Introduction to the Listening Section

WWW.INSHORE.IN

 

What is the Listening section?

Hello, everyone, I am Resham, and through this blog, I will be explaining to you the Listening section in detail, and of course, give you the answers to those two questions.

Before I take you further, I need you to ask yourself this – Is the kind of effort you are, or plan to put in to understand this section enough?

If the answer to that question is “No”, then this blog is for you

The very first step, before everything else is to prepare your mind for the many mistakes that you will make while attempting questions from this section. Do not expect yourself to come up with all the correct answers during the first few days. That is like seeking perfection and saying that exercise is too exhausting. To get results, you will need to endure failures, something that is an inevitable part of your learning process.

Once that is taken care of, the next step on path to a higher score is understanding various accents from around the world, such as – American, British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand. You will listen to variety of them in the audios and let me remind you that our Indian accent is very neutral compared to others, also, it takes a while to get used to the speed and the pronunciations as you attempt the questions. One of the easiest ways to counter this issue is to search online for various national radio stations of these countries, and try to listen to them. Keep this practice going for quite a while. You can take notes while listening to these, since that will help you increasing your handwriting speed.

The Listening Section consists of 4 audios – 40 questions, that need to be answered in a span of 30 minutes. I will now explain to you the audios and their nature in detail:

Audio 1 : The first audio will always have two speakers (a dialogue), with each of them giving you equal number of answers. We call this a social audio, because this contains a conversation about any social topic or everyday situations. For example, a person calling up the sports complex and inquiring about the various facilities

Audio 2 : The second audio will be a monologue, that is, only one person speaking. Also called a social audio. A typical example of this is a tour guide talking about some heritage site, a company or an organisation, etc.

Audio 3 : The third audio is a discussion between 2 or more speakers, typically about anything relating to academics, which is why the third audio is called an academic audio. Each speaker will have a different voice, and giving you equal number of answers. This one, however, will be tougher than the previous two audios, with answers coming at shorter, or longer intervals (when the students often start panicking, because the audio continues, and there is no answer for a while. Therefore it is important that you look for the keywords in the questions) Pay close attention to what you hear, which should always be your primary goal.

Audio 4 : The toughest of all is the fourth audio, a monologue, also called an academic audio, you will typically hear a professor delivering a lecture on an academically informative topic. The language, of course, just like other audios will be different from what you read in the questions. You will be listening to synonyms of the words used in the questions.

The duration of the Listening section is 40 minutes, that is, 30 minutes for the audios, and the remaining 10 minutes that are to used to transfer your answers to the main answer sheet. Download the PDF of the answer sheet used in the Listening section of the IELTS to use while preparing or this section, because you should be comfortable with all the aspects of the test before you take the test. It is imperative that you write the answers clearly because you need to ensure that the examiner understands your handwriting. Also, you cannot go wrong with the spelling. An incorrect spelling will lead to a loss of a mark.  There are 40 questions in total, each worth one mark. This section requires you to multitask, that is – read the questions (for which you are given 30-45 seconds before the audio begins, use this time wisely since it will help you gather the context of the audio), listen to the audios carefully and then answer the questions (it is highly recommended that you write your answers on the question paper, for two reasons – a. shorthand is permitted, no one checks the question paper, thereby saving you time. b. it ensures that you do not make spelling mistakes while transferring your answers to the main answer sheet). The question paper is never checked, you can write down all the possible answers whenever faced with a dilemma, especially with the distractors, that when they give you two similar answers 

The listening section is often the most favoured section, since one can easily score 39-40, given the right amount of practice and patience. Speaking of patience, you need to bear in mind that mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning process, and that they will lead you to identify a pattern. You need a keen eye to identify the kind of mistakes you are making. For example, I have often noticed students going wrong with the Labeling the Diagram, with following the directions and instructions simultaneously going massively wrong for them, which leads to losing interest. One advice that I’d like to give you here is to maintain a high level of patience. Spending time with the questions that you often make mistakes in will slowly but surely get the right answers. Read the questions carefully and listen to the audio multiple times till the point where you understand the reason behind the mistake you made. Its never the difficult part that interests you, its always the easy way that attracts you 

