5 Tips To Score In Listening Paper

Tip 1: Understand your questions

In Questions 1-6 of the Listening papers, you hear a series of short spoken items. The sentences are not connected. For each item, you answer one question as briefly as possible, often with just one or two words.

In Questions 7-10, you hear continuous, connected speech, and the questions may require you to complete a table of information, or complete some notes, or answer individual questions with short responses.

Tip 2: Read the questions and find keyword(s)

In the exam, you will be given time to read the questions before you hear the cassette/CD. Make sure you use this time well. Read all the questions and underline the keyword(s) in each one.

Decide what type of information each question requires; for example, a number, a place, a street name.

Tip 3: Notice the stress

Some time, you’ll hear how some words are changing with the stress on different part of the words. For example: notice how the word interviewer changes to interviewee.

When spoken, the stress on these two words is different: interviewer, interviewee.

Other examples are employer and employee.

There are a small number of other ‘person’ nouns in English which end in -ee.

Tip 4: Write clearly and precisely

The last question in the Listening papers usually requires you to answer questions based on a talk or an interview. The questions may ask you to identify people’s feelings and attitudes, as well as testing you on general comprehension.

Note: make sure that you write clearly and that you include all the necessary information.

Tip 5: Practice, practice, practice

Listening papers contribute 30% (15% for private candidates) on your overall scores for your English as Second Language certificate. Don’t make the assumption that Listening paper is not important thus not making any attempt to learn the tactics and skills.

In fact, Listening papers could determine either you score A* or not in your IGCSE E2L paper.

The average preparation needed for Listening skills is one year. Best is two years, from getting acquaintance to mastering.

The Cambridge English as a Second Language Coursebook 1&2 with Audio CDs (Cambridge International Examinations) provide very good preparation courses and all the necessary skills to score in Listening papers.




66 Replies to “5 Tips To Score In Listening Paper”

  1. Hey,

    our schools is one of the centers for IGCSE exams. we do our exams there. Kindly tell me the best place to sit during listening exam as haven’t got any specific arrangements as of yet and the speaker most audible is at the front.

    thank you in advance

    • Hi Malu,

      Your school would have a specific arrangement for listening exam. You must address your concern with your school if you find yourself unable to hear the recording. Please know that you are allowed to request for adjustment of volume during the exam. We strongly suggest you to discuss this matter with your teacher.

  2. The syllabus for English as a second language 0510 has been updated and report writing and review writing has been added. Any tips for report writing and review writing? Is there a particular format to be followed? Anything in particular we should know?

    • Hi Sam20,

      Before you begin writing, decide if you?re going to write about the topic from two sides (for and against) or from just one (your opinion). If you write a two-sided (balanced) piece of writing, remember to include your opinion in the last paragraph. If you want to write only from your own point of view, include it in the first paragraph.

      Furthermore, try to think of your own ideas on the topic which match the task and include them in your writing. For each of the ideas included in your answer, support them with evidence or examples. Note, the examiner knows that the evidence or examples will be made up and doesn?t expect these to be correct.

      Lastly, remember to organise your writing: include an introduction, a middle section and a
      conclusion.

  3. Hey there!
    I wanted to ask about how many points should we write in our summary?
    If there are 12 points but there are 8 marks so can we mention 8 points or we’re supposed to cover all 12 points?
    Hoping for a reply,
    Thank you!

    • Hello Hadiyah,

      For English First Language (0500), you should include all the points you?ve written in Question 3(a). On the other hand for English Second Language (0510/0511), you have to provide the number of points stated on the instruction. For example, if it says ?You will receive up to 8 marks for the content of your summary? then you have to write 8 (relevant) points in order to score full content marks. Remember, don?t repeat similar points ? repeated points will not contribute to extra marks, just add more words.

  4. i exceed the lines given in the question paper during the exam. i just wrote directly below the line , below it was another question . i ask from the invigilator and he allows. will i face any consequences like deducting marks

    • Hi Jay,

      Unfortunately, if you have written beyond the lines, there?s a chance that your answers will not fit into the scanned screen. If this happens, you will lose marks as the examiners won?t be able to see your full answers.

  5. for english paper 2 (0500) in summary points ,we must give answers in short phrases and not full sentences,right?and the given line can be exceeded?or marks will be deducted for exceeding the lines?

    • Hi Catherine,

      The important point in writing a Summary is to not go beyond the word limit. You must always use your own words when writing Summary. The points must be taken from the passage, but change them to your own words. Not all the words could be changed, for example, a chair is a chair, a hand is a hand? etc. You can?t possibly change all the words, just justify them. Lastly, do not write beyond the lines given, to avoid your answers not able to fit into the scanned screen.

      Do refer to the syllabus: http://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-subjects-syllabuses/ to get a better idea of what is expected.

  6. for english paper 2 (0500) in summary points ,we must give answers in short phrases right?and the given line can be exceeded?

    • Hi Catherine,

      The important point in writing a Summary is to not go beyond the word limit. You must always use your own words when writing Summary. The points must be taken from the passage, but change them to your own words. Not all the words could be changed, for example, a chair is a chair, a hand is a hand? etc. You can?t possibly change all the words, just justify them. Lastly, do not write beyond the lines given, to avoid your answers not able to fit into the scanned screen.

      Do refer to the syllabus: http://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-subjects-syllabuses/ to get a better idea of what is expected.

