IELTS Listening Multiple Choice: Essential Tips

This lesson focuses on IELTS listening multiple choice questions and offers tips, practice and useful vocabulary to help you achieve your best. Multiple choice questions are the most difficult of all the questions in IELTS listening and you need to develop the right techniques to deal with them in order to do well.

Watch the video tutorial before you read the tips below.

Multiple Choice Video Tutorial

Multiple Choice Tips

The tips below are summarised from the video lesson.

Preparing the Questions
  1. check for a title
  2. read the question
  3. find a key word in the question
    1. the key word will help you understand which answers are right and which are wrong
    2. paraphrase the key word
    3. if it is a list selection multiple choice, underline the number of words you need to find
Preparing the Multiple Answers Options
  1. read through the answer options
    1. highlight similar options so you don’t get confused
    2. think of paraphrases
  2. all answer options will probably be given in the recording
  3. don’t think that the first answer you hear is the correct one – keep listening
  4. watch out for answers that are given and then taken away again by the speaker
  5. listen for the word “but” or “however” this can mean a negative is coming which means it might not be the right answer
  6. if you think an answer is correct, put a tick but keep listening to make sure it is right
  7. you can write on your question paper so use ticks and crosses for right and wrong answers
Multiple Choice Answers
  1. you might not hear the exact words in the answer options – answers might be a paraphrase
  2. your answer should be a letter not a word – be careful when you transfer your answers

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Comments

  1. Ahmed Seif says:

    Hello,
    Thank you so much for your distinguished website.
    My exam will be in 7 Jan 2017 , so I hope to get your urgent reply.
    while practicing online exams on ieltsonlinetests.com the automatic checker usually shocks me , here are some examples from : IELTS Practice test Plus 3 , test 1 , listening
    the following are checked as wrong
    part of the question model answer/ my answer
    1. Age Group over 50/ above 50
    2. because reluctant to pay extra/ extra payment
    3. Install air conditioning/conditioners
    4. open the restaurant/restaurant
    All these points in a table, and so on.
    My question is :
    Does the real exam checking is such regorous?
    which of the previous points may be correct?
    Thank you

    • Without seeing the questions and transcript I can’t really comment. If you are filling in a table, you usually fill in simple words, not phrases. There are usually sample answers given in the table which show you how to fill it in. It is exceedingly rare that IELTS ask for a 5 word answer, such as “because reluctant to pay extra”. Are you checking the word count for answers? Start paying attention to instructions and sample answers. WAtch the full video on this page: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-listening/

  2. Gurwinder singh says:

    Mam i started Ielts yesterday,, i want practice,, please help me..

  3. Odunjo Abimbola says:

    Liz!!! Thanks soo much. You were really helpful. Here is my score:
    Listening- 9
    Reading- 9
    Writing- 7.5
    Speaking- 7.5
    Total- 8.5
    Couldn’t have done it without you. Really appreciate your help.
    God bless u Liz…

  4. Do we have time to read the questions and then listen to the recordings? or we need to read the questions during the recording has started?

  5. hi liz
    firstlr I should appreciate about your very goog tips.
    I have a question : how I can have your all video?

    • You can watch them all on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ieltsliz

      • Hi Liz,
        Good day, it’s me again Lynn, I’m feeling anxious because I’ll take my test next week.

        I have clarifications in Listening Test.
        There are some example recording test that I’ve tried which says during after each sections” you have time to check and review your answer”.Is that included in ten minutes transfering of answer, or the ten minutes counting will start after the 40th question?

        Also, if I will answer in all capital letters in Listening test, do I also need to write capital letters in multiple choice (a,b,c,d)?
        Looking forward for your very helpful answers.

        Sincerely,
        Lynn

  6. HI
    DIS IS BASANTH I HAVE ONE DOUBT CAN WE LISTEN FOR 2 TIMES WHY BCOZ IF MIS ANY WORD WHILE RECORDING I S GNG ON

  7. Arasi achu says:

    hi liz god bless you
    thank you very much for your great lessons
    I will have plan to do my first ielts exam on next month .I need minimum 6.5 bandscore but now i take 20/40 on my practice exams, how long time i need to practice ? just last month i had started to study ple give some advise thankyou

    • Each student develops at a different rate. You must identify your weaknesses and then plan a strategy for your studies.