There may be times when you will miss out on the answer while attempting the questions, in such situations, immediately move to the next question, because the audios are an ongoing process, and if you spent more than required time to answer a question, chances are that you will end up with a string of missed answers, which will ultimately impact the overall score too negatively. Enjoy the leverage of listening to the audios multiple times while you are preparing for the exam because getting used to the the speed of the speech and the pronunciations of words takes a while. Do not aim to understand the all that you hear, only filter the answers that you need to write, this is only possible when you have read the questions well, which is what we commonly call – Preparing the questions. Pick up the key words (as suggested earlier) that lead to the correct answer.

The kind of questions that you need to answer are:

  1. Forms/Notes/Flow-chart
  2. Sentence completion
  3. Match the following
  4. MCQs (Multiple choice questions)
  5. Labeling a diagram
  6. Short answer questions

 

One of the best features of the exam that works in the student’s favour – There is no negative marking! – Never leave a blank space. Always guess the answer…which brings us to a conclusion that listening to the information given in the audio is of paramount importance, that will give the correct answers in most of the cases.

I wish you all the very best, and hope that you find this blog useful

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

Inshore

8851373199

Advertisements

What steps should be followed to score an 8+ on the listening section of the IELTS

What steps should be followed to score an 8+ on the listening section of the ielts

 

Hello,

To be able to answer this question in a few words would not do justice to the test.

I will, therefore, try and explain it as much as possible through my answer.

But, before I begin, I need you to ask yourself these questions – What is the Listening section? Why are you being made to attempt it as a part of the exam? What are you being tested on?

Well, let me now take you through the possible answers, and ways and means to score high(er)

The Listening section tests you presence of mind, the ability to understand various accents from around the world, while you multitask, that is listen to the audios, read the questions and write the answers (minus the spelling mistakes)

The very step that you need to take is understand the various accents – American, Australian, British and Canadian to name a few. Yo can do that by watching documentaries, shows, and movies (especially with subtitles) that will help you in grasping the words well, because the pronunciation of a word is different in each language. Also, we often find these accents difficult to understand. I find the Irish accent too difficult to figure, but that’s just me. You may face problems with others… or not. It is, however, highly advisable for you use multiple sources to get used to accents.

Another habit that you need to inculcate, something that will help you with not just the Listening section, but others sections, too, is reading. Your vocabulary is being tested at every step, with every question, because the questions in both – the Listening and the Reading sections – are paraphrased. The language that you will hear and read in the audios and the passages respectively, will be different from the words used in the questions that follow.

While preparing:

  1. Always make good use of the given 35–40 seconds before the audio begins – Read the questions well during these few given seconds and understand them well. This will help you in two ways – a. You will be able to predict the context of the audio and b. You will not miss out on any of the answers while attempting the questions. Because the audio is played only once, you need to be extra careful with what you hear, and understanding the context comes only when you have read the questions well.
  2. Do not try and understand the meaning of the audios – You will end up wasting precious seconds, since the section is time bound.
  3. Check your spelling – If you make a spelling mistake, know that your answer will be marked wrong. Write your answers on the question paper, and then use the last 10 minutes to transfer them to the main answer sheet. This will ensure correct spelling.
  4. Download and use the PDFs of the answer sheets used during the test even while preparing for the test.
  5. During the initial phases of the preparation, allow yourself to listen to the audios again, because it will take you a while to get used to the speed of the audio. One of the habits that will help you with overcoming this issue is taking notes while listening to them, just an exercise to help you write faster.
  6. Do not expect an overnight increase in your score – You must remember that it’s okay to be wrong, and you will take a few weeks to master this section. Practice the questions daily, and after a while, you will be able to identify a pattern that’s leading to incorrect answers.

I wish you all the very best!

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

Inshore

8851373199

What is the ideal time required to score well on the IELTS Test

What is the ideal time required to score well on the IELTS Test

Hello!

A very intriguing question, and I would like to explain my reply in detail

To begin with, I’d like to ask you this – How much would you score yourself in both written and spoken English?