    • Hi Piyush,

      With Physics, you?ll need a lot of practice. Start your revision as early as possible and spend at least 2 to 3 hours every day on revising:

      1. Learn and understand the key concepts and formulas. Familiarise/memorise the key equations/formulas (refer to the latest syllabus on what is expected: http://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-subjects-syllabuses/ ).
      2. Do revision based on the latest syllabus and practice with the latest past exam papers (http://igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-past-exam-papers/ ). Pay attention to the most common mistakes you always seem to make. Make notes and revise them, so you can avoid making the same mistakes in your actual exam.
      Tips:
      Minimize your reference checks. Try solving a problem with the formula without looking it up. You MUST do this as many times as you can. You will be able to remember the formulas/key equations better when you repeat this step.

  7. ‘listening paper contribute 15% for private candidates ‘
    i don’t understand
    so what is the percentage contribution of reading and writing paper

  8. How can I find English listening papers to practice and all subjects too. Which link could I go to find all this online exercise before exam?

    • Pleased help me
      I get a bad marks in listening though I do many practice I don’t know what should I do please what should I do I am extremly worry I am in grade 10 and now the year nearly to finish
      I want to get A* BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW PLEASE GIVE ME ANY ADVICE TO ATCHEIVE PLEASE????????????????

      • Hi Shaimaa, on top of the 5 tips above, you can also:
        1. Build up your vocabulary – learn a small number of new words daily
        2. Try to read through the transcript before you listen to the tape, it could help your confidence when you realise how much you understand.
        3. Try not to write when the tape is playing – it is hard to write and listen at the same time – trust your short-term memory!

        Lastly, practice, practice, practice!

        Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  9. how can you improve your performance in paper 2 English as a second language.
    Thank you

  10. I have igcse exams after two months but we have 14 chapters in both biology and chemistry and I am too much worried that will i be able to score in such a limited time.any tips

    • Hi Azan,

      You still have a lot of time to study for all your subjects. We’d advise you to first create a revision timetable for all the subjects you’re taking. Then, do targeted revisions based on the latest syllabus which you can find here: http://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-subjects-syllabuses/. Practice with the latest past exam papers as they have the newest syllabus format and continue with the older ones date back from 5 to 10 years. Revise on the most common mistakes you always seem to make. Read and annotate your textbook for the questions you got wrong. Then, re-do those questions you got wrong.

      Alternatively, you can enrol in our A* revision courses. All courses come with a revision timetable that you will find useful: http://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-revision-courses/

  11. I have my listening exam on this Thursday so i wanted you to tell me some quick tips if possible .. please make it quick..Wish me luck..

    THANK YOU .. FOR ALL THE HELP IN ADVANCE ..
    love you guys..

  12. has anyone done listening for igcse variant 2 and remembers some of the answers ,i gave my exam tommorrow and I’m very curious about answers ???

    • Hi Laveeza,
      None of the questions would be the same πŸ™‚ … Please do not think you could get any answers prior to your exams πŸ˜‰ … There is a reason for all the different variants of papers – that is to prevent sharing of answers for different time zone πŸ™‚

  13. Hi I am Asma and I am going to have my listening exam on 6th May and I am not sure about the correct way to write the timing in my listening paper. In my recent mocks paper there was a question about the timing and I heaRd the time in the record player as 20 past four so I wrote it just like that but I got the answer wrong. So is this a wrong way or should I write it as 20:04 or 08 : 04?

  14. Hi I am Asma and I would like to ask about the way I should write the timing in my listening paper. In my recent mocks paper there was a question about the timing and I heard the time on the record player as 20 past four so I wrote it just like that but I got the answer wrong. Is this a wrong way or should I write it as 20:04 or 08:04?

        • Hi Rawaa,

          Ideally, you should provide the exact spoken words and the correct spelling. You can make spelling mistakes and still get your mark if the misspell word is close to the correct word. Examples: chanse instead of chance, realy instead of really. However, even though you provide the correct answer, you won’t get your mark if the misspell word: if it is very different from the correct word (example: bioutifoul instead of beautiful) and if it forms another recognised English word (example: plane instead of plain, bare instead of bear).

  15. Is it a must for the answers in exercise 1 and 2 to be complete, as in begin with a capital letter etc.
    Or can we write it the way it’s displayed in the marking scheme?

    • Hi Iris,
      If the question just requests a data, for example, a date or time, then you could just write so.

      But if there is a need to write full sentence, please write in a proper way, that is to start with a capital letter. It doesn’t cost you anything to do it right and there is no harm to do so. It will in fact put you on the right track and so you don’t get to worry too much about right or wrong πŸ™‚

  16. Dear Madame/sir Thank you a lot for these useful tips. I would like to ask if there is any site or any tips which might help me improve in exercise 7. English as a second language.

    • Hi Nouran,

      For English Second Language:
      For the short answer questions – yes, you’re allowed to copy short phrases or exact wordings from the passage.
      For the summary writing – NO, you’re not allowed to copy from the passage. You MUST use your own words.

      For English First Language:
      NO, you’re not allowed to copy from the passage for both reading questions and summary writing.

    • Yes, for listening paper you’re allowed to write the “exact” quotes from what you hear. But, this is not allowed in Reading paper though.

    • Hello Joshua,

      You may take all the science subjects such as: Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Modern Maths or Extended Maths are both ok.

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