IELTS Energy 387: 3 Ways to Kill IELTS Listening Anxiety for a Strong Start

Today you’ll learn 3 ways to kill IELTS Listening anxiety so you can tackle your next exam with confidence!

3 ways kill ielts listening anxiety

We recently received a listener email about listening panic:

I’ve already attempted IELTS once. My scores were Listening 7, Reading 7, Speaking 7 and Writing 7.5. I’m an aspiring Canadian immigrant, and my desired band for Listening is 8. I wasn’t able to concentrate without headsets in the hall. Please advise me on my listening skill enhancement. I think the panic in the Listening test that was created had a negative impact on my Reading test as well. Hope your tips will do wonders for me.


Make your IELTS practice test-valid

As for writing and reading, you know you have to practice timing in order to prepare well for the exam.

However, this idea of test-validity is also applicable to listening!

So, to make your preparation more like test day, don’t listen with headphones. Also, go through all the steps and strategies that you will have to use on your exam.

Start strong

Since the Listening Exam is given first, it’s important to start strong and confidently, or your panic, like this listener, will impact your performance on the Reading and the Writing exams.


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When to start practicing like the exam

2-3 weeks before your exam, start using the IELTS Answer sheets. You can Google these and print them out.

So, for the Listening Exam, you’ll need to practice transferring your answers in the last 10 minutes of the test.

Balance strengths and weaknesses

Spend more time practicing for the sections that are the most challenging. If you are most afraid of Speaking, practice that the most!

Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Watch movies that not only challenge your English comprehension, but also your ideas. At the beginning of this episode, Lindsay and I recommend two movies: Get Out and Lion.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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  • 1) I didn’t do my homework . I dropped the ball / I really messed up / I completely spaced it / I couldn’t get it done .
    2) The radio host / DJ is dropping my jam , Saturday Night Fever . That’s my jam .

  • Hi girls, dropping the ball is not a god thing, but you know what? If we are really motivated to learn and have heard enough advices about learning a second language, then we know that making mistakes is maybe the most important thing during this huge adventure. You, for sure, take a very important role on this, sharing affection more than simply words. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Sergio it’s great to see you here since you are a longtime listener of AEE! Wishing you a great 2017!

  • Omar Matos

    After studying English for a while here where I live, the Dominican Republic, I finally realize that something is lacking. The thing is that the English is taught essentially by the grammar instead of educating the ears by listening. So when students graduate they’re specialist on written English (no good at all). I think that any language should be taught by hearing first then writing, that’s the natural way the babies learn (and the minimal time they take is about 2 or 3 years to maintain a conversation with adults) and after that they start to write a thing. I can’t deny I have to make a little effort to follow your conversation when I hear you speaking, but it’s not bad for me, because it makes my ears completely wide open as stated in the name of your program (do not slow down for what I am saying, keep on doing the great work!!!). I would like to thank you for taking your time for giving that priceless information; I wish you the best in your project. And finally, I have a question for you (yes a question); I hope you don’t drop the ball: Why Americans say PRESIDENT ELECT instead of ELECTED PRESIDENT? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Sincerely, I am all ears for you. Omar Matos.

    • Hi Omar thanks for your great feedback! You could say “elected president” but the chunk that we use all of the time is “president elect.” It’s great to learn these chunks so you don’t really need to wonder why we say it and you can learn them through listening to native English as much as possible. Thanks again for being an awesome listener of AEE!

      • Omar Matos

        Thank you Lindsay. You are so kind. Sometimes we got to learn something by heart and not looking for logical meaning or explanation. When the majority of people break a rule, it becomes a new rule when time passes by due to constant use.

  • Ina Swizz

    Hi Lindsay and Michelle

    I love your podcast and I’m happy you tried to answer my question about “dropping the jam” even if you didn’t know the context and therefore couldn’t give me an answer (and I forgot where I heard this phrase). But I loved this episode of “dropping the ball”.

    I now have another question I like to ask you. When I was younger I used to watch all episodes of “Friends” and I started last week to watch it again. It is so funny to see all the 90th stuff there 🙂

    In the titelsong there is this line: your love life goes DOA. So my question is, what does that mean? In the internet I found this explanation: “Dead on Arrival” and they explain that this phrase is for guarantee when something is broken you have ordered. Maybe the line in the song means, that the love is dead right from the start or something like that?

    Is that right and are there more of this abbreviations we should know and wich we could use in a different meaning?

    I didn’t found an episodes on that topic so maybe I used the wrong words for searching or you could maybe answer that?

    Thanks again for your great work, I look forward to join you in the “adventure class” 🙂


    Ina from Swiss (The i in Ina is pronounced like an e)

    • Hi Ina thanks for your question. We will try to answer this on the show soon!

  • 3 KEYS makes SUCCESS happen. Absolutely A+. Think of IELTS as a habit, not a task. It has a force of nature. Be dying to have full access to it. A little practice is better than none. You’ll never shine if you don’t connect. It’s worth a shot !!!