IELTS Academic Listening Test Question Types
- Short answer
- Sentence completion
- Multiple choice
- Notes/summary/diagram/flow chart/table completion
- Labelling a diagram with numbered parts
- Matching lists/phrases
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. You are penalised for writing more than the stated number of words. Remember that!
Sometimes you may be given a question which asks you to list two or three points. Hyphenated words count as single words and there are no contracted words.
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a set of sentences summarising key information from all the listening text. You then fill a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER’.
Similar to short answer questions test takers are penalised for witting too many words.
Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to identify the key information in a listening text.
Task type and format: In multiple choice tasks, there is a question followed by three possible answers – A, B or C. Sometimes you might have to read the beginning of a sentence and it will be followed by three possible ways to complete it. A, B or C.
Sometimes, test takers are given a longer list of possible answers and have to choose more than one answer. In this case, you should read the question carefully to check how many answers are required.
Task focus: Multiple choice questions are used to test a wide range of skills. The test taker may be required to have a detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main points of the listening text.
Notes, table, flow-chart, summary completion
Task type and format: Test takers are required listen to a text and fill in certain gaps in a chart. The gaps in the chart will focus on the main ideas and facts in the text. It may be:
- A form: Often used to record factual details such as names and numbers.
- A set of notes: Used to summarise any type of information.
- A table: Used as a way of summarising information which relates to clear categories- for example a place/time/price.
- A flow-chart: Used to summarise a process which has clear stages, with the direction of the process shown by arrows.
You may have to select your answers from a list on the question paper or identify the missing words from the recording, keeping to the word limit stated in the instructions.
Always read the instructions very carefully especially word limits. Again, you are penalised for witting too many words. Remember that!
Task focus: This focuses on the main points which a listener would naturally record in this type of situation.
Plan, map, diagram labelling
Task type and format: Test takers are required to complete labels on a plan. These plans could be a plan of a building or a map showing part of a town or a diagram of a piece of equipment. The answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.
Task focus: This type of task assesses the ability to understand, for example, a description of a place, and to relate this to a visual representation. This may include being able to follow language expressing spatial relationships and directions; for example: straight on / through the far door / across the road etc).
Task type and format: Test takers are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper. The set of options may be criteria of some kind.
Task focus: Matching assesses the skill of listening for detail and whether a test taker can understand information given in a conversation on an everyday topic, such as a conversation between two people talking about guest house accommodation. It also assesses the ability to follow a conversation between two people.
Finally – Spelling Spelling Spelling.
If you don’t spell a word correctly it is INCORRECT!