Binge Watching for IELTS

December 27, 2018 by Ashlee Hunter Ashlee Hunter

With almost every movie and television program at our fingertips, many people today love to binge watch a variety of series. This can be beneficial when taking the IELTS test in different ways.

Strengthen Listening and Conversation Skills

Watching television can help to strengthen a candidate’s listening skills as well as their conversational skills. When listening to a show, try to make a mental note on how events are being described. Different events can be described using different adjectives, phrases, and slang. Once you have finished watching, discuss the events using the same language to someone else who has also watched the show. You will be able to see if you used the language correctly. Once you have discussed what happened, try to predict what will happen, using the same or similar language, in the upcoming show.

Learn Cultural References

Watching different types of shows as well as movies will help candidates learn about different cultural references. Some are more common than others and others are more trendy. Learning these references will help you sound more up-to-date. When watching something, try to listen for common words and phrases that characters use. Try to use these references in your spoken
English with friends and family. Be careful of some phrases as they may be used in speech but not in your writing.

Strengthen Your Ear to Different Accents


In western culture, movies and television from different parts of the world are popular. Watching a variety of shows as well as movies can help a candidate familiarize themselves with different accents from across the globe. Listen for different accents such as American and British accents. Also, note differences among different accents around Britain as well as American vs. Canadian accents. For example, the American accent can be very different depending on the location of the person. The same goes for Great Britain. A person from England sounds very different than a person from Wales. There are a wide range of accents used on the IELTS test and pronunciation can hurt spelling. Tuning your ear to different accents can help with this issue.

watching tv with popcorn

Learn Correct Pronunciation

Not only does watching television and movies help with learning new words and phrases, it can also help candidates learn the pronunciation of those words and phrases. Here, you can learn how a word is pronounced and where the stress is within the word. You can also pick up on the flow of a sentence. When listening to a character speak, you can hear the intonation as well as sentence stress. Also, when a conversation is happening, you can listen for how the speakers pause and how they group their ideas and sentences together.

Build Your Vocabulary

The greatest advantage to watching television and movies is learning vocabulary. You will hear common words that are used today as well as in the past, depending on the show. Common words are repeated throughout a program often, so take note of these. When watching a show or movie, write down common words you hear. Once you are finished watching, learn about these words such as definition, pronunciation, and the way they are used. Once you have learned the word, try to use it in your speaking and writing, if applicable. Make sure you know how to spell the word as this will help you in the writing and listening section of the IELTS test.

Learn English by Having Fun

Taking the IELTS test is not all studying from textbooks and taking practice IELTS tests. It involves learning natural English that you use in different everyday situations. Watching films and television can help you learn natural English. It is believed that people will learn more when they do something they enjoy, whatever it is. If you watch a program that you enjoy, you will absorb more language from that show. Also, when you get into a show, you subconsciously learn new words, phrases, and common terms. Once you start to mimic what certain characters on certain shows and movies are saying, you will notice that your English will naturally improve.

People watching movie in dark movie theater

When you are learning English, you need to actively listen to the movie or television program in order to gain the benefits. When you watch a television show, you need to listen for new words and phrases. Once you have done this, you need to learn how to properly use this new language and then apply it to your own speaking and possibly your writing.

Also, you can watch any program, as long as you enjoy it! For beginners of English, children’s programs, as well as soap operas, are always a good place to start as they are at a slower pace. For the more advanced, popular series are a good choice because they use more natural English with more common phrases at a faster pace. Ultimately, if it is in English, it’s a good choice.

Finally, try to watch a t.v. program or movie without subtitles first. This will allow you to really listen to what is happening. If you didn’t understand what was going on for most of the show, go back and watch it again, only this time, with subtitles.



Ashlee Hunter

Ashlee has been involved in the ESL world for over ten years and has now planted her roots in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nothing gives her more pleasure than watching students and candidates reach their language and IELTS goals.

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