Is Spelling Important in IELTS Listening

Yes, spelling is crucial in IELTS listening.

IELTS Listening scores are based on correct answers. This means for each question you answer correctly, you get one point. You don’t lose points for incorrect answers.

To get an answer correct, it must be spelled correctly. Any answer that is not spelled correctly will be marked wrong. IELTS accept both American and British English spelling.

Correct spelling includes the use of hyphens when necessary and knowing when compound nouns are written as one word.

Lessons for improving your Spelling

Click on the links below to practice your spelling:

How to improve your spelling

  1. Once way to improve your spelling is learning by heart. This means writing words down again and again until you can spell them correctly. Improve your vocabulary for IELTS with appropriate words lists for topics.
  2. Use spell checker on your laptop. When you do this, make sure you write down the list of words that you got wrong.
  3. When you write an essay at home, underline words that you think might be spelled wrong. Check them in a dictionary.
  4. Read more. Most people find that the more you read, the better your spelling will become. However, this is a passive method of learning and can take time. If you are short of time, then be active and make spelling lists.
  5. Use free spelling websites. You can find a link to one on this page: Useful Websites and Links for IELTS
  6. There is no quick easy way to improve your spelling, it takes time and dedication by you.

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IELTS Listening Practice: Selecting Names from a List

This IELTS listening practice is based on multiple choice when you must choose names from a list. Be prepared to hear many names – try to listen out for the names which answer the question.

Health Care Conference

Multiple Choice Questions 1-3

Who will be lecturing at the conference today?

Choose three letters, A-G.

  • A = Dr Christopher Lord
  • B = Dr David Bishop
  • C = Dr George Ripley
  • D = Dr William Benson
  • E = Dr Roger Dean
  • F = Dr Daisy Mandalay
  • G = Dr Ralph Morris





E  A  B (any order). This question counts for answers 1, 2 and 3. This means three points – one point for each correct answer.

  • E = ‘Dr Roger Dean who will be presenting his speech…’
  • A = ‘Dr Christopher Lord will address everyone…’
  • B = ‘Dr David Bishop, as I mentioned earlier, will take the floor to tell you about…’

Comments: The answer is not C (Dr George Ripley) because he is talking tomorrow not today. The answer is not D (Dr William Benson) because he is running a debate. He is not giving a lecture. The answer is not F (Dr Daisy Mandalay) because she is showing a video not talking. The answer is not G (Dr Ralph Morris) because he is collecting feedback and not speaking.

The key to success in this listening practice is to identify the word “lecture” as the key word in the question. Many names are mentioned but only three people are actually lecturing today.



Today’s topic under discussion is the health care system both past and present. We have a number of guests for today’s lectures, videos and debates, one of them the notable Dr David Bishop.

The morning will be kicked off by Dr Roger Dean who will be presenting his speech summarising the major changes and challenges of the health care system from the year 2000 to around 2012. Following him, will be Dr William Benson who will oversee the debate on today’s problems for hospitals. After lunch, Dr Daisy Mandalay will be showing a revealing video relating to the current trends in health problems faced by today’s society. Dr Christopher Lord will then address everyone on the problems faced by family doctors and the vital role they play in the health care system. Last, but not least, Dr David Bishop, as I mentioned earlier, will take the floor to tell you about his current research. Dr Ralph Morris will be responsible for collecting your feedback on the various parts of the conference at the end of the day. That will conclude our seminars for the day. Tomorrow’s conference details will be put up on the notice board later this afternoon but you will be all please to know that Dr George Ripley has agreed to lecture you all.



give a lecture / to  lecture Synonyms:

  • give a talk about / on
  • to address people on
  • give a seminar on
  • hold a seminar on
  • to take the floor (to talk)
  • to instruct people on
  • to give a speech about / on
  • to present a speech / talk on about


Recommended for IELTS Listening:

Listening for Names Practice & Tips

List of Common English Names – Pronunciation

Multiple Choice Practice for Listening & Reading

All IELTS Listening Lessons, Tips & Free Videos

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IELTS Tips: How words are counted

Learn how your words are counted in IELTS. This page explains about counting words, numbers and symbols. You need to know how words are counted for IELTS listening, reading and writing. If you make mistakes with the number of words, you can lose points which can affect your band score.

