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How to Crack Section 3 of IELTS Listening?


IELTS Listening module consists of 4 sections viz. Section 1, Section 2, Section 3 and Section 4. Out of all these sections, Section 3 is the part where you listen to audio conversation of up to 4 people. This is perhaps one of the most difficult sections since you have to listen to a number of people. The reason is that in IELTS Listening Section 3, you are very likely to get confused with the voices and the conversation going on, which may become cumbersome for you to catch up well, when you try to relate this audio with the question. In the previous article, you read some tips on how to crack IELTS Listening Section 2.

Let us now discuss in detail how to crack Section 3 of IELTS listening test:

In IELTS Listening Section 3, you can commonly find any of the questions such as table completion, MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions), matching headings, flow chart or diagram. However, form filling and sentence completion are not usually seen in this section.
To approach the above type of questions, there are some unique tips to be kept in mind, while the basic things that you can concentrate on while attempting Section 3 in IELTS Listening test remain the same for all kinds of questions. Let us discuss the approach you can adopt for IELTS Listening test Section 3 by taking example of MCQs types of question:

Underline Keywords

Underlining important keywords in question is the most effective strategy for solving IELTS Listening Section 3. For this, you can utilize 1 minute, given to you prior to listening the audio conversation. Let us see how to underline keywords:

Simple MCQ

Joy has been working in the hospital for

  1. Three years
  2. One year
  3. Four years

In the above question, the main keywords you can focus upon are “Joy”, “working” and “hospital”. Hence, you can highlight these keywords by underlining them. Afterwards, when the audio starts, just keep these underlined keywords in your mind to get the gist of question while have your eyes on the three options; “three”, “one” and “four” and just avoid the common word “years”.
So, you have to choose the answer out of those three numbers only and this is how you are able to solve this type of question easily. Similarly, you can use the same strategy for a bit difficult question as well:

Difficult MCQ

Let us now discuss the difficult type of MCQs:
John was successful in his business because he

  1. recruited hundred more employees
  2. was the highly skilled professional
  3. could reach out to maximum customers

In the above type of question where it is comparatively difficult to concentrate, you can underline keywords as highlighted above. Now, let us find some important points to be noted for solving IELTS Listening Section 3.

Essential Tips for IELTS Listening Section 3:

  1. Listen to the introduction and example audio properly to be able to recognize different voices well.
  2. While focusing on the underlined keywords in the question, it is also important to understand the question because some of the keywords in the options or the complete option itself may be paraphrased in the audio.
  3. Using 1 minute to get an overview of the section would help you to familiarize yourself with the questions.
  4. Remember that while listening to the audio, you have to be quick enough to move your eyes over all the questions as well as options so that you are aligned up well with the audio and there is no chance of skipping a question.
  5. Lastly, do remember that information in the audio always flows in the same order as the order of question. So, you have to be continuously going on by immediately moving to the next question instead of looking back for any skipped question or unsurely marked answer.

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