The answer to this question will help you decide the time required by you to prepare well and score higher on the IELTS Test.

Most of the students when asked that question call themselves a “good user” of English, without paying close attention to the purpose and meaning behind that debrief.

Let me break it down for you and explain why I asked that question…

The IELTS is an English proficiency exam that tests your command over the language, which means you cannot overlook the very basics and the foundation on which the language was built, that are – Grammar & Vocabulary!

Every language, if broken down into basics, has a base, which we, in the most simple terms, call – Grammar. And the words that add value to your language are called – Vocabulary. I call these “The building blocks of English”. These also happen to be two of the criteria on which your answers are assessed, both in he Writing and the Speaking sections of the IELTS.

Most often, the IELTS aspirants forget or overlook the above mentioned criteria and focus solely on the “IELTS preparation” that usually results in a lower than desired score or multiple test attempts.

Sure, Time is an important factor and should be invested fully while studying for the exam, but it’s your grasping power and the patience to face the challenges the incorrect answers pose that assist you with coming up with a study plan and the period required (which may stretch into weeks, ultimately months) – a perfect recipe for a good band score. I’d now like to give you a few tips that will come in handy with your study plan –

  • It’s okay to be wrong! – This means that you cannot score well overnight. Be it the Listening or the Reading (most ticklish of all for majority of students), you’ll take a while before your scores shoot up to 35+ on these two sections. A couple days’ practice and thinking you will get maximum correct answers is a wrong expectation to begin with… only leads to disappointment ad discouragement, and you end up losing interest – Practice and Patience make perfect!
  • Make reading a habit – This will ensure an increase in your reading speed (because every second plays a vital role in the Reading section), besides helping you learn newer words, improving your vocabulary, that you can use make good use of, both in the Writing and the Speaking section.
  • Get familiar with various accents from around the world – Our Indian accent is way too neutral and really easy to understand. This, however, is not the case with many other accents. The reason I often stress upon this is because you will encounter a variety of accents in the Listening section. The level of difficulty in understanding them is different for everyone. I take light years to understand the Irish and Scottish accents (I exaggerated a bit there). Bottom line – watch BBC documentaries to get used to the British accent. Movies and shows from around the world, with subtitles, which will not just assist you the accents, but also introduce you to a more advanced vocabulary.
  • Get used to all the features of the exam before writing it – Practice writing your answers on the PDFs of the answer sheets (used in the exam) for Listening, Reading, and the Writing sections. It’ll save you a lot trouble on the test day

Let your experiences during the preparation of the IELTS dictate your decisions regarding the time needed before you take the test

Booking the test date, until you fare well on the mock tests is usually suicidal.

I wish you all the very best!

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

Inshore

9971040479/ 8851373199

How to score better on the Writing section of the IELTS

How to score better on the Writing section of the ielts

Hello!

In this answer, I will explain to you in detail the ways and means, tips and tricks to write well, and score better on the Writing section of the IELTS.

Before I begin, ask yourself these questions –

  • How good am I, on a scale of 1 -10, in both Grammar and Vocabulary?
  • Do I understand most forms of Grammar and their definitions?
  • Do I make attempts to learn at least 5 new words on daily basis?
  • Do I read enough?

If the answer to the first questions is less than 5, and to the remaining questions is NO, then we have a situations that needs to be handled, and handled well before we start our IELTS preparation. THIS is what most students fail to realise and do not score well, despite several attempts, be it at mock tests or the real time test. Now, you can either take time, understand the basics, or rush into taking the test without attempting to eliminate the basic hurdles that pose as a challenge.

The very first step that you must take is go back to basics, and by that I mean picking up the grammar book and learning your Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Tenses, etc. well. Another thing that you must simultaneously do is read! Read random articles, books, or anything that interests you. You can watch movies/shows with subtitles and learn new words, and make them a part of your daily conversations. Make your ways of learning interesting by picking up habits that help get better with word power.

