IELTS Academic Writing

Common mistakes in IELTS listening

In other sections of IELTS, you have the text in front of you. So, you can go through it as many times as you want. But, in the IELTS listening section, you hear the recording only once. You cannot listen to it again. That’s exactly what makes it more difficult than other sections for some aspirants. In this article, we are going to discuss the common mistakes in the IELTS listening exam that candidates make while attending the IELTS listening exam.

Common mistakes in IELTS Listening to avoid

Here is the list of common mistakes in IELTS listening and which you should definitely avoid:-

Avoiding Listening to instructions

The common mistake that usually candidates make in IELTS is to respond in more words than directed. If the task says, “Not more than two words,” it will cost marks to return in 3 or more words. And In other instances, one might be asked to circle more than one answer, so if you circled just one solution, the answer would be incomplete and thus incorrect. You have to make sure you do exactly what the instructions say.

Listening to the audio blindly

When audio is playing, be focused and make sure that your concentration at its best. It’s a big mistake to sit down listening without any thought and without worrying about why you are listening or what details you need to listen to. You will have to make sense of everything to discover the answers with full preparation. One should listen carefully for the instructions, for clues & cue-words, to answer your questions properly. This will activate the language and vocabulary in preparation while listening.

Losing your focus

One of the questions in the Listening Paper can confuse you completely, and this could cause you to lose your focus. Trying not to give up on one erratic question is essential; otherwise, one might lose the focus at specific places and miss important information for the following questions. If this happens to anyone, he/she will try to remain calm in the knowledge that no question is worth more than another. If, after that time, one cannot get the exact answer, then it’s time to interpret and speculate.

Improper use of time

In the overall chart, disorganized time management will cost quite a lot.One has to adapt the excellent way of listening, reading and writing together through endless activities.One will listen to four recordings of native English speakers for 30 minutes and then write the answers to a series of questions. It means that there is a possibility that you will not be prepared for what you hear or what is worse, that you will lose your attention and cannot catch up and or miss important details.

Avoiding distractors

Usually, distractors are used in exams to confuse the candidates. In reality, it is the wrong answer that appears right. Instead of ignoring them, pay more attention to them. The following may happen while the audio is being played-one sentence will be spoken by a speaker, and then he will correct himself at the other moment. It would help if you recognized this distractor quickly. Otherwise, you’d end up giving the wrong answer. As like this, there are multiple-choice questions. You are listening to a list of options, out of which only one is correct. Thus, it would be best if you stay attentive.

Incorrect knowledge of spelling and grammar

Unless you have an in-depth knowledge of English grammar, you can make grammatical mistakes. Grammatical errors are very tricky in most situations. Incorrect understanding of tense, spelling, and grammar will lead anyone to the path of perceptional mistakes that will confuse anyone while responding. One should be sufficiently aware of using the correct form of spelling in the answer sheet. Otherwise, the answers will be marked as incorrect. You are supposed to stay well prepared and don’t make stupid mistakes. Practice and more practice will make the difference.

Leaving blank spaces

In the IELTS listening section, you can guess the answer instead of leaving a blank space, and you won’t lose marks for wrong replies. The power of probability can be applied by guessing where there is a possibility that the supposed answers might be right.

Listening the audio and writing on the answer sheet

Remember, you have only one chance to hear the audio in the IELTS listening test. Thus, It’s crucial that you’re neither distracted nor missing the details. However, it is not possible to pick an answer sheet from your question paper when listening to the audio. It can confuse you, consume more time, and also distract you. Don’t rush with that. Once the audio is complete, you are given ten extra minutes to pass your answers to the answer sheet. It is therefore recommended that you use the provided time to write the responses in the provided time and avoid writing them while listening to the audio.


Make sure the IELTS Test day is not the first day you appear for the listening session. Try to attempt IELTS Listening section in IELTS practice tests. Do get to know the various types of questions, learn different techniques to answer them, and use your time optimally to ace the actual IELTS test. The listening section is so critical that one has to be informed and adequately concerned about the techniques and errors to complete the IELTS Listening part with the confidence that comes from practicing and avoiding the common mistakes.

For more information, read our IELTS Exam day tips !

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