IELTS Listening tips for band 9
IELTS Listening tips for band 9

It is possible to get 9 bands in listening and I have done it thrice in a row. I am going to share my experience and tips to get band 9 score in IELTS listening module. The first thing you need to understand is that without learning and hearing English, you cannot get band 9. After all, IELTS has designed their exam to assess candidates on the criterion and only those will get good bands who deserve it. Now, the question arises, how to achieve the same level which IELTS is expecting from a candidate having a band score of 9. This article will elaborate on the tips so that you can also get the band 9 score in your IELTS listening exam.

1. Hear the news daily but with a trick

All of us hear the news on TV channels on a daily basis, however, some of us pay attention to the words and others only understand the meaning. The first category of people who are paying attention to what is spoken and understanding it is preparing themselves for the IELTS exam. There is a trick which will enhance your listening skill in just 7 days and will make you a master in listening. Here is the trick, every day you have to take out one hour from your daily routine and listen to UK BBC news channel. But, not facing in front of the television, instead of facing your back to the TV and listen to the news. Listen to every word and recapitulate what it means and understand the sentences being spoken by the news anchor. This will not only strengthen your listening skills but also make your vocabulary and understanding of English very strong. I did this for 7 days continuously for one hour and it helped me a lot to understand the style of academic and nonacademic spoken English.

2. Meditate daily to increase your attention and focus

It may sound orthodox, but it helps in spite of the fact that some may take it as a paradox. Meditation daily will help you a lot to maintain your focus and concentration. It helped me a lot to maintain the equilibrium between my listening skill and concentration, as it is difficult to maintain focus between both of them. Maintaining focus on my breath helped me a lot to focus as it outweighs the ambiguous disadvantages discussed by naysayers during exam time. For instance, meditating every day in the morning for 15 minutes helped me a lot to maintain my center of attention and sustained my concentration in case of distractions.

3. Practice a lot from older questions

I solved all the past listening questions included in Cambridge IELTS 1 to Cambridge IELTS 12, it means 48 listening were attempted. This paved the way to enhance my listening skills and answer finding ability. At the time of attempting listening module of Cambridge 10 to Cambridge 12, I was able to score 9 bands every time. This boosted my confidence and made me skilled person having great listening abilities. Even today whenever I solve listening test, I get between 8.5 to 9 bands. Thus, it is a skill that once possessed will sustain for a lifetime with you. Practicing promoted my listening skill to a new height and helped me to achieve 9 bands in IELTS listening.

4. To solve fill in the blank questions, use this “hide and seek” trick

There is a trick and I named it as “hide and seek” which is used for fill in the blank questions. The fill in the blank questions comes in your Section 1 and Section 4 of your IELTS listening module. It covers almost 15 questions and there is no chance that you do not score 100% in it after implementing “hide and seek” trick. The “hide and seek” trick is to answer the question without even listening to the speaker. As soon as you get the time to read your questions in IELTS listening, fill them with your own answers. I have already explained this trick in this website under “Listening” section. Please check this link ( to know how to implement this trick. This trick will not only save your time but also gives you 100% result if you implement it correctly with great focus.

5. To solve multiple choice questions, use this trick

Read all options of the question carefully and underline the keywords in the options. Always underline the nouns as mostly they are the key to differentiate between the correct answer and incorrect answer. Tick the answer instantly if you find it correct, but listen carefully until the speaker speaks all the options as it may be a trap to select an incorrect option as there may be a minute difference between the correct and incorrect option. As soon as you listen to focus on the keywords and understand what the speaker said matches any option with the keyword. This way you will be able to solve these questions easily. I practiced this a lot and after some days it helped me to score perfect 100%. These questions are basically in Section 2 and Section 3, if you attempt them correctly, there are strong chances of yours to get 9 bands.

6. To solve Map questions, use this simple trick

Most of the candidates get confused when they see map options and face difficulty in marking them as the speaker speaks on a rapid pace. There is a trick to solve such questions if you notice deeply you will find that there is always an entry point on the map. For example, it can be a Main Gate, Entrance etc., always point your pencil on it when this section starts and move your pencil as the speaker guides you. When you will do so you will find how easy it is to solve these questions. Moreover, you need to remember the road names and key stations made on the map as the speaker may only take the name of stations. Please remember if you follow this trick and understand the speaker well, you will always get a good score and pave the way to get band 9 in the listening section.

