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    How To Improve Listening Skills In IELTS & Understand Fast English

    Want to know how to improve listening skills in IELTS by knowing the biggest mistake a lot of students make when they are trying to understand English native speakers while talking? If you want to score a high band by knowing how to become a better listener, be sure to keep reading!


    Take a moment to think about your own listening skills right now, and think about if you have a hard time understanding or listening to native English speakers. What challenges do you have when you hear them talking? Do they talk too fast? Do they connect words together?

    Think about it and comment below at the end of this post letting me know if I’ve solved your problem.

    If you want to know how to improve listening skills in IELTS, you need to idenify the issues you are facing. The biggest mistake you may be making when you are trying to understand a native English speaker is that you are trying to pay attention to every single word that is coming out of the native speaker’s mouth.

    You are going to learn about how to improve listening skills in English for IELTS, how to improve listening skills in communication which will help you in the IELTS speaking section. Next, you are going to learn about how to understand IELTS listening and the most important tips for IELTS listening test to learn how to understand native English speakers.

    This post is all about how to improve listening skills in IELTS listening.

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    How To Improve Listening Skills in IELTS

    ielts listening tips and tricks for band 9


    How To Understand Native English Speakers

    If you want to know how to understand native English speakers, here is a secret… You do not need to understand every single word that comes out of the speakers mouth. In fact, this is not the right way to try to understand native English speakers, especially because the words change based on the context you are discussing.

    In other words, when you put two words in a sentence together, the sounds change. So it becomes confusing at wondering what the examiner or the native English speaker is saying.

    So if you’re listening for individual sounds, just know that you won’t be able to find what you’re listening for because the sound of words change based on the words that come before it or after it. So you need to know this technique to become a better listener in the IELTS listening section.

    So take this phrase for example, don’t care. When native English speakers say these 2 words in a sentence, such as I don’t care if it’s seven o’clock. The word, don’t care, sounds like one full word. Have a look at this video that has been timestamped to the exact moment as an example:

    When English Speakers Drop Continents And Vowels

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    Native speakers don’t say, I don’t care that it’s seven o’clock and sound out the T in don’t. Rather, they say I doncare that it’s seven o’clock. So you need to remember that in English, we drop continents and vowels when words come together. So in this case, the C is the continent sound.

    Here’s another example. I don’t know. When you say, I don’t know, very fast, it sounds like, I dunno. It does not sound like, I don’t know. Rather you would say, I dunno. So you drop the T and the d o n connect with the no.

    So it sounds like, I dunno here’s another example. The word give me when you say it in a sentence, the V drops and the word give sounds like gimme, can you gimme some candy? can you gimme some money? The V and the E actually drop.

    Read this article to find out how to introduce yourself in the IELTS speaking test.

    Dropping Whole Words While Speaking English

    Sometimes you even drop the whole word while talking. So you need to make sure you listen to what the native English speaker is saying when using words such as, excuse me in a sentence. You would never say, excuse me and pronounce the EX in excuse. Rather, you sound it like, scuse me, scuse me, scuse me. Do you know what time it is?

    So you don’t say, excuse me, do you know what time it is? It sounds like scuse me. scuse me. I don’t know how on earth you’re going to understand this, but this is how native English speakers talk when they are speaking to each other. Sometimes, you drop continents, vowels, and entire words!

    But like I said, the easiest way to understand what is being said in the IELTS listening section is to know how words sound when a continent or vowel or an entire word is dropped in a sentence.

    Read this article to find out how to answer any clothing-related questions you may see in the IELTS speaking section.

    Dropping Sounds When Putting Words Together in English

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    So here’s another thing that happens when you put words together, words such as didn’t he, when used in a sentence like, didn’t he go to sleep? The words didn’t he connect together and the T drops, so it sounds like didnhe.

    Watch this video of a native English speaker having an IELTS mock test!

    Adding Sounds When Words Are Put Together In English

    Another tip is that sometimes when two words are put together, another sound is added between those words. How challenging is that to understand?

    These are usually called linking words. When connecting words such as, you are and saying them fast together, it sounds like there’s a W between you and are. Try saying it together and it sounds like Youware, youWare, youWare.

    Have a listen here to get a better idea!

    So that’s another thing you need to keep in mind because in natural spoken English, you need to remember these things. We either sometimes drop continents or vowels. Sometimes we add a sound or we link two words together and it creates a different sound.

    How To Understand IELTS Listening

    Here is how to understand IELTS listening recordings during your exam.

    If you want to know how to improve listening skills in IELTS, native English speakers may stress on certain words, add rhythm to certain words, reduce certain words, and also add different tones to certain words. So knowing all this will help you on how to understand IELTS listening. In addition to this, use these same rules for the IELTS speaking section.

    So make sure you jot these things down and that you practice them.

    it’s so extremely important that you are prepared in advance for your exam because you want to make sure you know how to understand IELTS listening and what is being said to you in the recording. That way, you are able to quickly find the answers.

