Tips to Score Full Marks for Listening Comprehension

If you are taking your PSLE or  O-Level English Listening Comprehension soon, you are at the right place!

Teachers tend to say that Listening Comprehension is the easiest to score and we should be getting full marks. 

However, that seems to be easier said than done. Without many practices in school and tuition centres, it might be difficult to improve on it. 

Do not worry because this article is going to give you effective and important tips to help you ace your Listening Comprehension papers. Crafted by our English Tutors, here are several tips to improve your English Comprehension scores.

Listening Comprehension Dates

The 2024 PSLE Listening Comprehension is tentatively held on 13 September (Friday).

The 2024 O Level Listening Comprehension is tentatively held on 16 October (Wednesday).

Mark these important dates down!

Listening Comprehension Criteria


Listening Comprehension is 10% of the final grade. 

It will be out of 20 marks. 

All the questions are multiple-choice questions.

For O-Levels

Listening Comprehension is 10% of the final grade. 

It will be out of 30 marks. 

There are 2 sections in the paper. 

Section A will have the candidates listen to audio recordings and complete a variety of listening tasks. The recording will be played twice. 

Section B is where the students will have to take some notes from the recording that will be played. This recording will only be played once.

What Is Listening Comprehension About?

Why is there Listening Comprehension and what is it for? 

Every component of your language papers tests different elements of your grasp of the language. 

Listening is an important part of learning a language thus, Listening Comprehension is a part of your assessment.

It is focused on testing your ability to understand and infer information that is given to you aurally. 

During the exam, you will be exposed to different types of spoken texts to see if you are proficient in comprehending all of them. 

With this knowledge, you now know that in order to improve in your Listening Comprehension, you must be able to understand and process spoken language quickly and accurately.

All in all, listening well is one of the most important life skills one should sharpen throughout the span of one’s life.

Tips To Do Well In Listening Comprehension

#1 Expand Your Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important when it comes to Listening Comprehension because if you are unfamiliar with a word, you will have to stop and think about what it means. 

This will cause you to miss out on the following sentences and you might not be able to choose the right answer if you misunderstand the sentence.

Expanding your vocabulary provides you with a better grasp of the language. 

From this, you will definitely have a higher chance of understanding the recordings played without difficulty.

An easy way to expand your vocabulary is to read more! 

Ask for some book recommendations from your teachers and pick up this new hobby. 

You can also read news articles that are shorter but still effective in helping you reach your goal of learning more words.

#2 Write Down Important Points

During the exam, if the recording is long, you should note down the important points in point form. 

This will help you to stay focused on what is being said, as well as, prevent you from forgetting important information.

This is especially helpful for Section B of O-Level Listening Comprehension where the recording is only played once. 

Take down important points so that you will be able to answer the question accurately.

#3 Watch More Shows

As this paper is mainly based on your ability to understand the language through listening, watching more shows in that language is a good way to train your listening skills.

Sometimes, we might know a word but we might not know how it is pronounced. 

More exposure to the language through shows will help you to learn the correct pronunciations. 

Watch shows with native language speakers as they tend to speak at a faster pace. 

You may make learning fun and interesting by watching hilarious British and/or American sitcoms like The IT Crowd (UK) or FRIENDS (US) without subtitles! 

But remember, do not binge watch them at the expense of your studies!

FRIENDS Poster (Photo Credit:

Having to understand the language at that pace will help you to be ready to decipher the messages of the audio recordings during the exam.

#4 Do Not Lose Focus

It might be tempting to zone out during Listening Comprehension but do not do that! 

Every second of the exam is extremely important because the recordings are only played once or twice. 

If you miss parts of the recording, the chances of you choosing the wrong answer are going to be a lot higher. 

Do not sabotage your chances of doing well by losing focus! Stay attentive throughout the exam and it will definitely pay off.

However, just because you are not zoning out does not mean that you are focusing on what is being said. 

To be attentive during the exam would mean that you listen carefully to the recordings, even if it is the second time that it is being played. 

While you are listening to the recording you should be formulating your understanding of the recording in your head. 

The crucial point is that you understand what is being said.

#5 Listen To Audiobooks While Reading

This is a method for you to prepare for your listening comprehension. 

It is difficult to obtain Listening Comprehension practices on your own but this is a good substitute. 

If you are not a native speaker or you do not speak this language at home, this is a good way for you you to gain exposure.

As you read your book and listen to the audiobook, it helps to train your focus on the text and decrease your chances of zoning out. 

This also helps you to match the visual and the audio aspects of the words, preventing a scenario where you know what a word means but do not know how it sounds like.

#6 Practice Jotting Down Key Points

Another way to practice is by jotting down what you deem as “important points” of a podcast you are listening to. 

While listening to a podcast or watching a video, you should write down (in bullet points) what the main points of the podcast/ video are. 

This is a way for you to gauge if you are able to infer and understand what is being said correctly. 

You will be able to see if you can comprehend the important points of the podcast or if you are too focused on minute details that do not help you understand what is said. 

This way, during the exam, you will be able to pick out the main points easily and quickly.

#7 Make Sure You Check Your Answers When the Recording Is Repeated

Like I mentioned previously, do not zone out during the repeated recordings. 

Even if you think that you have already chosen the right answers, you might be wrong. 

Sometimes when we hear a piece of information for the first time, we might miss out on important details or misunderstand the message.

To decrease the chances of you making a mistake, listen to the recording again and see if your answer is found in the recording. 

That is the best way to tell if you have answered correctly.

#8 Try to Read the Questions in Advance

Reading questions in advance is helpful for you to know what you should be listening out for. 

Knowing what the question is asking, you will be able to listen more intently to find your answer.

However, do not do this when another recording is being played. 

With the small pauses in between the questions, you can try to read the next questions in advance to help you listen more attentively while picking out the right answers.

#9 Check That You Have Shaded the Right Answer

Do not make the careless mistake of shading the wrong option! 

When you are given some time to check your paper at the end of the exam, ensure that you have shaded answers for all questions.

Also, make sure that you have shaded the right option. 

To make this check more convenient, whenever you choose an option, circle or write it down on the question paper before you shade it on the OTAS. 

This way,  you can quickly skim through to check if you have shaded the options you intended to choose in a short amount of time.

With all these tips, I hope that you will put them to good use. FamilyTutor, as a leading private tuition agency, wishes you all the best for your listening comprehension exams! 



Carey is a humanities undergraduate who has been teaching for a few years. With her experiences as a student and a tutor, she hopes to provide you with useful tips and advice to help you in your education journey!

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