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APT Method


The best approach to IELTS listening passages is to answer questions while you're listening to the speaker. If you waited to answer your questions until after you listened to the whole passage, you would really have a tough time remembering all the details you're supposed to find as you listen. So you need to have a strategy to answering questions as you listen to the speaker.

That's what we're looking at in this lesson. The APT method is a strategy for answering listening questions as you listen to a passage. Let's take a look at how this works for the IELTS listening paper. Okay, so the first skill is analysis. You're going to analyse each question before you listen to it.

The second skill is prediction, you are going to try to figure out what kind of answer you'll be expected to provide. These first two skills are really things that you do before you listen to the passage, these are pre-listening strategies. The last skill then, skill number three is tracking and that's something that you do as you're listening to the speaker.

Okay, so let's take a close look at each one of these skills and how you can use them on your IELTS exam. First, analyzing. So the first thing you need to analyze are the directions, okay? Your directions will tell you, how many words and numbers are allowed for short answer questions?

Other questions will give you other types of answers, letters, numbers, numerals. It's important to take a note of this and really focus on this. Because later, after you finished listening to all four listening passages for the listening paper, you will have ten minutes to put your answers on the answer sheet and it's very important that you answer each question with the right format.

So focus on it. Make sure you notice it when you get to a new set of questions. Okay, then look at the questions themselves. What kinds of questions are you going to face? Are they going to be short answer? Are they going to be matching questions?

What kind of question? In our lessons for the listening section, we will cover each type of listening question you might face. So you should be able to quickly identify what type it is when you get to your IELTS exam. But you can tell more just from taking a quick look at the questions.

You can often, for example, find information out about who will be speaking or what topic they would be discussing. You can also get information sometimes about how the passage will be organized. Okay, organization. For example, some listening passages present a map and you need to label the map based on directions that somebody gives you in the passage.

You can often tell just by looking at the map, how the information will be organized because different landmarks will be labelled in particular ways, right? Questions one, two, three, and four will appear on the map, and you know that questions in the listening paper will always come in order. So just very quickly, by looking at the map and looking how the questions are organized on the map, you can guess the structure of the passage you're about to hear.

All of this that you're doing to analyze the questions should be really quick, a few seconds. Remember, you don't have minutes in between each passage. You just have a few seconds to quickly analyze the passages. The more you practice, the better you'll get and quickly identifying what you're going to need to listen for.

So let's practice this a little bit. Analyzing the sample question. For right now, what I would like you to do is pause your video and look at this question and analyze it. Can you figure out anything about what the passage will be about? Or how it might be organized based on just looking quickly at the questions?

Also, notice the directions. How will you need to answer this question? Go ahead and pause your video and take as long as you need to analyze this sample question. Okay, so you have taken a look at the question. What did you notice?

Well very quickly, you'll notice some basic things. You're going to be answering four questions, okay, and each of those four questions are short answered. You have to give you answer in no more than three words and/or a number, okay. So, we know that this answer should be no more than three words and a number. Okay, now below, we have the two basic questions we're supposed to listen for.

All right, you probably noticed that we are at a conference. All right, and we are expecting to hear something from a speaker at the conference. And he's explaining in some way why he's going to be late. Okay, so we know, at the beginning of this passage, a speaker is going to be expressing some reasons for why he's late.

Later then, they're going to be discussing dining options to attendees. Well attendees are people who might be at a conference, so we are still on the subject of conferences and they are discussing where to eat. All right, now you might be able to predict just from what we see in this question. That we are either going to listen to someone speaking to a crowd or somebody speaking to another person explaining why he or she was late and discussing where they can find a good meal somewhere around this conference.

All right, we don't know exactly that this is true but this information helps us a lot because as we listen to the passage, we know there maybe two basic parts to it. One, about this discussion about lateness and two, about dining options. And we know that since answers come in order, we can expect to look for that information at the beginning and end of the passage.

All right, just taking a quick look, we've already gathered quite a bit of information by analyzing these questions. Now we're ready to listen and see if we can fill in those gaps. All right, a second step though, something that will make you even sharper in your ability to get the correct answers is to make predictions. So this is closely related to your analysis.

And again, this is something you do before you listen to a passage. You are going to try to predict what kind of information will they ask me to provide? Okay, so by looking at the questions, okay looking at the answers in the questions, you're trying to figure out things like this, is my answer going to be a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb?

