Strategies for the listening test of Ielts

IELTS Listening – Task Type 1 – Form/Notes/Table/Flow-chart/Summary Completion

Task Description

What are candidates required to do?

Candidates have to fill in gaps in an outline of part or of all of the listening text. The outline will focus on

the main ideas in the text. In all cases except the summary, note form can be used when completing the gaps.

This means that articles, auxiliary verbs etc. may be omitted when they are not necessary for the meaning. The

summary is written in connected sentences and so it must be grammatically correct.

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 to the conversation in the same order that appears in the answer. For this question, the tape script goes as 
follows: 
TUTOR: Yes. That section needed a bit more work on it. But as I said, by and large 
it was very good. And Frances. Your project was excellent, so much so that we 
think you should take it further and perhaps do a PhD or at least an MPhil. What do 
you think? 
 The answer is obviously the option B, but if you notice, you might get confused by choosing letter A, 
since it has the same position of the recommendations. Do not just match words on the question paper to what 
you hear on the tape. Read the ‘stem’ of the question carefully to avoid being drawn to the wrong answer. 
IELTS Listening – Task Type 3 – Short-answer Questions 
Task Description 
What are candidates required to do? 
Candidates read a question to which they have to write a short answer using information from the listening text. A 
word limit is given, usually no more than three words and/or a number. (Candidates should check this carefully for 
each task.) 
What variations are there on this task type? 
Sometimes candidates are given a question which asks them to list two or three points. 
Are candidates penalised for writing more than the stated number of words? 
Yes. If candidates write more than the number of words asked for, they will lose the mark even if their answer 
includes the correct word(s). Words like ‘the’, ‘a/an’ are not counted, so they can be used to make four words. 
All Text copyright Francisco Carrizo, Attempts to reproduce without written permission will 
be prosecuted to t he fullest extent possible by law. 
4
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All Text copyright Francisco Carrizo, Attempts to reproduce without written permission will 
be prosecuted to t he fullest extent possible by law. 
5
What about contractions or hyphenated words? 
Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words. 
How to approach the task 
• Read the questions carefully and figure out the context of the conversation. 
• Underline all the ‘key words’ that can help you to get the correct answer. Pay attention to the Wh- 
question word present, this will help you to predict what sort of information you need: 
o What? Æ Something, it is related more with the rest of the key words 
o Where? Æ A place 
o When? Æ A time, a date, a day of the week 
o Who? Æ A person or people, an institution or organisation, someone 
o Why? Æ A reason 
o How? Æ A method of doing something 
o How much or how many? Æ Quantities 
IELTS Listening – Task Type 4 – Sentence Completion 
Task Description 
What are candidates required to do? 
Candidates read a set of sentences summarising key information from all the listening text or from one part of it. 
They have to complete a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. They usually have to 
write no more than three words and/or a number. 
How are candidates asked to write their answers? 
The words should be taken directly from the listening text and written in the space on their Question Paper to be 
transferred later. 
Are candidates penalised for writing more than the stated number of words? 
Yes. If candidates write more than the number of words asked for, they will lose the mark even if their answer 
includes the correct word(s). Words like ‘the’, ‘a/an’ are not counted, so they can be used to make four words. 
What about contractions, or hyphenated words? 
The rules for Short-answer Questions also apply here. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words 
count as single words. 
How to approach the task 
 This is a variation of the notes completion task; they tend to be more similar to the Type 2, i.e. the answer 
normally goes embedded in the middle or at the end of the sentence. Pay extreme attention to the ‘stem’ of the 
sentence in the paper. You may probably have to change the wording of the listening to fit it in the sentence in the 
booklet, e.g. in the listening, the sentence is said in active voice but the pattern in the booklet is in passive form, 
so you should make the proper changes and write your answer in the passive voice. 
For example: 
15 Mr. Gold said he was .. if people had not seen him smoking. 
The tape script related to this question goes as follows: 
“If anyone mentioned they hadn’t seen me smoking I simply said I was cutting 
down. I had to be sure of success.” 
 On this occasion, no changes are made in the answer. You should simply write ‘cutting down’ on the 