The reason I stress on these factors is because two of the criteria based on which your answers are assessed and marked are:

  • Lexical Resource – Did you use a wide variety of words (Avoid repetition at all times. Use Synonyms)
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy – Did you make good use of grammatical structures and effectively at that

When you get a question, read it well, understand the meaning carefully and take about two to three minutes to jot down a few bullet points that you can write elaborately on. This habit will ensure your answer is written in a proper order, which will take care of another criteria, that is:

  • Coherence & Cohesion – Are your ideas well organised and clearly linked?

While taking care of this, it’s important that you write clearly. Your handwriting should be easy to understand.

The fourth and the last criteria that your answers are on is:

  • Task Achievement (Task 1) – You score well on this only if you write more than 150 words. Anything less will negatively impact your answer
  • Task Response (Task 2) – Read the statement well, interpret the meaning, and write a balanced answer, with valid argument and examples to support your idea and views. You must remember that it’s your responsibility to covey your ideas to the examiner. Always write more than 250 words. Task 2 has more marks than Task 1.

In the end, I would highly recommend you to proof read your answers, because marks are deducted for incorrect spellings. Also, while writing, your brain works faster, constantly producing ideas, and it is almost impossible to keep up with it’s pace and produce an answer that clearly incorporates all thoughts, therefore, reading through your write-up will help you improvise.

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

I wish you all the very best!

Inshore

9971040479

HOW TO ACHIEVE A HIGHER SCORE IN THE READING SECTION OF THE IELTS

How to achieve a higher score in the reading section of the ielts

Hello,

What is Reading? – A section that involves 3 passages in increasing order of difficulty, to be completed in a span of 60 minutes. 40 questions that need to be answered correctly to get a higher score – basic most explanation of the section

Now, how many questions/full length tests have you attempted? Do you think the amount of time and energy you are currently investing in the preparation of the test is enough? If so, have you tried identifying the areas that are posing as a challenge, or as hurdle(s) between you and a higher score? Make sure you answer these questions before you dive back into the books.

The problem with most candidates is either of those questions. I often see students going about their preparation without zeroing down on the problems that lead to incorrect answers, while discouragement being the final outcome!

What you need to realize at this stage is that it’s not the IELTS Preparation that will help you get a better score, but the command over the English language, because yo are letting go of the most basic idea here – IELTS is an English proficiency test, without a hold over which, it’s almost impossible to get the desired score.

To begin with, it’s important that you read a variety of texts to improve your reading skills. This will also help you improve your grammar and vocabulary – these are what I like to call the building blocks of the language. They will help you not just with the Reading, but also the Writing and the Speaking sections.

I will now explain why vocabulary is important. The words that you read in the passages are different than those used in the questions. That’s because the questions are usually paraphrased, i.e, the words given in them are synonyms of the words used in the passages. And because the passages are in increasing order of difficulty, the questions will get tougher with each. You are, however, expected to write the exact same words from the passage. Remember, you do not have the liberty to synonyms, doing so would mean an incorrect answer, and a deducted mark. Follow the instructions well, read and understand the questions… you answer lies within the question!!!

If you calculate mathematically, you are given 20 minutes for each passage. However, 20 minutes will never be enough for the third passage. Therefore, you must complete the first two passages within 30–35 minutes, because the third comprehension will demand most time.

When you begin practicing the reading section, DO NOT look at the time. Expecting yourself to get the right answers within the first few days of preparation would mean creating additional pressure, which translates directly into demoralizing yourself. Bear in mind – IELTS is a stepping stone towards realizing your dream of higher studies or migration.

Spend time understanding the questions that you find demanding and challenging. Do not forget that you re being tested on your ability to understand the language, not your general knowledge, therefore, you must overlook any information you already have about the topic. It’s not your aim to understand the passage, but the questions. Spend a couple minutes skimming through the passage first, next go to the questions, read them well with an intent of grasping the meaning, go back to the passage in the third step and read it well to answer the questions that follow

Reaching a score of 35+ will take you a while, depending on you skills and ability to learn the techniques.

Take enough mock tests before booking your test date.

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

I wish you all the very best!

Inshore

9971040479

DO PARAPHRASED/ PARTIAL ANSWERS ON IELTS LISTENING TEST EARN YOU A SCORE?