Many times the questions give you grammatical clues. So you know what kind of word you're listening for. You may be asked very clearly to listen for numbers, for money, dates, time, etc. Okay, that's going to help you. It's going to make you listen in a much more focused way as you go through the passage, if you know ahead of time that you will have to find numbers of some kind.

Are they going to describe a location? Are they giving directions? Are these people's names or proper nouns you'll need to listen for? So many different categories and you can often figure out what it is just by looking at the questions and the answers. You may need to categorize something, can you figure out the categories?

All of these kind of thing is so useful for you before you listen to a passage. Secondly then, if you have time, underline some of the key words in the questions to help you remember what you're supposed to listen for. The last thing then, the third thing, write a quick note on your question sheet so you remember what to listen for. If it's helpful to you, write a note say, okay, I'm listening for a type of restaurant or a person's name.

You can scribble a note to yourself on your answer sheet to remind yourself if you have time. Just like your analysis, all of this needs to be quick. And both your analysis and your predictions work together. It's not like you do analysis first and then make predictions. Both of this happened at the same time.

You are analyzing and predicting what to expect when you listen to the passage. Okay, so back to our sample question. We could use some of our strategies here. Let's try to figure out, so what do we supposed to listen for in this first part? Okay, what two reasons does the speaker provide for being late to the conference? Okay, reasons for being late, that's what we're suppose to supply here.

A reason, it could be a sentence. It could be a noun. Okay, we don't know exactly what form the reason will come in. We do know we will have to write that reason in three words or less. So we'll have to listen. Maybe, a good answer will be traffic accident or an appointment that ran late.

Okay, we don't know but we'll have to listen for these reasons. Down below, dining options. Okay, so we're expecting to find places to get food, all right? Probably nouns that we're looking for. And we've underlined it here so we remember, as we listen, to listen for dining options in the second part of the passage.

Finally then, as you're listening, so you've already made your predictions and done your analysis, as you are listening, you want to track answers. So you've already done so much work looking at the questions, now you put it to use as you listen to the speaker. Just remember, answers come in order in IELTS listening passages. So answer number one will be presented first in the listening passage.

And then you'll get the answer to two, three, and four in order as the speaker is speaking. Okay, so this helps you to track answers as they come. As you listen, use your analysis and predictions to follow along in the passage. Answers can be spread out very far from one another or very close, right.

And three answers could come in a very short amount of time or they could be spread out very far from each other in the passage. You have to be ready for that kind of thing. But as you listen, you want to mark answers on your question sheet so, you're making guesses on your question sheet. Later, after all of the listening passages are complete, you will have that ten minutes at the end to write your answers on the answer sheet.

Don't do that now. Just mark answers on your question sheet as you think you've heard them. When you believe you've heard an answer in the passage, then your attention should move to the next question. This is the essence of tracking. You are trying to figure out if, have I answered question number two, and if so, should I move to question number three?

And when you decide that, your focus changes away from question two. But you need to listen closely and sometimes, you will think you have the answer to question number two. But then the speaker will change his or her mind about question number two. So you may need to change something that you already thought was settled. Just make sure to keep your attention on the question you're answering and the next question, so that you know, okay, if you missed an answer, let's say to number two, you know that because you know what to expect for the next question, question number three, okay?

So that's the last tip. Keep an eye on your current question and the next question. If you missed one, if you didn't hear an answer, you don't wanna lose more points because you're focusing on that question and worrying about that question you missed, you need to try to make certain that you're following along with the speaker as they are speaking.

Okay, so to recap, our first two skills are to analyze and predict. These two skills happened before you listen to a passage, you're trying to just notice as much as you can about the organization, the directions, what information you will need to provide for an answer in your question. And then prediction is taking a look really closely at the questions themselves, underlining words that will help you figure out what kind of answer you'll need to provide.

Tracking happens as you listen. So, you're trying to just follow each question as you go. You remember, IELTS listening passage questions come in order, so once you've answered number two successfully, you should be pretty certain that you're ready to move onto three and you're attention should shift. It also matters then of course, if you missed a question, if you think you didn't get an answer, don't lose points and get frustrated.

Track the answers, figure out where you are in the passage and go to that question. That will make sure that you don't lose easy points because you just got frustrated and you got lost as the speaker was speaking. Okay, so this is the APT method, as you do practice questions, try it, see if you can master these skills.

The listening test is very difficult, but if you have an approach and a strategy you can do very, very well.

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