Having Trouble Understanding The Accent In IELTS Listening

Understand the Accents in IELTS Listening
IELTS listening has one unique challenge that you may not face in other parts of the test. Being a listening test you will be listening to a prerecorded audio file for all the four sections. Now being an international test, the accent of the speakers can vary from one geographical region to the other. A British speaker may sound different region i.e. maybe Australian or one located in New Zealand.
Many students often panic when they hear a speaker with a unique accent. So if you are one of those worried or having trouble understanding various accents in IELTS Listening, here is how you can overcome the challenge.

Extreme versus unfamiliar accents
Many students often lose the accent battle in their head once the audio starts playing out with an accent they may not relate to. Know that being an International test, IELTS listening may offer a speaker with varied accent types but the accents are never extreme. So even if you may have not heard the accent earlier, by no means is the accent too difficult to comprehend. Of course, prior practice is the best way to tackle multiple accents, even without practice, be confident to handle the accent and chances that you will do just fine.

Listen attentively and don't get overwhelmed by the accent
The accent may be familiar or unfamiliar, the one thing that remains constant is to always, I repeat always listen very attentively. Getting overwhelmed by the audio is a general reaction but apt focusing on the content should be warranted. This may be easier said than done and I suggest checking out some Sample Tests listed here that offer tests with multiple accents to ensure you have all bases covered.

Listen to online Radio Stations
A good way to increase your power to understand and grasp information spoke in varied accents is to listen to radio stations. You can opt for many free channels online like BBC Radio from the UK, CBC Radio from Canada and ABC Radio from Australia. Listen for a few hours each day and you will soon find yourself getting familiar with the various accents. 

Shortlist and listen to TED talks from native speakers
Your IELTS listening preparation does not start and end with practice tests and study time. When free or when browsing the internet or your phone for some inspiration, check out TED talks by speakers. Now be wise and opt for talks from speakers with varied accents. This will help you make the right use of your time, get inspired as well as understand the varied accents of native speakers of the world.

Pick practice tests wisely
Not many students check if the practice tests they are opting to cover various accent types. What if your practice test has audio from one native and on the test day you get audio having the speaker speaking in a uniquely different accent? The best way to avoid such a situation is to opt for sample practice tests. A good resource of IELTS Listening Practice Tests covering various accents can be found here.
Posted  September 11, 2019