The focus of this lesson is on avoiding “silly” mistakes in part 1 listening. If you require a band score 7 or above, you should really aim to get 10 out of 10 here – as the questions only get harder. However, it can be surprisingly easy to make mistakes in this part if you are unprepared.
To help you out, I describe some of more problems and explain how to listen more effectively for numbers, names, addresses and dates – the questions everyone should get right. There is a full part one listening practice at the end.
There are one or two points to consider when you are listening to a telephone number in English.
- 0 is pronounced “oh” and you are most unlikely to hear “zero”
- if there is a double number, we say “double 7”
- we don’t say the numbers one by one, rather we read them in groups of 2 or 3. So 13554684616 would be said “13-double 5 – 468-46-16”
When you are listening for an address, you should expect a number and a street name. Typically, the number comes before the name of the street, for example
13, Fairfax Street
Types of different roads
If you have to write down the name of a road, the name will either be spelled out for you or be a common English word that you should be able to spell, eg
34, Bishop Street
48, Ormondroyd Street, that’s O-R-M-O-N-D-R-O-Y-D
You should also make certain that you can spell the different words that we use for roads, these are:
14, Fairhill RoadYorkYO1 7AH
The spelling of names
If you see you need to write out a name, you can expect that the family name will be spelled out letter by letter. This can sometimes cause problems for candidates (even high-level ones) who cannot automatically recognise the names of the letters in English – perhaps because they missed out on learning English at the very elementary level and their sounds do not match their names. The ones which most frequently cause trouble are:
- a as in say
- e as in teeth
- i as in eye
- x as in ex-wife
- y as in why
There are a number of different ways in which say and write down dates. The most common system is:
“the 25th of October ” – speaking
“25 October/25th October” – writing
If you have to write down a date and there is a word limit of one word/two words, you should not write down “the” and “of”. It does not matter if you put the month before the date.
A common trap
Quite often you will hear more than date/time/number and the one you need is not the first one you hear. To make it harder, sometimes the speaker gives one piece of information and then goes back and corrects it. In this case, make sure you write down the second correct version.
Predict the type of answer
Part of the skill in this exercise is predicting what type of answer you are listening for. In this example, you should see that 3 requires a date, 5 the spelling of a name, 6 the spelling of an address, 7 a telephone number and 10 a longer number for a credit card.
- Type of van required _____________
- Preferred make of van ______________
- Date of collection ________________
- Length of hire ________________
- Name: Justin ________________
- Address ________________ St, Toronto
- Telephone number: _________________
- Driving convictions: ________________
- Identification to be provided: _____________
- Card number: 10. ______________________
While you can do this online, I strongly suggest you download the question sheet as part of the skill here is making notes as you listen.