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IELTS Video: Listening practice with numbers

It is common in IELTS to be asked to listen for a number. The most common numbers that IELTS use are the numbers 15 / 50. Many students have a problem with hearing the difference between these numbers.

Watch this lesson to test yourself on listening for these difficult numbers and also review the pronunciation.



  1. jacob ahmad says:

    Hi Liz, I wanted to enquire about something. When the instructor says ”you now have half a minute to check your answers”, can I use this time in reading the following questions rather than checking, or would be illegal?

    • It is 100% fine. In fact, it is recommended to use that time to read forward and underline key words in the questions. You can review your answers at the end of the listening test when you have an extra 10 mins to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

  2. Dilip Singh says:

    Hello Liz,

    I would like to thank you for the your help in preparation for IELTS. I have doubt on a question asked in Section 1 One word and/or a number.

    Tuesday _______ June.

    I wrote the answer as ‘5’ instead of writing ‘5th’ which was spoken on the audio will it be incorrect?

    Please guide.

  3. Dear Liz,

    I am a big Fan of yours.

    I have one doubt. How can i write below in Capital Letters.
    1. 1st NOVEMBER

    which one is correct.


  4. Dinar Fenuvy says:

    Hi Liz, I’ve got some problems writing email address and web address on Listening answer sheet. I’m confused weather I could write email address or web address in all Capital letters. Normally, I write my ans using all capital letters. On the other hand, if i want to write my ans in lower case , Is it really important to capitalize nouns like New York, Bailey Road or Sebastian Larsen ? or I can simply write them in lower cases if I want.

  5. Kamal Basnet says:

    I heard dates on tape as 25th December but answer provided in key is 25 December. Which is correct one?

  6. Dear Liz,
    I am confusing about the following answer from IELTS Cambridge 9 test 3 ques 20. Instruction shows that “one word and/or numbers” and the answer is “5 to 12”. My question is if I write “5-12” is correct?

    • It depends what the question is. Each type of question has different requirements.

      • If the question is “one word and/or numbers” and answer “5-12”, then it will be correct?

        • Let me repeat – it depends on the type of question (not only the instructions). Types of questions include sentence completion, note completion, diagram completion etc. The full question must be considered as well as the instructions. Spend more time doing full practice tests, analysing questions, analysing answers and reading transcripts.

    • Hi ,

      The correct answer is 5 to 12 as per the instructions it says one word = to and /or numbers(more than one numbers) so 5 and 12.

  7. we want practice lesson related tonnumbers and time …can u provide me plz

  8. Yang Danxia says:

    Hi, Ms. Liz, I’m in China. I can’t open any of the videos. What shall I do?

  9. Hy Liz I have a question when I have to wright an hour for example 8 : 30 somebody told me is wrong should be 8 . 30 is that wright ?

  10. Hi Liz,
    Does tens of thousands means 10,000? Thanks

  11. Nelson Tivane says:

    Hi Liz, my Name is Nelson Tivane, from Mozambique (SSAfrica). First at all, let say, you have an amazing voice and such lovely accent, I wish it could be the only voice to hear throughout ielts listening test… it would be more easy to understand.
    I am going to do, for the third time this year, IELTS test. Yes, for the third time. Yet, it kind motivate me. Mostly because now, i got to know your web and I think that i was able to overcome most of my ex-standing doubts. I am writing just to say, THANKS, it has been so helpful… Today I did the speaking component, although there were a couple of hesitation (when I was talking about the given topic), I believe that I did it well. Lets see what is coming tomorrow, i will let you know about the results and, i hope, to add a “thank U Liz once more because, this time, I did it”.
    Best regards

  12. Millie says:

    Hi Liz!
    I’m really loving your site! Another tip I’d use for fifteen and fifty would be the stress:

    15 = fif-TEEN has its stress on the 2nd syllable TEEN, while
    50 = FIF-ty’s is on the 1st.


  13. Hai,

  14. Hi, Liz! I have a one question. For example, in listening test from Cambridge I wrote “seven screen” instead of “7 screen” (in answer key), is it still mistake, even though instruction says that I can write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS/and/or a number?
    I would be thankful if You could comment on this!

  15. I need to watch the videos but these do not run; don’t know what’s the problem. Any help please?

    • It might be due to your internet connection. These videos are streamed online.


        • I’m not sure but it might be. I know many forms of video are blocked in China. My free videos are youtube videos which are difficult for Chinese students to watch. Also my advanced writing task 2 video lessons might also be hard to watch.

  16. Shazaratul Zannat says:

    Hi Liz,
    I think,there is a rule to write single numbers as words.In the Cambridge listening scripts ,the rule is followed but in the answer keys, it is sometimes followed,sometimes not.
    For example…fifth taste is in the listening script but in the answer keys they’ve written 5th taste(instruction was to write no more than two words)
    If I write fifth taste ,will it be wrong?

    • The rule of writing numbers under 10 as digits rather than words applies mainly to writing, not listening. Most answers in listening will accept either word or number if the answer is a single number, such as “4”. Most instructions say “no more than two words and/or a number” which means you can add a number to your answer as a digit. Or the instructions say “no more than two words and/or numbers” (plural) which means you can add one or more digits to your answer.

  17. Hi Liz

    If the requirement is “not more than two words” . Do i write a) fifth taste or b) 5th taste as my answer? Because I thought 5th is actually a number. Thank you 🙂

  18. Hossam says:

    Hello Liz,
    I followed most of your lessons on the listening test, and targeted it very well. But I still have a very big problem, that when I practice a test at first I hear well but by the time I mostly hear bla bla bla and feeling lost specially with the mcq questions I can’t catch the speech or organize it.

    Can you advise me?


