IELTS Exam Specific Tips: Part 3

Tips for IELTS Listening Exam

1. Do not give more than one answer in a gap. Otherwise, it will be marked as a wrong answer. In IELTS listening fill in the gaps type questions, you are expected to write a single answer even if more than one answers are correct.

2. If you are unsure of the spelling of a word, write an approximation of the way the answer sounds. Sometimes you can copy it from the exam booklet itself. It's always a wise idea to look at the question paper to find the word to be sure about the spelling.

3. Listen to the instructions because they tell you which questions you should read before listening and answer while listening. If you do not read the instruction, you might fall into a trap to answer a question incorrectly.

4. In order to stay focused, try to listen ‘actively’, i.e. predict what you are going to listen and what you need to list from the questions. Most of the mistakes are made by the candidates because of the lack of focus. If you find yourself distracted from the listening, put your attention back immediately.

5. In labelling questions, following both the questions and the chart might be confusing. You just need to follow the number or the letter logically in order not to be lost or confused.

6. Do not use the time between sections to transfer your answers because there will be 10 minutes at the end to transfer them.

7. Listen in chunks. It is not necessary to understand every single word to be able to answer the questions.

8. Practice listening to the media like watching the BBC. This is important not only to develop your listening skill but also to develop your language in general.

9. In gap-filling questions, be aware that some of the answers may come quickly one after the other.

10. Check that your answers are given in grammatically correct English. For example, if there is the article ‘a’ before the gap, it means that you have to supply the answer in a singular form. If not, it means that the answer will be either plural or an uncountable noun.

11. In multiple-choice questions, before the passage is played, or as you listen, circle the topic of each question in order to stay focused.

12. Pay attention to capital letters like names of people, months, places (hotels, cities, countries, etc.)

13. In almost every IELTS listening test, you have to write dates at least once. The simplest way to write a date is to write the number and the month as in (15 July).

14. If you miss something, do not worry. Otherwise, you will miss other things.

15. Always write numbers as figures rather than letters in order to save time and to avoid spelling mistakes.

16. While listening and answering, it is not necessary to write the words in full. This will help you save time to focus on answering the other questions. You exam booklet will not be marked.

17. In labelling questions, following both the question and the chart might be confusing. You just need to follow the number or the letter logically in order not to be lost or confused.

18. When writing down letters, do not confuse them such as (k & q), (j & g), etc.

19. If you see a complicated question, spend the time given to look at questions in order to examine it carefully.

20. Make sure that you include suitable units if not included in the answer sheet. Examples of units are like cm, $, am, pm, etc. If you need to write one of the letters that have similar forms in both capital and small cases (like k and K, c and C), make sure that they are big enough, etc.

21. A common mistake is confusing 80 with 90, 18th with 19th, etc.

22. While listening and following on the exam sheet, you need to be patient and not to hurry things up writing down the first possible answer you hear. Often the speaker changes his or her mind and makes a correction before giving the answer that you need or someone else corrects him/her.

23. Capitalise the names of sections/departments related to institutions like (Computer Lab, Students’ Toilet, Staff Room, etc.)

24. The example done at the beginning of each IELTS listening question can be useful as an example of how to write the rest of the answers like whether to capitalise or not.

25. When the speaker is about to say a number or the spelling of a proper noun, get ready to listen carefully and write quickly.

26. In both reading and listening, you should consider the following when transferring answers into the answer sheet

"Spelling", "Grammar" & "Transferring the answers to their correct places".


Tips for IELTS Speaking Exam

1. It is important that you are relaxed when taking this test. It is understandable that you will be under considerable tension created by the examination situation. Nevertheless, take a deep breath, and try to look self-assured. The examiner is trying to assess your language communication capabilities. He/she will not be able to assess you unless you speak up. The test is designed to give you ample chance to answer a variety of questions. It does not matter if all the things that you say are not true.

2. Answer in complete sentences. Keep talking until the examiner interrupts you or goes to the next question. Start speaking within the time it takes one to count to 5. If you need time to think, say something like- "That's an interesting question." or just repeat the question in a form like "You'd like me to tell you about (...topic...)."

3. It is important that you relax and speak as confidently as you can. Candidates who are difficult to draw into the conversation may not achieve their potential band score simply because they haven't been able to demonstrate the level of language they are capable of producing.

4. Questions are in the form of yes/no questions, but they are not. You always need to expand by giving details, justifications, and examples.

5. Prepare several stories that can be fitted into different questions.

6. Try to give examples from things you are familiar with and easy for you to talk about in English

7. The speaking section is not a test of your general knowledge; rather, it is a test of your English. That is why do not care about getting the right ideas because this might affect your fluency.

8. The more information you give about a topic, the easier it will be for the examiner to hold a conversation, and the more impressed he or she will be with your fluency. Therefore, avoid one-word answers such as 'yes'/ 'no'.


While taking the IELTS test, many non-native English speakers do not properly join two sentences. The proper use of connectives mentioned below will be helpful.

Familiarity with these words would be useful in all IELTS test modules. Common connective words indicating:

Addition: In addition, and, similarly, likewise, as well as, besides, furthermore, also, moreover, and, then, too, not only ... but/ but also, even, besides, this, that etc.

Sequence: First(ly), initially, second(ly), to begin with, then, next, earlier/later, after this/that, following this/ that, afterwards etc.

Consequence: As a result, thus, so, therefore, consequently, it follows that, thereby, eventually, then, in that case, admittedly etc.

Certainty: Obviously, certainly,  plainly, of course, undoubtedly etc.

Condition: If, unless, whether, provided that, for, so that, depending on, only if, providing that etc.

Definition: Is refers to, means, that is, consists of etc.

Summary: In conclusion, in summary, lastly, finally,  to sum up, to conclude,  to recapitulate, in short, etc.

Example: For instance, one example, for example, just as, in particular, such as, namely, to illustrate etc.

Reason: Since, as, so, because (of), due to, owing to, the reason, why, in other words, leads to cause etc.

Time: Before, since, as, until, meanwhile, at the moment, when, whenever, as soon as, just as etc.

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Manish Jagga
Hi all, I have read all these quite often here. I would appreciate if someone could help me with the listening section. I face trouble in section 2 from Q. 17 - Q. 21 mostly. Please advise someone. I shall be thankful for your advice.