    Have a look at this video to learn about 4 habits to practice everyday to improve your English

    How To Improve Listening Skills In Communication

    Just know that you don’t need to talk like this at this current moment because this is a very advanced level of English, but you need to know that you need to be able to listen for this type of English in your IELTS listening exam, so you are well prepared. So just take note and don’t stress so much to talk like a native English speaker on your IELTS speaking exam because that will come naturally. Try to answer the questions as best you can. And remember that in the IELTS listening section, you must remember these concepts.

    Read this article to learn about 7 tips to boost your IELTS listening score.

    How To Improve Listening Skills In English For IELTS

    1. Pay Attention To The Sound Of The Sentence

    Have a look at these five things on how to improve listening skills in English for IELTS. So the first thing you need to concentrate on is the sound of the sentence. This is going to help you so much when you are listening to the audio recordings in the IELTS listening section.

    Take this sentence for example, I should’ve slept early last night. When English speakers say this sentence when talking, it sounds like I shoulda slept early last night.

    Just remember that native English speakers often drop the end of most contractions that end with D and link the words together. For example, should’ve would become, shoulda  would’ve would become woulda, could’ve, would become coulda.

    Check out this post to see if IELTS is difficult to crack

    2. Know the weak sounds and strong sounds

    So here’s the thing, when we look at a sentence, some words in the sentence have a weak sound and some words have a strong sound. So just remember that words that usually have a weak form are the little words within a sentence.

    But don’t be fooled because sometimes these little words are considered the strong-sounding words in the sentence such as:

    • for
    • to
    • do
    • are
    • you

    These words are known to be used in weak form 90% of the time. So when using the terms weak form or strong form, it usually means how much stress the word has in that sentence.

    Examples of weak forms vs strong forms

    So for example, if you say, who is that chocolate for? The for is a very strong sound. When you say the chocolate was for my son, the for is not stressed as much.

    So when native english speakers say the chocolate was for my son the R completely drops and for and the R and son is stressed a lot more throughout this sentence.

    3. Pay Attention To Contractions

    The third thing on how to improve listening skills In English for IELTS is to concentrate on contractions. Contractions are known to be words that are two words connected to one. So for example, should not turns into, shouldn’t, could not turns into couldn’t.

    Contractions are usually used in spoken English but not written English. When native English speakers are writing, they usually write out the word should not. They don’t use shouldn’t.

    For example, if you say I shouldn’t go to the park when talking, you would write I should not go to the park when they are writing.

    Another example is I should’ve ate a cake sounds like shoulda ate a cake. If you notice the contractions of these words actually drop and we connect them to the following word that comes after it. And we say, I shoulda ate a cake.

    If you want to learn about how to write dates in the IELTS listening section, check out this article HERE

    4. You Can Improve Listening Skills By Knowing About Connected Speech

    Can You Improve Listening Skills?

    The fifth thing you need to know to become a better listener is you need to know about connected speech. Connected speech is when two words are said, but they are connected together when we are talking. So connected speech is known when a word ends in a consonant and the next word begins in a vowel.

    Look at this sentence for example, I’d like to get a cat for my birthday.

    When english speakers say these words, the TO GET connects to one word. So it sounds like I’d like toget a cat.

    If you want to know 9 tips to boost your IELTS listening exam, check out this article here.

    Understand when Sounds Are Added

    Here’s an example of when we add a sound. When native English speakers say “I should’ve warned you, he was coming. warned you sounds like there’s a J in between warned and you and they connect together. So it sounds like one big word. I should have warnedJyou he was coming.

    Know When Words Are Stressed

    So the last thing you need to improve on to become a better listener is to listen for word stress. When do native English speakers say a sentence like “the kids are at the park” which words do you think are stressed in this sentence?

    So the words kids and park are stressed in the sentence.

    Most Important Tips For The Listening Test

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    The most important tips for listening test is try to concentrate on those stressed words because they are usually the most important parts of the sentence.

    Here’s another example sentence, I can speak English. So do you really need to know I can what it means? No, you just need to know the stress words speak English. These two words are stressed within the sentence. So that means that they are the most important words that tell us what the sentence is about.

    In addition to this, the easiest way to identify what the stress words are in this sentence is just remember these words are always the nouns, adjectives, and verbs because they explain what exactly the sentence is about.

    Here’s another sentence for more practice. He said he takes the bus but not the car. So the stress words were said, bus, not car. So you understand that in that sentence those three words will tell you exactly what the sentence is about.

    How about this one?  Do you have any brothers and sisters?  All you need to know is those two words, brothers and sisters. This will help you understand exactly what the sentence is asking you.

    So when you are listening for the answers and the IELTS listening section, don’t only listen for the highlighted keywords that you highlighted in the question bank, but try to understand what the sentence is saying and try to pick up those stressed words.

    Try to understand the main idea of the recording because that will give you the details of what exactly that recording is about.


    Now that you have learnt about the best ways on how to improve listening skills in IELTS, comment down below and let us know which one of these IELTS listening tips you found useful!

    This post was all about how to improve listening skills in IELTS

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