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Listen Up!

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

Want to improve your listening skills?

Below are some free ways to improve your Listening Skills divided into the following categories:

  • Podcasts and radio shows

  • News

  • Songs

  • Videos

  • Listening exercises


1. Podcasts made for English learners

There are many podcasts made for English learners. The hosts talk about an assortment of interesting topics.

2. Podcasts About English

Unlike the podcasts above, these are focused on explaining vocabulary, grammar, conversation strategies, and anything related to English.

3. Radio Shows for Adult Native Speakers

If you’re already an advanced learner who just needs to keep up your listening skills, then jump into the deep end with podcasts and radio shows made for adult native speakers.

If you’re curious about languages, you might also enjoy podcasts about language itself.


English News From Around The World

Most learners have probably heard of the big news channels in the US and the UK. But did you know that other countries have their own English-language news channels?

These news channels allow you to learn more about their country as well as see international events from a different perspective.


Listen to Songs

Songs are a great way to practice listening. You can play them in the background while you’re commuting, exercising, or doing laundry.

To get the most language-learning out of songs, focus on a few at a time. For example, play the same 2-3 songs every day for a week before moving on to new ones.

Fill in the blank Lyrics Exercises

While doing fill-in-the-blanks exercises may not sound fun, trust us — they feel like games when you do them with songs.

You can choose totally random songs.That way you’ll not only practice your listening skills, but also discover new songs along the way.



We’re sure you already use Youtube, but did you know that you can use it for language-learning purposes as well? A great way to do this is to follow channels that are related to your interests.

Just google “Youtube channels related to (your interest)” and you’re bound to find something you like!

Educational Videos

Besides channels related to your interests, we also recommend you subscribe to educational channels like The School of Life or TED-ed, as channels like these usually come with subtitles.

You’ve probably also heard of TED Talks. TED Talks feature experts sharing insights on their field for 18 minutes. The best part is that all the transcripts can be found underneath the videos with translations into many languages.

And if you like TED Talks, you’ll probably also like Big Think, in which influential people around the world share their “big ideas.”


Dictation Exercises

“Dictation” is when you listen to something and then try to write down exactly what you heard. Then you check what you’ve missed!

As you can imagine, this doesn’t just improve listening, but also spelling and grammar.

Listening Comprehension Exercises

The following websites let you listen to an audio recording and answer some questions about it. They have exercises for learners at all levels.

  • The British Council’s listening exercises come with transcripts and vocabulary-building activities.

  • Cambridge Assessment English also has listening exercises. If you make a mistake, a hint will be provided, telling you what to listen for.

  • English Class 101 has a Listening Practice Playlist on Youtube.

  • Test-English features a video with listening comprehension questions below.

  • This state college has listening tests with 20 questions each. The answers are displayed at the end of the test.

One Last Tip: Talk to Real People

Lastly, one of the best ways to test your listening skills is by talking to real people! Calling up friends in other countries is a great way to start.

And if you don’t have friends abroad, you can always study with All Things English!

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