Comprehension – the ability to understand spoken and written language – is important in the International English Language Test System (IELTS), especially in two subtests: the Listening and Reading Examination. These two exams give you fifty percent of your overall band score. Comprehension is also quite essential to the Writing and the Speaking Examination. How could you answer the questions correctly if you cannot understand what is being asked?
You can see how important comprehension is.
It has been said that comprehension is made better by integrating it in everyday life. Here are some things you can do to improve your comprehension.
- Practice IELTS Listening and Reading Exams. The exams are standardized and what is good about them is that you can go back to the questions, articles, and recordings to re-evaluate our understanding of the material.
- Improve your vocabulary. One of the common problems in terms of understanding written or spoken language is not knowing the meaning of the words used. This is common, since English is not our first language. The solution? Learn more vocabulary.
- Read, read, and read some more. Reading is one of the best ways to improve your comprehension. Not only does it introduce you to different sentence structures and grammatical compositions, it also exposes you to many words that may be new and thus may add to your vocabulary.
- Watch English films. Spoken language may be difficult to understand because of two things: (1) the accent of the speaker is difficult to understand and (2) the listener must understand the difference in intonation and how it affects the true meaning of the speaker. Watching English films is not just enjoyable, it exposes you to both a variety of accents and the nuances of the spoken language. For the IELTS, it is suggested that you watch movies with New Zealand, Australian, and British accent.
- Listen, ask, and learn. Many Filipinos (and non-native English speakers, for that matter) learn to understand the language better by the listening to those who can communicate in English well. What must be remembered is that it would do well to ask questions, should you feel that you do not understand what is being stated. This would further increase understanding. There is nothing wrong with asking questions especially if the purpose is to learn.
There are many ways to improve your comprehension, but having the right attitude is perhaps the best first step: be patient and disciplined.
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