Tips for the IELTS Listening and Reading papers

The single most important thing is to READ THE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY.

In the reading paper you should read the questions more carefully than the reading texts.

Look at the questions first, circle or underline any important words, and make sure you understand what they are asking you to do. In listening, you will have 1 minute at the start of each section just to read the questions. Use this time well.


-multiple choice (A,B,C or D)

  • choose the correct word or phrase
  • matching
  • True, False or Not Given

True False and Not Given questions can be confusing. Its important to remember that False is totally different from Not Given. For an answer to be False there must be something in the text which contradicts it. If it is simply not mentioned in the text then it is Not Given.

You never have to write to any length in these papers, all the answers are short, 3 words at the most. In the listening paper you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet given. You don’t have this in the reading paper to you have to transfer as you go along.

Timing is very important in both. In listening, you only hear the recording once, so you have to be sure of what you’re listening for before you hear it.

In reading, never spend any longer than 1 and a half minutes on a question. If you really don’t know the answer after this time, make a guess and move on to the next question. NEVER LEAVE A SPACE, ALWAYS WRITE SOMETHING.


Amandacera and the not so home coming
L. Gorge via Compfight

Until next time!

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