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How to ace your listening assessment

How to ace your listening assessment

In last week’s blog, we helped you prepare for your listening assessment. This week we’ve got tips to help you with your assessment on the day. Think of it as a little Christmas present from all of us at Study Success! 

Follow instructions

Read the written instructions on your test paper carefully and listen to all information provided by the examiner. If you are unable to hear the recording let a member of staff know immediately. 

Use the pre-listening time wisely

Read the questions thoroughly before each recording begins. If you don’t get the questions beforehand, look at the slide notes and predict what questions will be asked.

Listen out for synonyms and paraphrasing

You’re probably not going to hear the exact same words in the question and in the answer. Questions usually involve synonyms and paraphrasing - using a sentence with the same meaning but not using the same words. For example, in the recording you might hear: "Less than a quarter of university students took part." But on the answer sheet you might see: "Only 23% of candidates actually sat the examination."

Additionally, certain phrases tell you a main idea is coming, so listen for this signal language:

“I’m going to discuss/explore…”  and “Two/three main factors/aspects…”

“The point I want to make here is…”, “The main point is…” or “The important thing here is”

Other phrases break the talk into subtopics:

“Firstly”, “Another point”, “I want to focus now on…” or “Finally…”

Listen for Vocal cues

When making an important point, the speaker slows down and speaks more clearly. Important words are stressed. Pay attention to any repeated words or phrases.

Thorough note-taking

This is key to success in your exam as you probably won’t remember everything you hear in the recordings. When note-taking, ensure that you listen for and write down key words, such as:

  • Names                 
  • Examples
  • Places
  • Statistics
  • Dates
  • Other key nouns, verbs and adjectives

Don’t leave any question unanswered

If you did not catch an answer, use an educated guess to select something as there is no penalty for wrong answers. Once you have chosen an answer, don’t second guess yourself during transfer time. Be sure to put each answer into the correct space on the answer sheet.

Remember, as with all exams, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before, so you are alert and receptive. We wish you the best of luck!

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