Skills: Listening Part 2


Last week, we looked at extensive listening and ways to improve your overall listening for gist and keeping your ears “tuned in” to English.  This week we will focus on intensive listening, which is listening for particular details and information. This is the type of listening used in exams and also in the classroom.

What can I do to improve my intensive listening skills?

You can train yourself to improve your intensive listening with practice.

Listen – either once or twice, depending on how difficult it is – and complete an exercise; and then check the script. Reading the script and identifying where you made mistakes can help you focus your learning.

Make sure you keep a not of the type of words you make mistakes with so that you can focus on those.  For example, if you find it difficult to identify phrasal verbs when you listen, you can concentrate on those in the script and listen again to improve your recognition of them.

It can also be a good idea to repeat a listening exercise after about a week to check how much you remember and see if you can now correctly answer the questions.

Below are some websites to help you to improve your intensive listening skills.

ellloThere are many listening games and activities at You can choose if you want to read the text while you listen, or practise listening without reading while you play the games.

logo2007  has lots of online listening activities. You can choose easy, medium or difficult and there are Pre-listening exercises, Listening Exercises, Vocabulary, and Post-Listening Exercises to check you fully understand.

pocastsinenglish has listening podcasts at elementary, intermediate and upper-intermediate levels; with worksheets available if you join.

What kind of English should I listen to?  

There are many different accents, or varieties, of English. If you hear a lot of different accents, you are more likely to be able to understand a new (to you) variety when you hear it.

The International Dialects of English Archive has thousands of recording s and scripts of the different varieties of English around the world. Originally designed by and for linguists, it can be a useful tool for learners, particularly more advanced learners,  to listen to lots of different accents and dialects at

What methods do you use to study and practise your intensive listening skills? Leave a reply below and share your tips!


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