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How to use Flow chart technique in IELTS Listening.

Among the four modules of IELTS, Listening is always the most loved among candidates. As they feel it is easy to solve and score. Having a very simple pattern of question where one has to hear the complete conversation or speech and fill in the incomplete part of the conversation in the question paper.

Even though, listening is one of the most relaxed section during the exam for most of the candidates. Still there is a particular section among those 40 questions which seems quite tough, that is the “flowchart questions”. Therefore, with my personal experience and practice, I have realized few tips which is quite useful to solve such question. I believe it would be helpful for both the category of aspirants, one who is well versed in listening and also to the one who wants to improve their band. So here I go.

1. Numbering the Flowcharts

Some flowcharts will have a straightforward flow but some will not. The trick here is to understand the relationship and effect information has on the flow. I  suggest you look at the numbering because that is the sequence the answers will follow in the audio clip. Before you begin, take a look at both to avoid confusion.

2. Understand the Grammar

Take a look at the grammar of the sentences. If there is an article before the gap like ‘a’, the answer will most likely be a noun or noun phrase.

3. Mapping the answers

There are two types of possible tasks, one with options to choose from and the other without. When you are faced with a question with choices, take minute to map possible answers to the questions using common sense. This will take away the pressure of discovering the answers and you will listen to the audio only to confirm your answers.

4. Gauging the idea

Try to gauge or understand the idea as whole behind the flowchart before you start answering questions. Making a conscious effort and putting in a minute to get the idea can dramatically improve your cognitive abilities while listening to the audio clip.

5. Go with the flow

This one is obvious yet an easily forgotten tip. The answers will come sequentially. It is important to know at what stage the speaker is to be able to map it effectively to the flow chart since an answer will appear every 30 to 40 seconds.

6. Highlight the keywords

Underline keywords to look out for in the clip. Underlining the keywords and understanding the subject will help you pick up the clue the moment you hear highlighted words.

7. Jot down the important points 

Write your answers in the question paper before transferring it onto the final sheet. This step is essential to check if your answers are making sense in the sequence and also to make sure that you are adhering to the word count. Since the flowchart type questions are short and crisp you have to try and ignore additional or unnecessary information from the audio clip.

8. Do Spell check

The accents used may vary. The IELTS is an international test but the main accents you will come across are British and American. Practice familiarizing yourself with the help of BBC radio. IELTS accepts British as well as American English spelling. Make sure to check your spellings as it will lead to a deduction if wrong.

9. Avoid memorizing

Don’t try to memorize or understand everything while listening. The test is built to understand your comprehending abilities, not memory. Even if you do not understand the topic at all, you only need to hear the right words to be able to answer. Sometimes the speaker may present an idea or talk on a topic you don’t agree with or relate to. In such cases, it is important to maintain a neutral stand point and keep listening.

The listening section in IELTS is one of the easier sections and can help you raise your average exponentially if you practice enough  and keep simple tips in mind.

Happy practicing !!!!!

— by Jacklin M Anthony


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