  8. Velmurugan D says:

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks for all your tips and techniques. Much useful and hats-off.
    I would like to check if you have any tips or better way to handle multiple choice questions , especially for the ” answer options with more word counts – horizontally”, I am finding very tough to handle that type as more reading effort required while listening.

    Your suggestion is much appreciated.

    Regards,
    Vel

    • It’s tough for everyone. When there is so much information given in the multiple choice options the only thing you can do is to focus on key words and differences between options. Also make sure you delete options as you listen. When you skim read options before listening, put a mark near the option you think most likely.

  9. Harjot Singh says:

    Hi Liz,
    I have gone through every lesson of your ielts. I am having my exam tomorrow.
    Thanks a lot for helping tips you are doing great job mam.

    • Good luck! Keep calm. Sleep well, eat and drink before the test. Keep your eye on the clock for reading and writing.

  10. How much difficult real test is compared to Cambridge ielts listening tests? Sometimes i find youtube tests those are quite difficult than Cambridge.. i get good marks on Cambridge. 32-34/40 is my regular score. How much difficult questions im going to find in the actual listening test? Help me ,

  11. Hi Lizard,
    I have my ielts this month on 27th
    My concern is that in listening or in reading passage we have questions like choose 2 letters which are correct.sometimes I get both letters correct and sometimes I get one answer as correct and one as wrong.for example
    If the answer is
    1.B
    2.C
    And if my answer is
    1.C
    2.A
    will the whole answer is considered wrong..
    Or will I get one score for the correct answer..
    Thanks in advance,
    Palsi

  12. Anil pothula says:

    I have taken ielts on may 28th
    In listening section i was asked to choose 2 correct options from 5 given options.
    While listening the audio i have noticed that E and B are my answers
    Do i need to present them in my answer sheet in same order as
    1)E
    2)B

  13. Suci Bedia says:

    hy

    Liz.. i’m wonder why my score doesnt improve well while i have learned ielts about 2 years. my average score is 5.5 and 6.0. sometimes it’s too difficult to get 6.0. i dont know what happen 🙁
    i’m planning to take ielts exam in July

    • Learning IELTS is not enough. This is an English language test. If your level of English doesn’t improve, then your score is unlikely to improve either. Getting band 6 means reducing the number of errors you make and having a wider more accurate range of English. I suggest you work on English language as well as your IELTS skills.

  14. Hi Liz,

    You are a very Good teacher. I have scored 7.5. I listen to your videos, tips and lesson. Thank you very much. I am very thankful to God.

    SS

  15. Hi Liz,
    I qill be taking my IELTS in couple of days and writing in capitals has got me confused. Can you please advise me on the below? If the options in reading are i, ii, iii, iv and if I am writing all in caps should I write I, II, III, IV?

    Thanks.
    Vinay

    • You can write then as you wish.

      • Thanks Liz for your response on this. I think I will go ahead with all capitals where I can write roman numbers/letters as I, II, III, IV

        Thanks for helping me out.

  16. wawooooo its away some

  17. Dear Liz
    I am pleased to thank you for your advices and nice explanation.

    Best

  18. hi Liz,
    I have a question regards to multi choose (specifically, choose more than one letter)
    my question is (does the order of the letters matter?)
    sometimes while I am practicing these types of question, I will get one or two of the answers wrong, so the order of the letter will change.
    for example, the right order
    1- B
    2-C
    3-F
    4-G
    5-H
    and my answer will be:
    1-C
    2-F
    3-G
    4-H
    5-I
    I got C,F,G, and H right, but not in the same order.
    does the IELTS examiner will count them or not?
    Thanks in advance,
    Arwa

  19. Dear Liz,
    Thank you so much for the lesson. I am wondering if you could give us more advice about multiple choices with longer answer choices (such as the ones in section 3 or 4). I personally can hardly manage to go through the answer choices in that 1 min. given. Is there any way to tackle this problem?

