielts listening scoreMaybe you’ve already taken the IELTS and want to boost your listening score. Or maybe you’ve noticed that on your IELTS practice tests, your listening score is bringing your overall score down. After all, like the other sections on the IELTS, IELTS listening scores range from 1-9 (“non-user” to “expert”). The listening score band is averaged with your scores from the other three sections (Reading, Writing, and Speaking) to give you a final score band that will either be a whole band (like 7, 8, 9) or a half-band (like 6.5, 7.5, 8.5).

IELTS Listening Scores

IELTS Listening scores use the same band scale as the rest of the exam, as follows:

IELTS Band ScoreSkill Level
8Very good
3Extremely limited

So if you are struggling with the IELTS listening test, it can be really helpful to your overall score to improve your performance. Here are some suggestions and resources on how to improve your IELTS listening score. Just take a minute to browse this post and learn useful tips!
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#1 Get familiar with questions and scoring

First and foremost, you should understand the basic information about the test. They help you learn how your score is calculated and what kinds of skills are assessed in the test. Read our post on IELTS scoring and IELTS listening question types to learn the scoring process and common question types you may meet in the listening test.

#2 Get familiar with accents

As I have already mentioned in another post on how to improve listening, you need to get used to the British accent as well as other main accents to get through the listening test. Also, check out David’s post on IELTS listening accents to learn more information on the accents.

#3 Distinguish between similar sounds

Some students have trouble in distinguishing similar sounds because their native languages don’t have certain sounds. Because of this problem, they get wrong information and wrong answers. Do some minimal pairs practice to avoid these mistakes.

Examples of similar sounds: /i/and /i:/, /e/and /æ/, /u/and/u, /a:/ and /ʌ/.

#4 Predict

Predicting information is essential for getting high scores in IELTS listening test. Sometimes, it helps you to get correct answers even before listening to the recording. Take a look at the detailed explanations and examples in the post on IELTS listening section 1 tips and section 4 tips to learn how to predict answers. To improve this skill, you need to practice with practice tests as much as you can.

#5 Pay attention to linking words and repeated information

Pay attention to linking words such as firstly, next, moreover, etc. They indicate different relationships between words such as addition and contrast. Usually, important information comes after them, so you need to listen carefully.

The repeated words are sometimes the key words in the recording. Pay attention these words because they could be the right answer.

#6 Expand your vocabulary

No matter which skill is assessed, you need enough vocabulary to succeed in the test. Expanding your vocabulary helps you to better understand information and give correct answers. Some students hate learning new words because it is boring to memorize word lists.  Actually, there is some fun in learning new words. Check out the post on five fun ways to learn English vocabulary!

#7 Practice

You should spend some time on practicing listening skills every day. You can do practice tests, listen to radios, and watch movies. Focus on the listening material and try your best to understand every single detail. If you don’t get something, replay it as many times as you need to understand it. It definitely improves your listening skill!

Ready to put these tips into action? Check out our IELTS Listening practice test video below. You’ll be able to practice, and get comfortable with the test format. Good luck!

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