Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Listening

Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Listening

Sun Apr 16 2023 Ahmed Raza

You must listen to a number of recordings for this exam section in order to complete the questions that follow. While the listening portion of the test can be challenging, many test-takers waste points here by making cliched errors.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common mistakes to avoid in IELTS Listening and provide tips on how to improve your performance in this section of the test.

IELTS listening

Listening Test Format:

The IELTS listening test consists of four sections, each featuring a different listening passage. Section 1 is a conversation between two speakers in a social context; section 2 is a monologue in a social context. Section 3 is a conversation between up to four speakers in an educational or training context, and section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject.

Each segment of the recordings lasts about 10 minutes and is only played once. Each part will be followed by a set of questions on the recording, with time provided for you to examine your responses. The purpose of the test is to evaluate your capacity to comprehend spoken English in a range of scenarios, from casual conversation to academic lectures. You can raise your chances of succeeding on the IELTS listening test by being familiar with the test format and practicing using sample tests.

There are several question types in the IELTS Listening test. Below is a list of the most common question types:


  • Multiple Choice
  • Matching
  • Plan, Map, Diagram Labeling
  • Form Completion
  • Note Completion
  • Completion
  • Flowchart Completion
  • Sentence Completion

There may be variations or combinations of these question types as well. It’s important to read the instructions and question prompts carefully to understand what is being asked.

Common Mistake to Avoid:

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to the instructions

One of the most common mistakes test-takers make in the IELTS listening section is failing to pay close enough attention to the instructions. The instructions should be carefully read because they will offer critical information about what you must accomplish and how to approach the questions.

You might be told, for instance, to write no more than three words for each response. You won’t get credit for that answer if you write more than three words. Use the proper spelling for each response, which is another regular rule. You will not be given points for that response if you spell a word incorrectly.

Mistake #2: Focusing too much on individual words

Another mistake that test-takers make in the IELTS listening section is focusing too much on individual words. It’s important to pay close attention to the words that are uttered in the recordings, but it’s equally critical to understand what is being said generally. This requires paying great attention to the recording’s intonation, tone, and context.

For example, if you are asked to identify the speaker’s opinion on a particular topic, you need to focus on the overall message conveyed in the recording, rather than just looking for a particular word or phrase that might indicate the speaker’s opinion.

Mistake #3: Failing to use the time given to review your answers

Another common mistake that test-takers make is failing to use the time given to review their answers. After each set of recordings, you are given some time to review your answers and make any necessary changes. This time is crucial, as it allows you to check for spelling errors, ensure that you have followed the instructions correctly, and make any other changes that you feel are necessary.

Mistake #4: Not practicing enough

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes that test-takers make in the IELTS listening section is not practicing enough. The more you practice listening to spoken English, the better you will become at comprehending it. This means listening to a variety of accents and speaking styles, as well as practicing with sample IELTS listening tests.

Written By:

-Ahmed Raza is a contributing writer at Edify Group of Companies. He is also an experienced IELTS and PTE instructor. He has passion for teaching, writing and instructional design. He graduated from UET and embarked on the journey of teaching English Language tests afterwards.



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