IELTS Listening: Effective Note Taking Skills - IELTS University (Singapore)

IELTS Listening: Effective Note Taking Skills

There are many tasks in the IELTS listening test that test your ability to effectively note down to important information in a talk or conversation however, note-taking is not really a skill that most of us are good at. In this article, we will take a look at some affective note taking strategies.

Why Good Note Taking Is Such An Important Skill


During the listening test, candidates will have to listen to the recording, read the questions, and write their answers. This can even be more challenging since the recordings are in English which is often a candidate’s second or third language. To add to this the speakers in the recordings have native accents, which might be unfamiliar to test takers. To top it all of you only get to listen to the recording just once. This can get overwhelming for any test taker. You can avoid this sense of being overwhelmed, by training your ears to pick up the important information in an audio.

How To Practice Note Taking


1. Be An Active Listener

The first step would be to train to be an active listener. Try listening to YouTube videos and ted talks, where speakers are discussing one particular topic. Listen to the recording in full (or in small chunks at the beginning of your preparation). Try to note down the important points mentioned by the speaker. You could also try making a small summary of the important points. Go back and review the transcript of the video and compare it to your summary. Check if there were any major points that you missed.

2. Listen Out For Keywords

It is impossible to note each word you hear in the recording. Therefore, you need to be able to decide quickly about what information is key/important. You need to learn to simply focus on keywords and phrases. Your notes should only serve to reinforce what you are listening to, so make sure that you focus on listening and not on note-taking. This will help to clarify your understanding of what you are listening to.

3. Listen Out For Signal Words

The speakers usually offer clues, in the form of signal words, to help test takers understand that different types of information are about to be mentioned. For example, the speaker could introduce an example by saying something like “for instance” or they could signal the end of their talk by saying “to sum up” Understanding what these words mean or ‘signal’ will help you to anticipate what the speaker might talk about next. When you become accustomed to listening to these sorts of recordings you get a clearer idea about the signal words that you need to listen out, and which type of information is about to follow

You can easily practice your note-taking skills by taking full-length practice tests under exam conditions. This will help you to improve the speed at which you take notes as well as their quality.

Once you have mastered the necessary skills needed to perform well in the IELTS Listening Exam, taking regular practice tests will also help you to learn how to be fast enough to answer all the questions on time, without making mistakes.

The most efficient and convenient way to pass the exam is to take the counsel of expert online IELTS tutors and practice using authentic IELTS Mock tests.