When preparing for the listening section in the IELTS test or you want to improve your listening of different accents before you travel to a Western country, below is a list of TED talks that you can use to practice. Further, the topics talk about many different areas, so they provide a good cross section of IELTS vocabulary.
Do you need other skills?
Before you look up a word in the dictionary, listen to the sentence carefully and try to understand what the sentence or the paragraph is trying to tell you first. If it is an important point, the speaker, will sometimes repeat it using different words.
As you practice, I agree that getting the answers correct given you a wonderful feeling, but the best thing you can do is to practice skills. So to that end, during your next listening practice, I want you to not only try to listen for the answer, but when the test provided you with unnecessary information, what are the words that they use that help you to eliminate it?
Listen for these words
When you are trying to eliminate answers, start by creating a list of words that you can listen out for…. here are a few
no, not, isn’t, don’t won’t, can’t, …. you get the pattern, any negative words or things like … later, later on, delayed, not on schedule,
The same is true when you are trying to find the correct answers…. listen for – should, must, the best, the greatest, the most, find out about, more important, despite….
Write this list in the back of your book.
Underline your key words
By underlining the key words that you are listening for, you are prepared to hear either the key word, likely in section or part 1 and 2, or the paraphrase which is more likely to occur in section or part 3 and 4.
I have trouble identifying these?
On many occasions these will be the verbs in the question, or is the answer required is an adjective then look at the noun. If this is the their or fourth listening section you will need to think about how these words can be paraphrased, as it is unlikely that the audio will use the words that appear in the question.
I have trouble reading and listening at the same time.
If this is you, one suggested strategy is to avoid looking at all every question immediately, but look at the keywords in the first two questions only at the start. Once you hear your keywords, it is time to move on to the next question.
This is the use of a different word that has the same meaning. When you are practicing and are underlining your key words, try to paraphrase them with as many words as you can. This means that you should try to think of words that have the same meaning. This can be done before you attend a class. Compare the words that you can think of with that of your classmates, as this will grow your vocabulary even further.
Listen to who provides the information
Think about who in the conversation is most likely to provide the answer to your question. Is it going to be the expert or is it going to be the person asking the questions. Note though, this is only a guess, as the person who provides the answer may be different to the one that you choose.
The number of words
Read the number of words that you have to provide in your answer. If you provide extra, then you will get the answer wrong.
Also, when the speaker starts you speak, you will hear … you are going to hear a conversation about (XYZ)… please answer questions 12 – 18. Make sure that you don’t stop listening for questions 15 16 and 17 and 18, if they are on the next page of your exam paper. A good TIP.
This is more likely to be relevant when you look at a diagram of a process. Make sure you find the place on the diagram where you are going to start and then follow the numbers around.
If it is a map, look for a compass in the corner, as you are likely to hear words that will direct you using the compass.
Predict the answer
There are a number of things that you can predict from the structure of the sentence that you have been provided with. You can predict the grammar label, and also predict whether the answer is going to be singular or plural. The singular or plural is very important as, a tiny little ‘S’ can determine whether you get the answer right or wrong.
The grammar can also be used to check your answers. A simple example is … the crows’ (tail) or (tails). As the apostrophe comes after the s, you know that the answer is going to be tails rather then tail, as crows on this occasion is referring to more then one.
The speakers will pause between their points and especially when they are going to make a new point. This is where they naturally breathe, so practice listening for these natural gaps in the conversation, as it will help you identify when the speaker is ready to move on to the next point.
Linking words are sometimes called sign posts and are very important, because they often point to answers or help you to eliminate answers from the options provided. Two of the linking words that you are probably very familiar with are But and However. There are a lot more though, so when you are practicing, make a list of all the linking words that you hear. These words are more important to you than the actual answers…. they will allow you to listen for and identify a lot more answers on the real test…. so start and practice listening for these now.
If you are in need of some extra listening practice where you hear people using different accents, try going to Voicetube, YouTube and TED. Here is a sample test that we found on YouTube which may assist you. I have compiled a few speakers from TED that use fantastic vocabulary, especially when you hear the author of Harry Potter (J.K.Rowling) speak, that you can listen to in order to hear different accents and speeds.
The videos will also help you to build up a beautiful vocabulary list through watching and listening, rather than just memorizing words out of a dictionary or in a textbook.
10. The Human Brain
28. Smart contracts
30. A single story
39. Design Thinking