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How To Improve Your English Listening Skills

When it comes to listening skills, many of our students say that they sometimes find it difficult to understand native speakers in real-life situations because of different accents, the speed of someone's speech or even use of colloquial language, or 'slang' phrases. While you may be confident in your speaking abilities, improving your English listening skills makes conversing in English much easier.

Why is it important to improve your English listening skills?

There are four components in the English Language that you will cover in any English course. These are reading, writing, speaking and listening and each one is important when learning English. Each is learnt in different ways, using a variety of resources and learning materials whilst at your BSC school. However, enhancing your classroom learning with self-study is the best, and quickest, way to learn English. There are lots of really easy ways to practise your new English skills outside of class, from reading English novels for beginners, to writing a story in English. Therefore, we've come up with some top tips for improving your listening skills while you're learning English.

How to Improve your English Listening Skills

Listen to podcasts.

Podcasts are a great way to improve your listening skills with a topic or theme that you're interested in! You can listen to podcasts anywhere and they're often free, which means they are a good resource for students. Listening to podcasts can assist you to understand different accents and recognise the tone of voice. Find out what podcasts our teachers recommend as a tool to complement your in-class learning, and improve your listening skills while learning something interesting.

Attend Conversation Club.

Most of our English language schools hold Conversation Clubs, giving students the opportunity to practice both their listening and speaking skills in a relaxed and friendly environment. Our Conversation Clubs are some of the most attended social activities, and we've received lots of positive feedback about them!

Play 'word bingo'!

If there are particular words that you find you struggle to understand or pronounce, why not write them down and listen out for them specifically in class? Bring your list to class and every time you hear one of these words, mark this on your list. This will make you more accustom to hearing the pronunciation of the words, how they are used in sentences and the meaning of the words. It will also help you improve your active listening skills, something that will be very useful for those wanting to progress to university education in the UK and Ireland.

Speak English as much as possible

Once you leave class, it can be very tempting to revert back to speaking in your mother tongue, especially if you have classmates who speak the same language as you. But the best way to improve your English language skills is to put them into practice while they're still fresh in your head! Why not try and discuss what you've just learnt in class, in English, with your classmates in the student lounge or attend a language exchange? Or, if there is something you didn't understand in class, your fellow students might be able to help explain it. You may even end up improving your English skills and making some great new friends!

Watch your favourite British programme.

That's right; we're encouraging you to binge watch some Netflix! Rather than watching BBC News, we strongly encourage you to watch something that you are interested in, as this will be more likely to engage your active listening skills. Be sure to watch your chosen British programme with English subtitles, and pick something with short episodes, no longer than an hour, so that you stay focused. Can't decide between a chilling British thriller or a whimsical comedy? Read about our top television programmes to improve your listening skills!


Want more help with your English listening skills? Check out our English language courses or learn about our Skills for Success courses.