  20. Hi Liz
    Hi Liz
    Thanks for your wonderful job !

    I actually read all your comments first to make sure I don’t ask you something what you have already answered.
    I’m blessed that I’ve found your blog. Hopefully, I’ll get my desired band score now which is 8.

  21. Qurat-ul-ain says:

    Hi,
    You have done a great job, I am feeling bit difficulty in listening mcqs because its quite difficult for me to listen and also reading the options at the same time , and we don’t have enough time to underline all keywords from questions and options too.

    Please let me know any simple step by step process. should I go for questions and listening only and then later on find the right answers ? I am confused
    Thanks in advance!

  22. Sivathanupillai says:

    Dear Liz,

    Thank you so much for a detailed session. This session is a real eye-opener. I have a small doubt on the evaluation of answers. If I get any of the answers correct but not all the three, will I get any marks? Kindly throw some light on this aspect. Thanks in anticipation.

  23. kuljeet kaur says:

    Hi liz .
    Can you give some tips or way to solve yes no not given qustion .
    I can’t understand how to solve .i have problem with these type qustion .

  24. Dear LIZ
    I really have a great benefit from you I have to meet you one day to thank you for that effort
    I have a question that I have practiced for listening for 2 months but not all the time and now I have a deadline of December to have my score test so my exam in 12/12/2015 so I have only about a month. I have practiced English for one year, but my level is only intermediate because the problem of vocab. so I will practice everyday. Do you think I can get at least 6.5 or it’s difficult to my level to have.

  25. Shabbir Ali says:

    Hello Liz! you are doing well,i want to give IELTS exams and being preparing for last 3 months but i don’t know either i am prepared or not so how someone can take test himself either he is ready for exam or still he need to practice more?

  26. Sorry for the inconvenience Liz. I just saw the answer in your video above! Let me just give you the feedback that I really like both your homepage and the videos you are providing to prepare for the IELTS exam! It definitly makes a big difference to my preparation.

  27. Hi dear Liz
    I can not open videos.

  28. Dear Liz. You are the best in every thing, your face , your language, your attitude. your are very clear and very beautiful as well . I like to hear to your voice and your face is relaxing me.

  29. It is really useful strategies and tactics , thanks so much for your nice advice. It’s helpful

    Qusay

  30. Hi Liz,

    This is very useful video. I just want to ask something, if I choose to write my answers in upper case but the option is in a lower case does it matter? or do I need to follow whats the option is given?

    Thank you so much!

    Diane

  31. Dr. Syed Iqtidar Ali Raza says:

    Dear Liz
    Would you recommend using capital letters in listening and reading section which will enable us to avoid problems of using capital letters at the start or in between wherever required?????
    Kindly reply

  32. hello ma’m,
    I watched your videos, they are really helpful.
    Can you please help me with date and time format for listening in respect to ‘word count”;
    like:
    12-02-2011(it counts as one number or three numbers) and moreover is the format right?
    04:30(it counts as two numbers or one number??)
    04:30 PM (it accounts for 2 or 3..?)
    Thank you,

  33. Mam, may I lose marks in ielts listening if i have made mistakes in upper and lower case? Please reply..for ex..’rubber’ is the answer and I have written Rubber..

    • If you use a capital letter in the wrong place or forget to use one when you should, the answer will be marked wrong. This is an English language test and your answers must be 100% correct.
      Liz

    • Hi, Kartik, i have passed recently the same listening because i had the same answer and problem with “rubber”. Please can you share answers with me?!
      my email address: mr.abilkhaiyr@mailru or mr.abilkhaiyr@gmail.com
      Thank you!