How words are counted in IELTS

1. Numbers, dates and time are counted as words in writing. For example 30,000 = one word  /  55  = one word  /  9.30am = one word / 12.06.2016 = one word. In listening, 30,000 is counted as one number and 9.30AM is also counted as one number.

2. Dates written as both words and numbers are counted in this way: 12th July = one number and one word.

3. Symbols with numbers are not counted. For example, 55% = one number (the symbol “%” is not counted as a word). However, if you write “55 percent” it is counted as one word and one number.

4. Small words such as “a” or “an” are counted as one word. All prepositions, such as “in” or “at” are also counted. All words are counted.

5. Hyphenated words like “up-to-date” are counted as one word.

6. Compound nouns which are written as one word are also counted as one word. For example, blackboard = one word.

7. Compound nouns which are written as two separate words, are counted as two words. For example, university bookshop = two words.

8. All words are counted, including words in brackets. For example in IELTS writing, “The majority of energy was generated by electricity (55%).”. This sentence is counted as 9 words. The number in brackets is counted.


Advanced IELTS Writing Lessons: Liz’s Advanced Lessons

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IELTS Listening for Plurals: Tips & Practice

In the IELTS listening test, you often need to listen for plurals. This lesson looks at tips and practice for IELTS listening for plurals.

IELTS Listening for Plurals: Video Tutorial

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IELTS Listening Practice: Building the Eiffel Tower

This IELTS listening practice is based on sentence completion questions and diagram labelling. You need to prepare all questions before listening.

For the sentence completion, check what type of answer you need for each question and underline key words that will help you identify the answer when you hear it. For the diagrams, read the instructions carefully to find the type of answer you need.

IELTS Listening: The Eiffel Tower

Questions 1-5

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or numbers.

  1. In 1884, two …………… came up with the concept of building tall tower.
  2. The plan was for the tower to be ……….. feet in height.
  3. Assembly of the supports took ……………. to finish.
  4. During construction, precision of work was measured to …………. of a millimetre.
  5. The construction team has responsibility for ……………. to ………… workers.

Questions 6 – 7

Label the diagram below with the correct dates using no more than one word and/or numbers.IELTS Listening Eiffel Tower



Click below to reveal the answers:

  1. engineers / chief engineers (either answer is correct)
  2. 1000
  3. 22 months (the number can be written as a hyphenated word. The word “months” must be plural.)
  4. a tenth (“a” is needed for the answer to be correct. All sentences must be grammatically correct when completed)
  5. 150    300 (both numbers are needed for the correct answer. No punctuation is required between them)
  6. 15 March 1888 / 15th March 1888 (the full date is required)
  7. 12 March  1889 / 12th March 1889 (the full date is required)

The plan to build a tower 300 metres high was conceived as part of preparations for the World’s Fair of 1889. Two chief engineers in Eiffel’s company, had the idea for a very tall tower in June 1884. The tower project was a bold extension of this principle – equivalent to the symbolic figure of 1000 feet.

The assembly of the supports began on July 1, 1887 and was completed twenty-two months later. All the elements were prepared in Eiffel’s factory located  on the outskirts of Paris. Each of the 18,000 pieces used to construct the Eiffel Tower were specifically designed and calculated, traced out to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre and then put together forming new pieces around five metres each. A team of constructors, who had worked on the great metal viaduct projects, were responsible for the 150 to 300 workers on site assembling this gigantic set.

Photographic evidence at the time showed the four stages of the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The first photo was taken after the construction of the first floor on the 15th March 1888 and the following photos were taken over a period of about a year. The constructions were finally finished on the 12th March 1889 which is when the last photo was taken. On the narrow platform at the top, Eiffel received his decoration from the Legion of Honour.

read more about the Eiffel Tower Construction 

  • conceived = thought up / planned
  • bold = daring / courageous
  • construct = build
  • calculated = measured
  • traced = copied
  • on site – at the location of the building
  • gigantic = huge
  • finished / completed


More IELTS Listening

IELTS Listening: 25 Essential Tips

IELTS Multiple Choice Tips

IELTS Listening: Numbers Practice

IELTS Listening: All Lessons, Tips and Practice

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IELTS Listening for Diagrams Practice and Tips

Here are tips and practice to label an IELTS listening diagram. It is common to get diagrams in IELTS listening section 2 and 3 although they may appear in section 4 too.

