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IELTS and binge watching

Published on December 31, 2018

Many people today love to binge watch a variety of series since almost every movie and television programme is at our fingertips. This can be beneficial when taking the IELTS test in different ways.

Listening and Conversation Skills

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

Cultural References

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

Different Accents

Movies and television from different parts of the world are popular in western culture. Test takers can familiarise themselves with different accents from across the globe when they watch a variety of shows and movies. Listening to different accents such as American, British, and Australian accents can be helpful when doing the Listening section of the IELTS test. Also, note differences among accents around different regions of an area. For example, the British accent can be very different depending on the location of the person. A person from London sounds different than a person from Manchester even though they are both from England. As a result, spelling can suffer from the wide range of accents spoken on the Listening section of the IELTS test. Tuning your ear to different accents can help with this issue.

Correct Pronunciation

Test takers can learn not only new words and phrases by watching television and movies, but they can also learn the pronunciation of those new words and phrases. You can learn how a word is pronounced and where the stress is within the word as well as pick up on the flow of a sentence. You can hear the intonation as well as sentence stress when listening to a character speak. Also, when a conversation is happening, you can listen for how the speakers pause and how they group their ideas and sentences together.


Learning vocabulary is the greatest advantage to watching television and movies. Depending on the show, you will hear common words that are used today as well as in the past. Take note of these common words which are often repeated throughout a programme. Write down common words you hear when watching a show or movie. Learn about these words such as definition, pronunciation, and the way they are used once you are finished watching. Also, 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.

Have Fun

Taking the IELTS test is not only studying from textbooks and taking practice IELTS tests, it also involves learning natural English that you use in different every day 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. You will absorb more language from a show if you watch a programme that you enjoy. You subconsciously learn new words, phrases, and common terms as well when you get into a show. You will notice that your English will naturally improve once you start to mimic what characters on certain shows and movies are saying.

You need to actively listen to the movie or television programme in order to gain the benefits when learning English. You need to listen for new words and phrases when you watch a television show. Learning how to properly use this new language and then applying it to your own speaking and possibly your writing will come once you have done this.

Also, as long as you are enjoying yourself, you can watch any television program. Children’s programs as well as soap operas are always a good place to start for beginners of English as they are at a slower pace. Popular series are a good choice for the more advanced 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. programme or movie without subtitles first to allow yourself 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.