General Listening Tips & Suggestions
- Practice listening everyday
- Think about the topic before you listen - any information & vocabulary you know will help you understand new information
- Listen 1 time for the main idea
- Don't check every word you don't know in a dictionary - try to guess from the situation
- Listen again & take notes about important information [who - when - where - what - why - how]
- Listen to the tone & intonation of the speaker (see Speaking & Pronunciation Practice for information about pronunciation)
- If you don't understand what someone is saying to you, ask them to explain it or speak slower
- On the phone, take notes & repeat information back to the person: you can check your understanding
- Try watching English TV and movies - without the subtitles
- Be patient - relax & give yourself lots of time
Free web sites
- BBC Learning English
This is an excellent web site to practice listening. It's advanced because you can practice listening to international accents & learn new vocabulary.
There are 3 areas to choose from:
- Words in the News
- General and Business English
- The Flatmate's series
- CBC Ottawa ESL Listening Lessons
This is an excellent web site to practice your listening, vocabulary & research skills. There are 3 levels. Each listening is more than 2 minutes. There is also a 'transcript' (words from the conversation) for each listening.
Each listening has:
- An introduction: a short summary about the topic
- Before you listen activities: these help to prepare you
- While you listen questions: these test your understanding
- After you listen activities: there are optional web sites to visit for more information and research
- Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
This is a great web site to practice your listening skills & there are different levels & topics, so you can challenge yourself everyday. There is also a 'quiz script' (words from the conversation) for each listening.
Each listening has:
- Pre-listening exercises: activities to prepare you before you listen
- Listening exercises: questions to answer while you listen
- Post-listening exercises: activities to do after your listen
- ESL Lounge NEW!
This is another easy to use web site to practice listening.
- Click on the name of the listening
- Read the questions before you listen
- Right click on mp3 listening file and choose "Open link in new window"
There are 4 levels to choose from: