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IELTS Listening: How important is spelling?

IELTS Listening: How important is spelling?


The British Council’s LearnEnglish site answers this question clearly and succinctly: ‘Everything must be spelled correctly.’ So, what are the pitfalls? In this blog post we’re going to look at just one scenario.

The problem

In the IELTS Listening test, you may have the answer spelled out for you. For example, one of the speakers might spell their name, and you have to copy it down. This can present a number of challenges:

  1. Some English letters sound similar to each other: m and n, for example, are very similar so you have to listen carefully.
  2. Some English letters sound like different letters in other languages. For instance, j in English sounds like g in French.
  3. Two English letters may simply sound the same in your language. A Spanish speaker might find it difficult to tell the difference between b and v.

The solution

You can overcome these problems by practising. Start with this video.

  1. Watch the first 45 seconds of the video. Stop it. Repeat the letters. Check that you are pronouncing them correctly.
  2. Start the video again and switch off your monitor. With a pen and paper, write the words you hear.
  3. Watch from 00:47, and check your spelling.

Free IELTS band score calculator

Of course, spelling is just one aspect of the IELTS Listening test. In order to prepare for the test efficiently, you need to go through the experience of the test so you can pinpoint your weak areas. You also need to be able to compare your current band score with your target band score.

Do you know the approximate band score you would get if you took the IELTS Listening test today? Follow the steps below to find out.

  1. Click here. Then click on Start to open Road to IELTS. On the front screen, choose Listening, and then Test practice. Print out Practice test 1, and when you are ready, click to start the audio. Complete the test.
  2. When you have finished, download Answer key 1 and mark your test. You will have a mark out of 40.
  3. Click on My Profile at the top of the screen. In the Listening and Reading Score Calculator input your score. The calculator will convert this to an estimated IELTS band score.

Going through this process will help you understand how much practice you need in order to achieve your target band score.

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