IELTS Listening Strategy # 17 Learn Common Spelling Rules

Spelling mistakes are marked incorrect on the test paper. Therefore, spelling is extremely important for the IELTS listening. This is because you will not only hear the answer words, but you will also need to write these answers down on paper.

Before you take the test, you need to:

  • improve your spelling by studying lists of words that are commonly misspelled
  • study the rules of capital letters and abbreviations
  • practice spelling every day by paying attention to the words you see in your daily life

The following are common spelling problems and suggestions for how to improve.

Common Spelling Problems

1.Double letters

Examples: necessary, tomorrow, parallel

Suggestion: Each time you read or write such words, say to yourself the rule.

‘Necessary – double ‘s’

2.Use ‘ie’ or ‘ei’

Examples: receive, belief

Suggestion: The rule is ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’. Note: the ‘ei’ in receive comes after the letter ‘c’. However, in the word ‘belief’, there is no letter ‘c’ before that sound, so the sound is spelt ‘ie’.

3.Silent letters

Examples: knowledge has a silent ‘k’ / guarantee has a silent ‘u’, doubt – silent ‘b’, iron – silent ‘r’

Suggestions: These words need to be learnt.

4.Word form

Examples: affect, effect / advise, advice

Suggestions: Consider if the word is a verb or noun eg. affect (verb) or effect (noun).

5.Same sound

Examples: their, there, they’re / to, too, two

Suggestions: These words need to be learnt. Remember these words have different meanings, so you should also focus on learning the meaning.

6.Changing words

Examples: write, written, writing

Suggestions: Some words change spelling when they are used in different ways. Eg. the past participle of write has the double ‘t’ which is ‘written’.

7.British spelling

Examples: centre, colour, organise

Suggestions: Use British spelling for IELTS. If you are used to American spelling, you should be aware that British spelling uses endings such as ‘re’ instead of ‘er’(centre), ‘our’ instead of ‘or’ in colour, ‘ise’ instead of ‘ize’ in organise.