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English School in London | Bloomsbury International

How to improve your listening skills fast!

Have you ever been at a bus stop, minding your own business and been asked a question which completely stalled you?

Hi there, do you happen to have the time? …No? …Ok no worries thanks anyway.

You had the time, your phone was in your hand the whole time but the person spoke so quickly that you were still trying to process what he’d said. Sound familiar? Here a few tips to help you in these situations.

  1. Learn the local lingo

Lingo is the local language, vocab and expressions a place has. In London for instance, people are known to greet each other by saying Alright? It may not be the same in other cities so it’s good to pick up the lingo of where you’re staying, to get a better idea of how the locals communicate. Wagwarn Bruva, What’s happening and Sup are phrases commonly used by the youth across London. This website has some common phrases and words used in the capital, – check it out.


  1. Be a scribe

If you’re a fan of Netflix (seriously, who isn’t?) then you can learn and have fun at the same time. Next time your staring at the Hollywood beauties in Game of Thrones, be productive and test out your listening skills. Play a short clip without subtitles, about a minute should be fine, then write out exactly what you think you hear. Play the clip again and this time, put on the subtitles. Check and see how close (or far off) you were. This really allows you to focus on the subtleties of natural speech. Always check your pronunciation, this site is useful for phonemic scripts , have a look and type in the words you have trouble with.


  1. YouTubers

I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but in order for your listening to improve, you have to watch something or someone you find interesting. If you’re interested in fashion or make-up, I’d recommend Zoella or Patricia Bright. They’re native speakers and they review various brands and styles but also give advice about relationships and health. It’s a great way to learn about topics you love, but also to train your ear to detect word stress and pronunciation. It’s a good idea to note any new words and phrases down, so you can go over them with your teacher and use them on your classmates. If you’re into sports, cars and gadgets, I’d recommend KSI or Comedy Shorts Gamer. These are just suggestions but there are many British YouTubers, here’s a link to find out more


  1. Listen and repeat

Whether it’s a song, a phrase or a tricky word, practise makes perfect. I’d advise you listen to at least one English video per day. You can use the BBC iPlayer service, YouTube or your favourite music playlist on your phone. Don’t be discouraged, you can do this and the more you practise, the quicker you improve. Surround yourself with native speakers, go to pubs, bars and try local events. There are many leisure centres across the city, you’re bound to find something which interests you. Check out this site, it’s packed with activities ..

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