Listening for Details, Part 2
- For this lesson, turn on the audio on the left side of the page to listen as you read. This is important so that you can hear the sound differences we will discuss in today's lesson.
This lesson is Part 2 in the series about Listening for Details. In this post we will focus on times, names, letters and addresses.
On the IELTS Listening test, these details are extremely common in Sections 1 and 2. Remember, Sections 1 and 2 are easier than Sections 3 and 4, but you should still make sure to practice listening for details. You don’t want to make any mistakes on these simple questions.
Okay, let’s go!
Common Ways to Express Time:
There are a few time expressions you need to become familiar with for expressing time. Let’s take a look at them. (note that the preposition “to” here means “until”.)
“Five to three” = 2:55
“Five after three” = 3:05
“Ten to three” = 2:50
“Ten after three” = 3:10
“Quarter to three” = 2:45
“Quarter after three” = 3:15
“Half past three” = 3:30
You should memorize these, as they are very common! Note of course that they can be used with any hour (five after twelve, quarter to two…)
TIMES ON YOUR ANSWER SHEET:
Remember that punctuation doesn’t matter. Writing “1030” for an answer is okay.
Note that whether a time is “am” or “pm” may be required for an answer!
NAMES, LETTERS, AND ADDRESSES
Names are common as answers in Sections 1 and 2 of the listening test. The tricky part is that difficult names will be spelled for you, but common names won’t! So you should be familiar with the most common boys and girls names in English.
A quick google search can help you here.
- http://names.mongabay.com/male_names.htm This site has the most common names for boys and girls in the USA.
- https://www.yahoo.com/news/the-100-most-popular-british-baby-names-126911905396.html This site has them for Britain.
NAMES ON YOUR ANSWER SHEET:
One important note is that if the IELTS test gives you a title (Mr. or Mrs.), and the title is not already written on the test paper, then you should include it as part of your answer, or it will be marked wrong!
The five titles that you are likely to see are: Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms / Dr
Since difficult names and addresses will be spelled for you on the test, it’s very important to know the correct pronunciation of English letters!
Let’s go through the alphabet together. I will say each letter, then you can repeat it for practice:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Some people have difficulty hearing the difference between the following letters. Let’s go through them together:
I / Y / E / A
B / P / V
M / NK / Q
D / T
S / X
J / G
Again, difficult addresses will be spelled for you, but common ones may not be. For example, “Park Lane” would not be spelled for you, but “Fairfax Road” would.
One important note is that if the IELTS test mentions a type of street (like road, avenue, or lane) then you should include it.
It is okay to include the abbreviated form of street types, in case you can’t remember how to spell them! BUT… make sure you get the abbreviation correct!
Here are the different street types you may hear, and the abbreviations for them:
Road / Rd.
Avenue / Ave.
Lane / Ln.
Highway / Hwy.
Crescent / Cr.
Street / St.
Drive / Dr.
Place / Pl.
Let's Get Some Practice!
That's it. For more practice with listening for specific details, you should do some IELTS practice tests and focus on Sections 1 and 2. I also highly recommend picking up the official Cambridge Guide or Cambridge IELTS textbooks, which you can find online, or at a library.
I also recommend using the scripts that come in the back of the Cambridge books for practice! You should always take note of your incorrect answers and then go find them in the scripts to understand where you went wrong.