5 Listening Tips you Need

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Have you been studying English a long time? Do you understand grammar rules so well, you could probably teach it? Then why is it hard for you to understand native speakers? Or your favourite television series? Well, here are a few tips to help you dramatically improve your listening skills. The next time you do listening practice, remember these tips.

1. Listen with a purpose

What are you listening for?
Are you listening to understand specific information? 
- Name, age, hobbies

Are you listening to understand the general idea? 
-The guy was talking about his university. 

Are you listening for specific words? 
- Listen for specific phrasal verbs

Are you listening for tenses? 
- He uses past tense and present continuous to tell the story. 

Always have a purpose for listening or your skills won't develop! 

2. Make listening a daily habit

Try to listen to something every day. A great time to do this is when you're doing something boring like washing the dishes, cleaning the house, driving, on the bus etc

3. Predict what you're going to hear

This will allow your brain time to get the necessary vocabulary ready. Let me give you an example. I'm taking a speaking exam and the topic is about family. I prepare myself by thinking about my family. I will ask myself questions like 'how many members of family do I have?' 'What do we do together?' 'Where do they live?' Etc. Try to do this next time and notice the difference. 

4. Listen and repeat

If you can't hear a particular word or phrase, listen to the audio until you can hear it. This will train your ear to work better!

5. Songs! 

Print lyrics and learn songs! So much fun! 

These are tried and tested website for English listening practice I recommend. 

I hope this helped! Please share to help others. 

Written by Halima Salim


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Are you ready to take the IELTS exam?

Are you thinking about studying abroad? Do you dream about a life and career aspiration in a different country? You’ve made significant progress in your new language, and you’ve come a long way; so, are you ready to take IELTS?  Here’s how you know:


Your goals

You’re a bright-eyed student ready to take on university, or you’re an ambitious worker ready to prove your skills to your boss.  Another good reason could be your willingness to start a new life abroad and the need to show the local government you can speak the language. 

Tip: As studying and taking the IELTS is a serious investment, having a clear goal in mind is crucial.


There is no “passing” or“good” score for the IELTS.  The test is scored from 0 to 9, and it’s up to each university, government or company to decide what is passing for them. So, you need to find out from the institution you are applying to what score is acceptable. Some university programs only ask for a 5; some governments require as high as an 8!   Do your research and find out that number that you need to shoot for.


Often test scores are due including other materials by a deadline date.  Some institutions give some leeway (for example, you need to take the test by a certain date, and scores must be received by a certain date).  Find out by when you need to register, sit the exam, and when your scores will be released on the IELTS website.

Tip: Typically, you have to book two weeks in advance, and it takes almost two weeks to receive the scores.

Your Level

Have you taken an IELTS practice test? 

This is the best way to know what your level is.  The British Council’s website has practice exams available.

If you’ve taken English lessons or a placement test before, you might have achieved a level such as A2 or B1.  If you know your level, you can guess your IELTS score by converting it here.

Time management

How much time do you have before you take your exam?  3 weeks?  3 months?  If you are at a 4 and your need to get to a 6.5, you have some serious studying to do!  If there is an available course nearby for your level (for example, B2 to C1), how long does that course take?  Will you be able to complete it before your exam?

If there’s no course nearby, measure your progress in hours.  To go up one score level in EACH SKILL may take between 300 to 700 hours of productive studying—wait, how many hours a week is that??

Being aware of your current level, your goal score, when you have to take the exam, and how much time you realistically have to study will help you effectively set study goals and manage your time. 


Whether you are at band 4 and need to reach an overall 6, or if you are at 7 and need to reach 8, you’ve got a plan about how to get there.  Maybe you will take lessons, join speaking clubs, watch movies, keep a journal, or use self-access materials on the internet.  You are also aware of your specific weaknesses and strengths and know what you have to work on.  Maybe you’re a star at speaking but struggle with writing.  It happens!

Tip: Ask your teacher to help you find resources you can use outside of class to practice grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking, reading, and listening.

Knowing yourself

Sometimes we can get anxious about taking tests, lose our motivation, or have other situations that come up that make it difficult to focus on our goals.

Tip: Try to talk to your teacher or a counsellor about these issues for encouragement and success.  We’re all humans who need help sometimes, and especially when we’re up against a challenge.

With all this knowledge power, you’re ready to tackle this beast with confidence and flair.  Reach for the stars and go for your dreams!


Written by Rachel Bradley for Blackboard English on the 6th Of April, 2017. 

5 phrases to Express your Love

Are you bored of saying the same phrases to the person you love? "I love you" Can be a little boring after the millionth time. So why not learn more exciting ways to tell someone how much they mean to you? I'm going show you five authentic English phrases you can use straight away. Sound good? Let's start. 


1. a match made in heaven 

Person A. Honey, we are a match made in heaven.  

Person B. Aww. That's so sweet of you. I completely agree.  

Meaning: a couple that's very well suited to each other. 


2. To fall head over heels (in love)

Person A. Darling, I'm head over heals in love with you. 

Person B. And I feel the same about you darling. 

Meaning: completely in love with someone


 3. Fall in love 

Person A. Sweetheart, I have something I want to say to you. You are the best person I know, and I have fallen in love with you.  

Person B. I don't know what to tell you. This is very unexpected. You're a great guy, but I don't feel the same way.

Meaning: to start having romantic feelings for someone


4. To be a soul mate

Person A: I could tell he was my soul mate as soon as I met my husband.

Person B: I don't believe in soul mates.

Meaning: someone with whom you share a close friendship and deep personal understanding (Oxford Dictionary)

5. To be someone's one and only

Person A: He's my one and only. There's no one like him.

Person B: I'm glad you feel that way about your husband.

Meaning:  (adjective) incomparable; unique - (as a noun) the object of all one's love (Collin's dictionary) 

Remember to jot down (write down) new vocabulary and use it as much as you can. Thanks and see you next time. 



What's the right way to study English?

Many students ask me "Teacher, how long do I need to study English fo every day? My answer to that is always "Be Consistent". Consistency means "always acting or behaving in the same way" (Merriam-Webster Learners Dictionary). What does that mean for you as a student? First, ask yourself "how long am I  willing to study? Don't lie to yourself and be too ambitious. Set a realistic time. Try to stay under 45 minutes. Then study at the same time every day. These are a few things you need to focus on while you're studying. 


Make sure there are no distractions. Dedicate the entire time to studying

Make it enjoyable  

Watch your favourite movie/series with a purpose. Set a task for yourself. I'll watch the movie then write a summary. I'll watch the movie then write Down eight new words. I'll watch the series and write down questions. 

The park, Starbucks, or the living room?

Try to change up where you study. Make a list of places you like and go there. It will keep you motivated and help you avoid distractions. 

See what works for you and do it. By experimenting with different things, it will allow you to have a better learning experience. 



Grammar vs. Vocabulary


If you're reading this, I am happy you're here. Here is my first post, and I'm hoping I don't bore you to death. So let's begin. Grammar and vocabulary will go head to head today in this post. Which one do you think you need to be able to communicate in English? Well, let's do an experiment, and you can test for yourself. 

Be new in job not easy. 

Being recent in operation is not light. 

Look at the two sentences. Which one is easier to understand? I've taken the grammar out of the first sentence and changed the vocabulary in the second sentence. I want you to see that with the right vocabulary you can still understand the sentence. However, with the correct grammar, it's difficult to comprehend the message. Cool right? So does that mean you forget grammar? Nope! Grammar is important for accuracy. However, don't make it your entire focus! Try to concentrate more on building your vocabulary. 

In the next post, I will write about which steps you should take! See you next time!