 

do paraphrased_ partial answers ON IELTS LISTENING TEST EARN YOU A SCORE_

Hello there!

Before I answer this question, ask yourself this – Why am I taking the IELTS Test? – The answer in your mind will be similar to – For higher studies, or migration purposes – either way, you know this is a stepping stone to a better lifestyle.

Now, the next question should be – What is IELTS? – It’s an English proficiency exam that tests your command over the English language, and because I call Grammar and Vocabulary the most important building blocks of English, it is imperative that you have a good hold over them, before you even think of writing the IELTS Test. Speaking of Vocabulary, it ‘paraphrases’ into ‘Recognizing Paraphrase’ – One of the features of the listening section, that expects you to understand/ know your synonyms and antonyms well. The speakers in the audios will often use different words than used in the questions that you need to answer. Your task, however, is to understand the questions well, and listen to the related information very carefully because the audio will play only once, and pick up the exact same words from the audio and write them as answers. As a candidate of the IELTS Test, you do not enjoy the leverage to paraphrase your answers. Remember, you do not have to understand everything, because there will be a lot of distractors, which may lead to incorrect answers.

Each time you write a different answer, and by that I mean – writing a proper noun beginning with a small case, writing the word instead of the option number/alphabet in case of multiple choice questions, more than required words when the instruction says ‘No More Than Two Words and/or a Number’, etc. These mistakes lead to compromising on the score, thereby earning you a lower band than you deserve. Follow the instructions very carefully… your answer lies in within them.

I wish you all the very best.

For one-on-one live training sessions with flexible timings, do get in touch at resham@inshore.in

Inshore

9971040479

Can you get a higher score on the real time exam than the mock tests

Can you get a highre score on the real time test than the mock tests

Hello there!

A very valid question and I could not resist answering it. So, here goes…

But, before answering this question, I’d like to remind you that this test will take you places and the attempts to answer the questions, be it any section, while learning, must be made very seriously. It’s your time and money, both important resources, that you are willing to invest in the preparation for the said exam. I strongly recommend that honest efforts be made, since your future actions will rely heavily on the score that you achieve in the test.

Now, the Listening section for me as a student of IELTS was a total stress buster, and now as a trainer, I see no reason why you should not be able to score 40/40. To begin with, try and identify the areas where you lack. Is it a particular question that is acting as an obstacle between you a better score? Is it the silly spelling mistakes? Or lack of concentration? I can bet with full confidence that it’s either of these three!

Sure, the stress of taking an exam does play on our minds and it gets worse while writing it, but do you really need that stress? – Is the question I ask all my students.

Attempt as many tests as possible before taking the exam. Get used to the accents from around the world , especially the British, Australian, Canadian, Irish, American, etc

I’ve always had difficulties understanding the Irish accent… just saying! Similarly, you could face difficulties with another accent (I hope not, though)

Our beloved gadgets have got us used to typing than picking up the pen and using a paper to write on with it. And because it is a paper pencil test, this is where the worse part begins! We can no longer write well, our handwriting and it’s speed have suffered in the process of it all, and forget about the spellings… because our phones *always* end up auto-correcting our mistakes. To, however, work on the handwriting speed, you can play any audio from the listening section and take notes simultaneously. This will help with getting used to the various accents used in the Listening section, too.

You cannot expect yourself to score a full 40 unless you identify the major cause(s) of errors. During the initial phases of preparation, you can enjoy the luxury of listening to the audios twice or thrice, depending on the number of right answers. Follow the instructions given in the questions very closely. For example – Not more than two words and/or a number – which means, you cannot write more than two words or a combination of two words and a number or only a number. Writing anything more than instructed will be marked incorrect. Make good use of the given 35–45 seconds, before the audios begin because this will assist you with identifying the context and the answers that you need to listen to while the audios play. Do not try and understand the audio, since that will lead to a string of missed answers. Bear in mind that questions will always be paraphrased, that is – the words used in the questions will be synonymous with the the audio.

In the end I would say – practice all questions well since it takes a good while before you start scoring 38+, which is easy, but requires tons of patience.

I wish you all the very best

Resham, IELTS Trainer

Inshore

9971040479