IELTS is a very important exam, and quite stressful too, as it has four different modules to test your English proficiency skills. Among the four modules of Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking, the Listening module is the one where students tend to make a lot of mistakes as they have to do a lot of multitasking, yet never lose focus on the answer script. Few common errors which should be avoided to score high in the exam are listed as follows.
1. Writing answers on the answer sheet and listening to audio while flipping through the questions:
You should always remember that the audio is played only once, without repetition. So, it is imperative for you to stay fully focussed and not miss hearing any information. When you try to write an answer, while going through the question paper and also trying to listen attentively to the audio at the same time, you tend to confuse yourself and lose valuable time. This is a very common mistake which one should try to avoid.
* One important pointer to help you with this is that remember that the test allows 10 minutes after the audio finishes to transfer the answers from the question paper to the answer sheet to evade this mistake.
2. Avoid following the Listening Instructions:
This is another very common error that one faces in the Listening module. In spite of the instruction mentioning clearly ” Not more than 2 words,” most of the time one tends to ignore this and answer in 3 or more words. This will definitely cost marks for you. Also, sometimes, the instruction reads as ” Circle more than one answer”…but you circle only one. Your answer becomes incomplete and therefore, be taken as wrong.
* The sure-shot way to avoid this is to read the instructions very carefully and do exactly the way it states
3. Listen to audio clips without any knowledge or perception about what information one actually needs to pay attention to :
Another common error is to sit for the Listening module without preparing oneself thoroughly about what information should get priority to listen to and whether he/she comprehends everything in order to tackle the answers correctly. You should be in a position to predict what topic or content will be covered and look for suitable clues in the instructions about the texts or visuals.
* You can avoid this mistake by underlining keywords in the questions and simultaneously think about paraphrases and synonyms one might hear and relate to it.
4. Unsystematic and disorganized management of time :
This is of prime importance, as this mistake results in losing a lot of total marks procured by you. You have to practice really hard and in a very systematic way to understand the exact way to tackle Listening, Reading, and Writing together with minimum mistakes. You are given to listen to four recordings for 30 minutes of native English speakers and then write the answers to a series of questions. The evaluator will try to assess your capacity to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, your attitude, as well as your point of view on the whole topic.
* Try to avoid this mistake by planning beforehand, and following sections with the help of proper, consistent practice.
5. Loss of concentration resulting in utter confusion:
In the Listening module, you can be completely bowled over by one erratic question and this could lead to a major loss in concentration. This can happen to you anytime, but just stay calm and focussed.
* The easy way to avoid this mistake is to always remember that you have an option to choose, and all questions are worth the same. So, just leave that difficult question and move to another one. Sometimes, your hunch can be absolutely correct too!
6. Unable to pinpoint the main idea:
Many times, when you attempt the IELTS Listening module, you fail to grasp the main idea behind the academic lecture or the conversation. This leads to an overall loss of concentration in attempting the questions properly leading to time waste and an eventual loss of marks.
* Try to avoid this by practicing to listen attentively many times. This will help in accuracy and incur less time loss.
7. Leave a question without answering:
Another common mistake one makes while attempting this module is that, whenever he/she is confused or unsure about a question, he/she has a tendency to skip that. You should always keep in mind that there is no negative marking; you will not lose any marks for the wrong answer.
* Tackle this mistake by always attempting the questions. There can always be a chance that your answer is correct by pure guesswork!
The Listening Section is of prime importance in the IELTS test, and you need to be thoroughly prepared to avoid mistakes in order to score high in the overall exam. Just keep these common mistakes in mind, and try to avoid them while you practice before sitting for the actual exams. You will surely ace this module, and come out with flying colors at the end. All the best!