English can be tough! Some languages are phonetic, you speak them as they are written, and this is a luxury when trying to learn them. However, it seems an error to say that just because a language is not phonetic, that it is automatically more difficult to learn. In reality, all it does is increase the importance of listening skills to master them.
If you want to achieve fluency in English and speak with clear pronunciation, you must listen frequently. Listen as often as you can and whenever you can, as being immersed in the sounds and word stress will allow you to internalize them. You must start listening from a very basic level to achieve this feat. It is essential to listen to all types of texts and also to do it without stress, this is why it is so clear that we need to listen in an intensive and extensive (HERE). Stress and anxiety are a language learners worst enemy!
The key to improving listening skills is to not only doing example exams, but to also go GENERAL listening, in which you do not stress yourself to understand individual details, see our post on listening for exams (HERE). This way you will be able to sharpen you listening skills and allow you to focus on more specific details later on. You should look to listen to all types of texts, in all types of situations with all types of accents to best prepare yourself for listening exams. The importance of consistency cannot be stressed enough; you must listen every day, even if it is for only 10 minutes.
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Repetition is a key feature of language learning and students should never hesitate to repeat audios when practising at home to make sure you learn as much as you possibly can from each resource. It is much easier to review listening exercises and focus on the learning of new vocabulary if you have the transcript to refer to. This should be provided for students to check what they are listening to and it is on all good language learning courses (HERE).
Another key aspect of listening and its improvement is the need for having a rounded understanding of the language. Language learners must not focus on only one skill, but should look at read, write, speak and listen as often as possible. By improving your speaking, for example, you will directly influence your listening ability.]]>