IELTS Listening Diagram Tips

  • check the location of each number
  • answers come in order
  • decide what kind of answer you need (noun, adj, verb)
  • check how many words or numbers you can use
  • predict language to describe locations (under, over, above, underneath, at the side, etc)
  • look at the title of the diagram to help you predict topic language

IELTS Listening Diagram Practice

The Brownie Camera

Label the diagram using no more than two words and/or a number.

IELTS Listening Diagram Camera


  1. strap
  2. viewfinder
  3. viewfinder lens
  4. shutter lever
The Brownie camera was introduced in February 1900  and popularised low-cost photograph bringing about the concept of the snapshot. At a cost of just £1, it was intended to be a camera everyone could afford and use. It was a simple camera to operate. It was a box camera made out of cardboard or, later, plastic. On the top was a strap to enable people to carry their cameras making photography more convenient to people on the go. The workings of the camera were secured inside the box by locks on the top and also at the side near the film advance. When people wanted to take a snapshot, they would put their eye to the rectangular viewfinder. There were two of these located both on the top and side of the camera allowing people to take both landscape and portrait pictures. The image from the viewfinder was seen though a viewfinder lens. There were also two of these on the front of the camera relating in position to each of the viewfinders. The real lens was placed squarely in a central position on the front of the camera. When people wanted to take a photo, they would press a small lever at the side of the camera known as the shutter lever. When this was pressed down, the photo would be captured. This is one of the most iconic cameras in the world and is responsible for development of photography as we know it today.


More IELTS Listening

IELTS Listening: Maps

IELTS Listening: Multiple Choice

IELTS Listening: Short Answer Questions

IELTS Listening: 25 Essential Tips

IELTS Listening Band Scores

IELTS Listening: All Information, Tips and Practice


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IELTS Listening Practice: Sports Festival

IELTS summary completion and sentence completion practice for listening about the topic of sport.


  • Spend time reading through the questions for the summary and sentence completion because the audio will cover all questions.
  • Pay attention to the title and key words in the questions.
  • Predict the type of answer you will need to listen for (grammar will help you).
  • Notice that the instructions (word count) changes as the type of question changes – pay attention to this.
  • Be ready to move from one set of questions to another. Identify a key word that will help you to know when to move questions.
  • Remember that some key words can be paraphrased.

Mongolian Sports Festival

Questions 1 – 3

Complete the summary using no more than one word and/or a number.

Naadam is a festival of three sports in Mongolia: (1)……………….. horse racing and archery. This festival is traditionally for men and takes place during (2)……………….. Previously, women were unable to (3)………………. in the festival but now they can take part in two out of the three sports.

Questions 4 – 6

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or numbers.

  • 4) Historically, this festival was used to generate ………………….
  • 5) People don ……………………………… for the festival.
  • 6) Each year the celebration is held between ……. and ……………….


Answers & Vocabulary

Click below to see answers:

  1. wrestling
  2. midsummer (one word)
  3. participate or compete (two possible options)
  4. warriors or skillful warriors (must be plural) or skillful men
  5. colourful clothes or traditional clothes or distinctive clothes (three possible options but no more than two words possible for the answer)
  6. 11 13 July / 11th 13th July (you must have both numbers and the month. The month does not need to start with a capital letter. See this page regarding the use of capital letters: IELTS Listening Tips)

Naadam is a traditional games festival in Mongolia comprising of three sports: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. It is otherwise known as “the three games of men” because traditionally men were the only ones who could compete.  It is held over midsummer throughout the country. Nowadays, women are able to participate in archery and horse racing but not wrestling. The name “Naadam” means “festival or feast of sports”.

In ancient times, the Mongolian great kings and military generals used to train their warriors and the warriors’ main battle tool, horses, through this competition. While competing and feasting, those three manly traditional sports have been used to create skillful men for centuries.

During the festival, Mongolians dress in colourful and distinctive traditional clothes and ride their most beautiful horses. Official festival celebrations take place throughout the country between 11th and 13th July annually.  The Naadam celebration in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is the most marvelous.