  34. Hi LIZ,
    iam having problem with multiple choice in listening in section 4 because the questions and the answers ARE TOO LONG and i get confused of how to solve it, could you please give me any easy way to deal with these questions
    thanks in advance 🙂

    • There is no easy system. You just need to practice identifying key words in the answer options and spotting paraphrases in the listening recording.
      All the best
      Liz

  35. Hi Liz,

    For Listening –> multiple choice –> eg: answer 10-12, A-F if the answer comes in the order F A D, then we should write 10 = F, 11 = A and 12 = D OR it should be in alphabetical (i.e 10=A,11=D,12=F) or any other order

    • It can be in any order. You can see this in the answer key in the IELTS Cambridge practice tests.
      All the best
      Liz

  36. Hi Liz!

    I have been reading your posts on website and I must say, it’s very useful! It has boosted my confidence already!

    I have a couple of questions!
    1. Is listening answers checked manualy or electonically?
    2. I have taken coaching from one of the institutes in india and instructer told us to write capital only for those which are spelled out, rest must be in small. here in above comments you have repeatedly replied that it’s okay to write all answers in capial. Please advise me on this. I would like to write all my answers in capital only. this was I wont have to worry about getting wrong answer where capital is required.

    I would really appreciate the help!

    Thank you,
    Palak

  37. Dear Liz,
    For listening test, Questions 16-18, circle THREE letters A-F, in case I only choose one correcly among three, may I have the score for that one correct item?
    Regards

    • Because this is for questions 16 – 18 and each question is worth one point in IELTS listening, you would get one point for one letter.
      Liz

  38. Dear Liz,
    In listening test, if I fill in the blank the word which is correct but lacks of the plural form ‘s’, can I have the score with it?
    Thanks for your answer!

  39. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for your invaluable advice. I need your help regarding band calculation for listening section. As per IELTS 37-38 right answers are equal to 8.5 and 39-40 are equivalent to 9 band.
    My question is, if on a particular exam day there was a question which not even a single exam taker could manage to answer it. In that situation will the IELTS adjust band allocation criterion? I mean will it grant 9 to someone who got 38 right answers.?

    Regards

    • The band scores are never adjusted for one test. The tests are checked and accepted before being used by IELTS so they will never do that.
      All the best
      Liz

  40. If I wish to write all answer in capital letter in listening and reading sections, does it applies for letters as well like in multiple choices and heading match? A or a, I or i.

    • Write all words in capital or small letters. For multiple choice, write the answer as they show you on the question paper.
      Liz

  41. Hello, Liz. I watched your multiple choice video and I was confused by your pronunciation of ‘rucksack’. It’s a key word to get a correct answer and I always pronounce it like /r^k/, not like /ruk/. Macmillan offers the same pronunciation. But I know a real English differs considerably from a textbook one. So are there two altenatives for this word? Thank you.

  42. Madam@ I have faced some problems in listening section.
    1. The speakers told that they had all without exception come up against enormous bureaucratic obstacles.
    a) Enormous problems
    b) few problems
    c) Many obstacles

    Madam Would you tell me why answer A instead of answer C

  43. Hi Liza,

    Please help me.
    How i can overcome my spelling mistake .

  44. Hi, I would like to ask you a question.
    I decided to write all answers in capital.but ,what about Roman number? Should I put them in lower case? And can I answer all the questions in capital and this with Roman numbers in lower case?

  45. harpinder singh says:

    How improve my grammer in task 2

  46. Mam
    why u help us restlessly? u r really great, i don’t find anybody like u…

  47. hi.. i want to ask can i write all the answers in listening test with capital letters..like the full answer in capital.. to avoid the risk of wrong answers?
    i am practicing but i reading i dont know what is wrong i cannot get a good score dont know why but beacuse the time is too less and the pasaages are difficult..i dont know weather to read the questions first or the passage? in listening i have one issue i do alot of umm .. i ve recorded many lessons but dont know how to reduce?

    • Yes, as explained above, all answers can be written in capitals. For reading, skim read the passage which means don’t read to understand, read to know the topic and layout only (2 mins max). Then review questions and spend time with the questions before looking for the answers.
      Liz

  48. hello maam i want to give IELTS test for the first time.plz help me in preparing. im in pakistan and youtube is not opening here. thats why i can’t watch your videos here on this site . plz help me what to do…..

