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Strategies to Improve English Listening Skills

Part 3: Listening in PTE Academic requires many hours of practice to maximize your score. Whilst practicing other parts of the test you would have learned certain core English skills that are needed in Part 3 that you can further improve.

To do well in the listening questions set a daily goal of listening regularly to authentic English texts. The more you listen, the better you will do in the test.

When choosing recordings to listen to, do not choose examples that are too difficult. Start at a level you are comfortable with and build up to a higher level example as you improve.

If you find the recording too difficult, try to just listen for the content words, such as nouns, adjectives and verbs so that you can pick up the meaning of the recording.

Always try to listen as many times as you need to fully understand the content. Try to go back and listen to the same recording a few days later to help you remember the content, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Use an Online Tone Generator tool to help slow down recordings and keep the original pitch of the speaker. Try not to slow it down so much that you translate the meaning into your own language as this will not help improve your listening skills.

Don’t forget to be an active listener and focus on what you are hearing.

What should I listen to?

As the speakers in PTE Academic have various accents, we recommend listening to a wide range of speakers from different backgrounds to learn the different pronunciation used.

Try to listen to speakers from Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as non-native English speakers from India, China and Europe.

Some of the below podcasts will help:

You can also listen to radio around the world at Live Online Radio.

When listening keep a listening diary to write down the titles of recordings along with notes. Listen for stressed words in the recordings as these are usually the most important.

The easiest way to take notes will be to use abbreviations and/or symbols as you will not have enough time in the test to write full words.

From your notes, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What was the topic and main ideas?
  • What accent did the speaker/s use?
  • Was it interesting?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • What vocabulary did you learn?
  • Do you want to listen to more texts from that site?
  • Did you need to slow the text down? If so, what speed?
  • How many times did you listen to the text? Do you want to listen again?
  • Do you feel your listening skills are improving?

You can also catch up with the news to improve your listening skills by listening or watching and listening in English:

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