space corresponding question number 15 in the answer sheet. But notice the wording of both, the question in the 
paper and the one in the listening. 
Visit AIPPG IELTS Downloads Section for more tips 
Must Visit IELTS Forum at IELTS Forum 
All Text copyright Francisco Carrizo, Attempts to reproduce without written permission will 
be prosecuted to t he fullest extent possible by law. 
6
IELTS Listening – Task Type 5 – Labelling a Diagram, Plan or Map 
Task Description 
What are candidates required to do? 
Candidates have to complete labels on a visual. The answers are usually selected from a list on the Question 
Paper. Candidates should transfer the letter of the option they have selected to the Answer Sheet in the time 
allowed. 
What variations are there on this activity? 
The visual may be 
• a diagram (e.g. a piece of equipment) 
• a set of pictures 
• a plan (e.g. of a building) 
• a map (e.g. of part of a town) 
How to approach the task 
 This exercise will test your ability to follow a description, so extra attention must be paid to any adjectives 
used to make any kind of description made, in the case of maps, be careful you know how to follow directions. 
The listening will probably be longer, and the answers related to these questions may be concentrated in one 
section of it, so you do not need to pay attention to everything they say, only be aware when the description is 
started. 
• Read and identify the parts of the diagram you need to label, and make sure you understand them. 
• Try to figure out which part the description will start from. The rest should be easy if you are able to follow 
the direction of the talk. 
• Be careful that the numbering of questions follows the descriptions on the tape; students may get lost if 
the numbers do not follow the same sequence of the listening. 
IELTS Listening – Task Type 6 – Classification 
Task Description 
What are candidates required to do? 
Candidates have to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of criteria. 
What skills are being tested? 
This task type is designed to test candidates’ ability to recognize relationships and connections between facts in 
the listening text, and is most often used with texts dealing with factual information. Candidates need to be able to 
listen for detail. 
How to approach this task 
• Read the questions to understand what you are expected to write. 
• If an example is given, cross out immediately the corresponding option from the option list if the exercise 
in case is matching a set of facts with names or items in box. In the case of matching criteria, this cannot 
be done; it is preferable to make some symbols on the top of the columns to help you quickly identify the 
criterion used. 
• Underlined the key words in each option and be aware of any paraphrase of them because they will not 
be exactly the same in the listening. 
IELTS Listening – Task Type 7 – Matching 
Task Description 
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All Text copyright Francisco Carrizo, Attempts to reproduce without written permission will 
be prosecuted to t he fullest extent possible by law. 
7
What are candidates required to do? 
Candidates have to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of items in a box. 
What variations are there in this task type? 
Many variations of this task type are possible as far as the types of options to be matched are concerned. 
How to approach this task 
 Since this is a variation of the previous task type, follow the same guidelines. 
Visit AIPPG IELTS Downloads Section for more tips 
Must Visit IELTS Forum at IELTS Forum
DOs and DON'Ts in the Listening Test 
 Listen carefully to the introduction to each section. This will give you useful information 
about the situation and the speakers. 
 Use the time at the beginning of each section (and in the middle of Sections 1 – 3) to 
read ahead the questions and think about the topic. 
 Read the instructions for each task carefully. Remember to check the maximum number 
of words allowed. 
 Write all your answers as you listen – remember you won’t hear the recording a second 
time. 
 Check that what you write makes sense in the context. 
 Answer all the questions even if you don’t feel sure about an answer – you may have 
understood more than you think. 
 Wait until the end of the test to transfer your answers. You have ten minutes for this 
which is plenty of time. 
 Write clearly when you transfer your answers. If an answer isn’t clear on your answer 
sheet, you will lose the mark. 
 Check your spelling (and grammar where necessary). 
 Don't worry if you have to cross out or change an answer. 
 Don't panic if you miss one question. Look ahead and concentrate on the next one. 
 Don't try to rephrase what you hear. Write down the words you hear which fit the 
question. 
 Don’t write more than the maximum number of words or letters allowed for each answer. 
 Don’t copy any words that were printed on the Question Paper when you transfer your 
answers to the Answer Sheet. 
All Text copyright Francisco Carrizo, Attempts to reproduce without written permission will 
be prosecuted to t he fullest extent possible by law. 
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