All the important English examinations have a listening section and it is extremely important to get a lot of practice.
If you are paying for lessons by the hour this can prove to be expensive. Fortunately there is a lot you can do for yourself. After all, there is no point paying a teacher just to sit there turning a CD player on and off for you!
However you do need some advice and LOTS of opportunities to try out different tests for yourself. I often see advice given to students to listen to the radio. Once again, that is fine advice if you are already very good at English but not much use if you can’t understand a word the DJ or speaker is saying yet!
Using online resources you can start with nice simple exercises and if necessary play them more than once until you “get it”. Answering comprehension questions also gives you important experience in recognising the kind of information you need to listen for – True, False or Not Given, Cause and Effect questions (identifying reasons), Who, what, why, when, where, how much, how often and so often. It’s a good idea to spend a little time going through the questions afterwards and identifying which of these sorts of questions each one is. With both Reading and Listening tasks you might be very surprised how much you improve if you look at your exercises and analyse them in this way.
My listening page gives you plenty of links to help you improve your listening at home on your own. All you need is some headphones or speakers and a quiet room.
Listening practice also helps you with understanding accents and with learning more about key topics and increasing your vocabulary. At the English Language Listening Lab Online (www.elllo.org) you can use a search engine to find listening exercises on particular topics, or even ones that have good examples of a particular word or grammar point. It’s a fantastic way to prepare for a lesson or homework task. I also recommend that site as preparation for Speaking tests as you can hear people having just the kind of conversations about their opinions that you need to be able to take part in in an examination.
I have arranged the page with the simplest ones first right the way up to sites where you can get advanced exam practice and buy or download free practice tests for most important exams.
Go and have a look at the page and try some now.