    • There are many many pages which do not contain videos. Read all pages, particularly the information pages and model answers.
      Liz

    • Engr Muhammad Abdurrehman says:

      Assalam o alaikom
      sister don’t worry it is easy to access to youtube in Pakistan.
      Just go and Install hotspot shield and then run it after running then check the youtube.
      hope so it will start work
      other wise you can also use youtube proxy. but first you should check hotspot.

  49. Hi Liz ,i have question?!when we do multiple choice academic in Ielts tests how can we find key word in questions and options in break before listen to record???!!!plzz help

  50. Hi Liz,

    In reference to the listening of multiple choice in which there was a session about rainforest excursion and we need to choose which recommendation of things to bring. I somehow alittle confused of the words “recommendation”. Usually author’s recommendation will be the right answer while the article’s recommendation such as “some people recommend to bring etc”.. should not accepted to be the answer ?

  51. if in multipe choice they are given using no more then two words but if i write only one word means is it correct answer or should i write in two words

  52. Hi Ma’am,
    I took the exam last week.
    Your videos were very helpful. Thanks a ton for it.

    I am a bit worried now. I have a doubt if a word in listening can be written by using the first letter in upper case and the rest in lower case (not a proper noun and not first word of the sentence).
    Eg: Sam is busy in the _____________. The answer for this is “morning”(will i lose a mark if I write it as Morning?).

  53. i am going to held my ielts exam on august 8 so liz help me how to writing task 1 and 2 please help me how to write these task.

    • All my lessons, model answers and tips for writing task 1 and 2 can be found on the main pages.
      All the best
      Liz

  54. Hi Liz!
    while practicing for my IELTS listening part, I found some answers in the answer key like (seat) reservations or yoga (classes). I wanna know that why did they write those words within the bracket? what does that mean? will I loose mark if i don’t write the words which have been mentioned within the bracket on the main answer sheet during the exam?

    • It means that you can use one word or both words as your answer. So, yoga is right and also yoga classes is right.
      Liz

  55. Hi liz,
    Are we allowed to answer in all capital letters in the listening exam?
    Your response will be appreciated 🙂
    Thank you.

  56. hi liz, thank you for all lessons but could you please tell me how to transfer my answer to answer sheet? for example in this lesson should I write;

    4)d 5)b 6)f or 4)b 5)d 6)f

    • Yes, for multiple choice you usually transfer the letters not the words. Here’s a video which will explain most things about writing answers for IELTS listening: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-listening-25-essential-top-tips/
      All the best
      Liz

      • I think you misunderstood, it can be about my english, sorry about that but I’m not asking for letters or words, I’m talking about which answer shoud I write first? Is it should be based on your list or your recording? I mean, Should I write firstly d)walking boots for question 4 or should I write b)food and drink for question 4? Which one is correct?
        4)d 5)b
        or
        4)b 5)d

        • If you look in the answer key of the IELTS Cambridge books (these are real IELTS test papers), you will see that the answers are in any order. That means d then b or b then d.
          All the best
          Liz

  57. angela shakya says:

    can you mail me all practice tips daily.plz…

    • Please subscribe to get all lessons by email. If you haven’t received any yet, look in your spam folder.
      All the best
      Liz

  58. Vaishali says:

    Hello Liz,
    Can you please give me the tips for reading section. When I practice for all units I got less every time in reading only. how can I find latest topics for all units?

    thank you,

    • If you go to my home page, you will find a link to recent exam topics which students post on the left side of the page. Unfortunately, I only write reading tips as lessons which I post over time.
      All the best
      Liz

  59. Hi liz thank you very much but if you can give us more reading lesson

    • Hi,

      Next Saturday I will post the first video lesson in reading. It will be about y n ng questions and the difference between yes and no answers. Over the coming months, I will put more reading and listening videos up.
      All the best
      Liz

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