Useful Vocabulary
  • comprising of = made up of / consisting of
  • wrestling – a sport of holding and throwing an opponent to the ground
    • mongolia_naadam_10
  • archery – using a bow and arrow to hit a target
    • Naadam_women_archery
  • compete = participate / take part in
  • to be held / to take place
  • in ancient times = historically
  • manly = activities suited to a man
  • generate = create
  • to dress = to don (this is formal verb)
  • marvelous = spectacular (this synonym is used only in this context)


Naadam Festival Information

Watch a great video about this wonderful festival in Mongolia. The person giving the information is Mongolian and does make mistakes with English but she still has a wide range of interesting vocabulary and can explain her ideas clearly.

Below is some excellent vocabulary that was used in this video:

  • delighted
  • preparing warriors for combat
  • huge
  • great noise / shouting
  • rush
  • testing not only speed but endurance
  • bare feet
  • saddle
  • cheering
  • sharpness
  • brings the community together
  • harsh weather
  • lifts the spirits of everyone

You may consider her accent difficult to understand in parts but her vocabulary, as you can see above, is very strong and flexible. She is able to explain her ideas and concepts very clearly.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if there any special customs or celebrations in your country that you wish me to make a lesson for. Liz

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IELTS Listening: Filling in the Missing Word

Filling in the missing word is a common task for IELTS listening. This is mainly known as sentence completion or summary completion. The lesson below gives you some practice with how to fill in the gaps.

Practice completing sentences for IELTS listening by filling in the sentences below with a missing word. Read through the sentences carefully before you listen. Predict what type of word you need to listen for and also plan any possible paraphrases for words in the sentences. These types of listening questions are called sentence completion. Your answ

IELTS Listening: Fireworks

Questions 1- 8

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Specialists in fireworks include ……….. to create special effects.
  2. Fireworks are made by putting all materials in a ………
  3. Fireworks were invented by the ……………
  4. The first firework created a loud ……….
  5. Fireworks appeared in Europe by the ………………
  6. The ………… firework launches high into the air and explodes at a certain height.
  7. The long tube fireworks are called ……………..
  8. …………… is used to create a bright white light.



The original fireworks were made from gunpowder, which is a mixture of ingredients including saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal. Today experts at handling explosives, called pyrotechnicians, add chemicals for special effects. There are many different kinds of fireworks but they are all made in a similar way. The ingredients are placed in a shell, it is then wrapped up and a fuse is added. In factories, where the fireworks are made, safety precautions are used to make sure a single static electric shock does not create an explosion.

Fireworks have been around for centuries and are believed to have been first made by the Chinese. A Chinese document, dated about 1040AD, showed how to wrap gunpowder in paper to make a “fire pill”. This small firecracker made a very loud bang which was thought to ward off evil spirits. By the 13th century, fireworks had made their way to Europe where their popularity grew. By the 1500’s, fireworks were used in celebrations and special events. The Italians were the masters of fireworks by the 17th century.

There are a number of different types of fireworks these days and each of them works in a particular way. The rocket firework has a substance which explodes and shoots the firework into the air. When the rocket reaches a particular height, another spark causes it to blow up, releasing fine metal powders into the air. Roman candles are long tubes which shoot balls of chemicals from one end creating a series of flaming stars. Fountains are cone shaped and a small hole allows gases to escape, shooting coloured sparks into the air. Adding magnesium gives off a bright white light. Other ingredients give off different types of light when they become hot which is how colours are created.

  1. chemicals
  2. shell
  3. Chinese (You do not need a capital letter at the beginning for this to be correct)
  4. bang
  5. 13th century
  6. rocket
  7. Roman candles (If your spelling is wrong, the answer is incorrect. The capital letter is not important.)
  8. Magnesium (if your spelling is wrong, your answer is incorrect – you don’t need a capital letter even if it is at the beginning of the word. See my tips for info about this: IELTS Listening Tips)

Information from cbbc news

  • add = include
  • put in = placed in
  • invented by = first made by
  • made = created
  • appeared in = made their way to
  • launches into the air = shoots into the air
  • particular = certain
  • used to create = gives off

You will see that the paraphrases are not difficult. The main difficulty is all the extra information that is given which can be confusing to hear. Keep your mind focused on listening for answers and try not to be distracted by extra information.



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