Improving IELTS listening skills for atc students of banking academy

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has long been known as one of the well-trusted measures

to assess the language profficiency of a learner. As such, it is

widely used in many higher education institutions as an outcome

standard for their students and Banking Academy (BA) is not

an exception. In order to sucessfully graduate, ATC students

(English-major students) of Banking Academy have to obtain an

overall bandscore of at least 6.0.

IELTS Listening is considered by many learners as the most

challenging skills as lots of efforts and time are required if learners

wish to make much progress in Listening.

This paper looks at some typical listening difficulties faced by

learners and offer some suggestions to help learners achieve their


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istening test is designed to assess 
a variety of listening skills. In particular, it is to 
check how well listeners get main ideas and spe-
cific detailed information, how well they recognise 
the opinions, attitude and purpose of a speaker and 
to check if they can follow the development of ar-
2.1.2. How the IELTS Listening component is 
It consists of four sections and there are usually 
two conversations and two monologues set in 
everyday social matters, e.g. a conversation in a 
bank, in an accommodation agency, among students 
and subjects relates to educational and training 
situations. The recordings are played once only and 
the test approximately lasts 30 minutes.
There are a variety of question types including 
multiple choice questions, matching, short answer 
questions, sentence completion, form/table 
completion, labeling a map/diagram/plan, summary, 
and classification of information.
2.1.3. IELTS Listening exam techniques
* Predict answer types before listening: Students 
should be able to anticipate the type of information 
required because when they are aware of what 
they have to listen for, they have a good chance of 
getting correct answers and this process is known as 
“targeted listening”.
* Identify paraphrases and synonyms: English 
speakers are well known for using paraphrases and 
synonyms more often than speakers of many other 
languages, as such in the IELTS Listening test, the 
speakers normally use a synonym or a paraphrase 
of the keywords found in the question. Students 
should therefore practice thinking about how words 
seen in the question might be replaced by different 
words that convey the same or very similar meaning 
in the recordings.
* Improve pronunciation: According to Chastain 
(1988), one of the four components of listening 
comprehension is the ability to recognize all 
sounds, intonation patterns, and voice qualities in 
the second language. In order to obtain success in 
IELTS Listening, students are advised to pay more 
attention to their pronunciation skills.
* Grammar: Proper English grammar is definitely 
important for students to get a high Listening score. 
This is especially helpful in sentence and summary 
completion question types where an answer 
which is not only spelled correctly but also fitted 
grammatically is needed. Good grammar helps 
guide students towards correct answers.
2.2. Suggested in-class activities to enhance 
students’ IELTS Listening skills.
2.2.1. Pre-listening activities
The purposes of the pre-listening activities are 
to provide students with a clear context of what 
they are going to hear and to equip students with the 
topic vocabulary as well as the language structures 
in the recordings.
* Brainstorming topic words: Teachers can give 
students the topic of the listening and ask them to 
write down the words that they think might appear 
in the listening. Teachers can then check, provide 
more related words if necessary. This activity is 
to enhance students’ topic vocabulary and to help 
them be more confident while listening.
* Running dictation: Have students arrange 
in lines. The first student of each line will be the 
runner. The runner goes to the wall and pick up a 
note where there is a chunk of text (extracted from 
the listening), memorizes it and runs back to the 
line and dictates it to the first member of the line. 
This member is then responsible for whispering 
the chunk of text to the next member of the line 
and this process goes on until the last member of 
the line receives the message and writes it down. 
The winner is the group which has the most correct 
words within the time given. The purposes of this 
activity are again to provide students with the topic 
of the listening and to check their pronunciation of 
the topic words.
* Expressing me: Give each student several 
words or expressions related to the theme of the 
listening text and ask them to explain the words/
expressions without mentioning the original words/
expressions to their partners. The partners will then 
have to guess the words/expressions. The aim of this 
activity is to focus on the importance of synonyms 
and paraphrases.
2.2.2. While –listening activities
Apart from the well-designed IELTS Listening 
practice tests that teachers can use in class, they can 