7. To solve Flowchart questions, us this trick

The flow chart as the name suggests is a flow of a process which has filled in the blanks in the flow. Here we have to combine map technique and “hide and seek” trick to solve the flowchart. This means to fill the values in fill in the blanks which you think can be the answer. After this remember keywords and place your pencil on the top of the flowchart from where it is starting. This way you will always follow the speaker and will never miss an answer. The focus is the key here, so focus, listen and understand calmly to give your answer.

8. Do not rush to give your answer

Last but not least, do not ever rush while answering your questions, there may be a trap for you. As IELTS questions are mostly based on some trap questions which only those can solve, who have mastered this skill.

Tips to overcome the challenges:
So we’ve already read about the challenges but it is now time to learn about ways to overcome them with the below tips.

1. Know the Test
Each listening section is devised to test you on different skills. Let us examine each section by its purpose, the skill you will be tested on and the type of questions that you can expect.

Section 1: A telephonic or face to face conversation which has a nature of the inquiry. It could be an enquiry with a tour operator, hotel receptionist or vacation planner. There will be questions and answers from both the people involved in the conversation. In this section, you will mostly have a small table with a fill in the blank format which you have to fill as per the word count suggested. You may also expect a fill in the blank section in which you will fill basic information. Here the difficulty level may be low and you are mostly asked uncomplicated questions.

Section 2: The second section is mostly instruction based where a professor or management personnel will dictate detailed instructions for a student or employee to follow. The task will be to find matching information or fill in the blanks with a specific word count.

Section 3: As the sections progress the complication level can be expected to rise as well. In this section, you will hear a discussion between a group of people. It could be a discussion before a presentation on a current academic topic. Expect the questions to be relatively tricky. To choose the correct answer, you have to be very precise in your comprehension.

Section 4: This section will generally be a lecture from a professor or an academician on a topic. The skill tested here is the ability to understand complex phrasing and vocabulary. Since the speaker will be talking about a study on a current issue or scientific discovery, you will be tested on your ability to grasp the core idea and answer questions related to the issue highlighted in the speech.

2. Use of distractors
The distractors are put in place to make sure you follow the conversation through and to test your attention span. Naturally, you have to make sure that you are able to do the same without panicking or wondering if you got it right or not.

3. How to use the 30 seconds before the audio begins
Analyze instructions before starting–Underline keywords in the instruction that make all the difference. For example: Write the answer with maximum of two words or write the answer in at least two words mean different things.
Skim through questions in the section – You get 30 seconds to look at the instructions and the questions. Underline key words in the questions to quickly establish the kind of answer that is needed.
Identify the type of answer for each question – It could be a name, a number, a city. Predicting the type of answer needed can help you listen for the right answer when the conversation veers towards that topic.
Here are the various types of questions
So before you begin to implement these tips you need to understand the different types of questions that might come during the test. And we have listed the various questions which might appear in the exam, such that you can start analyzing these type of questions beforehand.

Multiple choices
Matching information
Sentence completion
Table, diagram, flowchart completion
Short answer
Learn how to write your answer:
So when you are done learning about questions and struggles you might face during the exam, it is time to learn about the way to answer it now. In order to help you with that, we have listed out 5 different tips which can work for your benefit if applied properly during the exam and can save much time as well.

4. Knowing the Answer Sheet
Here’s what an answer sheet looks like, which you can download and view for a clear understanding of the answer sheet.

Challenges you will face:
IELTS listening test has many challenges that one might face and you might be likely to face one of these problems as well. But the good part about learning a challenge is that we can start preparing for it with a solution in the mean time of the exam.

1. Accents
The accent can be any of the three types – British, Canadian or Australian. All of them with their own unique twang and pronunciation of different words. There are also some words that one needs to be familiar with. For example, commonly used ‘nought’ isn’t very common in India. It could mean zero, failure or nothing depending on the context.

2. Pace of the audio
The listening exam is unforgiving in a sense because of you can hear everything only once and once you’ve missed the information there’s no way of getting it back.

3. Distractors
he information in the audio is not straightforward. There are 4 sections out which 2 are conversations between 2 or more people. In these conversations, you will find distractors or information changing as the audio progresses.

4. Multi-tasking
You have to listen, read and write all at the same time. Yes, there is no respite till the audio clip is done. Extended periods of concentration are a must for acing this test.

I hope this article has helped you a lot to attempt IELTS listening and get tips for band 9 score. Please give your feedback and suggestions on the same.

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