ESL and IELTS Help 4 U

Listening Practice

Posted on: October 25, 2010

In the final section of the IELTS listening test, you are asked to listen to a lecture. The lecture is fairly long…or it seems long…:). And the topic of the lecture is almost always new to the student.

Please remember that listening is a process of receiving information, hearing it and taking it into the brain.

It’s not about attacking each word with your hearing to make sure you understand it. If you grab onto each word…as soon as you hear a word you don’t know, you will  stop listening and start trying to figure out that word. And, of course, the IELTS test goes right on and you find yourself lost.

So part of listening practice is learning to sit back and receive.

Here’s a website which will really help you. It’s called TED, Ideas Worth Spreading.

TED is a nonprofit which brings smart, creative people with revolutionary ideas and projects together for short lectures.  Over 700 of these lectures are on the website. They are no longer than 20 minutes, and they cover a wide range of topics.

So here’s my suggestion. Go to the website: At the top of the page, you can click on “Themes.” This will take you to a page where, on the left hand side, you will see a list of topics. Choose a topic that interests you and click again. Choose a talk and listen several times.

Then, next to “About this talk” at the top right of the page, click on “Open interactive script.” Here you’ll see the entire talk written out.  Compare what you think you know about the talk from listening to the written version. Find the confusing words and look them up. Then listen again.

Try this plan with two or three talks a week. Get into the habit of using the Ted Talks to help you listen more thoroughly and understand more completely.

Enjoy! I think you will love these listening opportunities!


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