87Volume 8, Issue 2
use other authentic materials and these activities to 
raise students’ interest in listening and to improve 
skills necessary for the IELTS Listening test such 
as: listening for the gist, listening for specific 
information and listening for speakers’ attitude or 
* A gapped text: Teachers could give students 
a copy of a song lyrics with certain words blanked 
out. The first option is to let students predict the 
words that go into each blank. The second option 
is to give them suggested words and they then have 
to analyze the text in order to fill in the correct 
words. The third option is to give them synonyms/
paraphrases of the words needed for each blank and 
they need to find out the correct words. Once they 
have done this, they listen to the song and check 
their answers.
* True/False statements: In this activity, 
students are required to watch a video clip and then 
determine whether the statements given are correct 
or not. It may be helpful if students underline 
keywords before they watch. Teachers could make 
use of videos (documentaries, news, weather 
forecast, interviews or inspiring speeches of famous 
people) available on the Internet to design the task. 
By using videos in their lessons, teachers can help 
students to retain more information, understand 
different concepts quicker and to make students 
more interested in what they are listening to. 
* Right words: Students are required to find 
mistakes in a song lyric or a video script. This 
activity focuses on the words that often make 
students confuse when they listen like homophones 
(words that have the same pronunciation but 
different meanings or spelling or similar sound 
2.2.3. Post-listening activities
A post-listening activity act as a follow up 
to the main listening activity and aims to utilize 
the knowledge or vocabulary obtained from the 
* Summarizing: One of the activities that a 
teacher can do to check understanding is to ask 
students to summarize the information they have 
heard. This works best if the listening text is a story.
* Continuing the word lists: This can be seen as 
a follow up task of the brainstorming topic words 
in the pre-listening phase. In this task, students are 
asked to extend the word list with the word sets they 
have learnt from the main listening task.
* Discussions: Teachers can ask students to have 
a short discussion about the topic taken from the 
main listening task. 
3. Conclusion
In this paper, the authors have looked into the 
extent of IELTS Listening description, listening 
skill requirements and then give some suggested 
in-class activities for teachers to perform well in 
listening class in order to enable their students to 
get the highest possible score in the test. Through 
this paper, the researcher believed that successful 
listening can only be acquired overtime and with 
continuous practice and teachers, with suitable 
teaching styles and teaching activities, can help 
students gradually become more confident in 
communication in general and in the IELTS 
listening component in particular.
Chastain, K. (1998). Developing Second 
Language skills. 3rd U.S.A: Harcourt Brace, 
Jovanovich, Inc. 
Hamouda, A. (2013). An Investigation of 
Listening Comprehension Problems 
Encountered by Saudi Students in the EL 
Listening Classroom. International Journal 
of Academic Research in Progressive 
Education and Development. 2(2), 113-155.
Howatt, A., & J. Dakin. (1974). Language 
laboratory materials, ed. J. P. B. Allen, S. P. 
B. Allen, and S. P. Corder.
Thomlison, T. Dean. (1984). Relational listening: 
Theoretical and practical considerations. 
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of 
the 5th International Listening Association, 
30pp. [ED 257 165]
Johna Kline. (1996). Listening Effectively. Air 
University (U.S.) Press. Edition, illustrated.
Nguyễn Thị Thủya
Nguyễn Thị Minh Hằngb
Học viện Ngân hàng
a Email:
b Email:
Ngày nhận bài: 27/4/2019
Ngày phản biện: 4/5/2019
Ngày tác giả sửa: 4/6/2019
Ngày duyệt đăng: 7/6/2019
Ngày phát hành: 21/6/2019
Tóm tắt: IELTS là bài thi nhằm kiểm tra năng lực sử dụng 
Tiếng Anh của người học. Đây là bài thi uy tín với chứng chỉ được 
công nhận tại nhiều quốc gia trên thế giới. Học viện Ngân hàng là 
một trong những trường đại học tại Việt Nam yêu cầu sinh viên, 
điển hình là sinh viên khoa Ngôn ngữ Anh (ATC) phải có chứng 
chỉ IELTS đạt ít nhất 6.0 trước khi ra trường. Để đạt yêu cầu về 
chuẩn đầu ra Tiếng Anh, ngoài ba kĩ năng Đọc, Viết và Nói, sinh 
viên cần phải đạt yêu cầu cả về kĩ năng Nghe. Đây là một trong 
những kĩ năng khó đối với sinh viên các trường đại học tại Việt 
Nam. Muốn cải thiện kĩ năng Nghe IELTS, sinh viên cần phải 
được trau dồi luyện tập thường xuyên. Bài viết nhằm đưa ra những 
lý thuyết cơ bản về kĩ năng Nghe, những yêu cầu sinh viên cần đạt 
được khi làm bài thi Nghe cũng như một số các gợi ý về các hoạt 
động nghe có thể sử dụng trong lớp học nhằm thu hút cũng như 
rèn luyện các kĩ thuật nghe hiểu phục vụ cho kì thi IELTS.
Từ khoá: Chuẩn đầu ra; Kỹ năng làm bài thi nghe IELTS; 
Thành phần bài thi nghe IELTS; Kỹ năng thi.

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