    • Learn to focus on key words in the questions. You are listening for answers only.

      • Hossam says:

        Time is my enemy

        • Time is your enemy if you are trying to understand everything in the recording. But if you are just aiming for answers, your concentration is more focused. Also if you are aiming for band 7, it means some answers will be missed or wrong – that’s normal. So, just try to maximum your score on the answers that are achievable. It’s all about working with your strengths. Also you can make notes or cross out answers in multiple choice, then select the right answers when you transfer to the answers sheet.

  19. Hina Vadsarya says:

    Hello Liz,
    I got all correct for numbers practice lesson but I have written spelling for that. For number it is okay to write numbers like eighty instead of 80, or have to write only numbers.
    Best Regards
    Hina Vadsray

  20. Hi Liz

    I would like to ask something regarding time. Is it appropriate to write the answer in a 24 hour clock format for instance 0915, 2210?

  21. Hi Liz,
    You are doing more than good infact.

    My question is about using Capital letters.Can we use capital letters only to answer listening module of IELTs Listening?

    I meant to say that I want to write CONFIDENCE instead of Confidence.Will that be acceptable for all answers?

    Please enlighten us with your knowledge

  22. Hi Liz

    Thank you for your great effort.

    I want to ask you a question about telephone numbers.
    I’ve just did first listening test on Cambridge IELTS 8.

    In the first part, there was a telephone number 01674553242 and i wrote it correctly on the answer sheet. However, in answer keys, correct answer seems to be 01674 553242.(no other alternative) this is quiet confusing because we are allowed to write “no more than two words/and a number”. in the recording, speaker stops for a second between 01674 and 553242, so does it mean we have to care about that when answering?

    i observed the same situation in the post code as well. again in the official cambridge book, my answer for post code was WS62YH, but the answer is WS6 2YH. (again, no alternatives for the answer)

    whats your tip on that ?

  23. Hi Liz,
    I hope you’re doing well.
    Thank you for you helpful videos, they are successful indeed.
    The most difficult part in the listening is the third one -for me-.What do you suggest?
    I appreciate your assistance.


  24. DEAR LIZ,


  25. Mohit Aggarwal says:

    Hi Liz,

    Hope you are doing well !

    I have gone through your listening test’s tips and techniques and believe me its really helpful. ‘
    I am practicing listening test with Cambridge IELTS 9 and 8, and I noticed that in section 4, I am scoring very less marks because speaker generally speaks quite fast in last section. What you think probably be solution to improve my score. Could you please suggest any special tips which I should concentrate on.
    Please help !


    • Make sure you develop strong techniques for each type of question. Also make a list of common errors you make in listening section 3 and 4. Practice preparing the questions in the time limit provided so you can identify answers more easily using paraphrasing and key words.
      All the best

  26. Hello liz,
    I was doing some practice test from IELTS 9 book,
    In test 2 (listening) Section 1 there is form completion ,
    One Question is : Date of Birth :
    My Answer :31/03/1972
    But In Answer Key its : 31 March
    will my answer be wrong ?
    MAN: Could i ask your date of birth
    WOMAN: 31st March 1972

    • Yes, your answer would be wrong. If you can have only one word and one number, then you can only write “31st March”.

      • Sanone (saigon) says:

        honestly, i feel that ielts is messed up. What I believe is that…
        Date of birth – you must have day, month and year.
        Birthday – day and month

        above is what we have had studied when we were young, why would ielts confuse us?

        sorry about punctuation, typing using mobile. also please post this, i would like to know what other students think.

        • I know that this post is old but i can’t help it.
          Your answer depends on the instruction or required number of words or numbers allowed. Right? 🙂

  27. Hi Liz,
    I have a doubt in answering listening and reading sections. In both these sections can we write some answers in all capital letters and some answers in small letters or will it create a bad impression.

    Awaiting your reply.

    Thanking you in advance,

  28. Dear Liz,
    I would like to thank you for your awesome work.I have started to learn something from your site.As far as I saw, I think if I follow your site then that will help me for getting good band score.I have a request to you.If possible so add a vocabulary list with synonyms in your site.

  29. Greetings

    Actually, I do not have a question, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your great efforts.
    I have passed the TOEFL IBT 100/120. However, it is no longer accepted in the UK!
    Thus, I am preparing for the IELTS test which I find more difficult! But, thanks to you, the material you offer will make a great start for me. I have like 40 days left! I hope this will be enough for 7+ band

    Yours Faithfully

    • Spend time learning about IELTS, about the types of questions, learn topics, develop ideas and practicing answering questions, writing essays and doing listening / reading practice. Check all pages, they are all useful.

    • Sanone (saigon) says:

      Hey Nawar, that’s because bureaucratic monopoly.

  30. good morning ma’am ,i’m confusing at B -P -D-T

  31. I would like to ask about …that when i saw alot of videos about listening test i noticed that they maby saying the noumber in deffrient way like instead of zero thay say o … is that possible !!!! Thanks

    • Yes, that is correct. We usually use “zero” when we relate to individual numbers but “oh” when we talk about telephones. But that isn’t a fixed rule.
      All the best

  32. Reading is a big problem for me I don’t why

  33. Dear Liz , by chance I reach your site as I am searching on google about ielts , and just I click on your site and woooo the greatest thing which I want about ielts I get it , and biggest thing it is free and I am very happy that in this world still people’s are there to give knowledge free unbelievable but really you are great , I am appreciate you from my heart that everyone cannot afford to get the things like you are doing and they are very simple and you explain them from your heart . Thanks

    • Welcome to my IELTS site. Work carefully through the lessons and watch all the videos to improve your understanding of IELTS. Also read through the FAQ pages which contain information for each skill.
      All the best

  34. Dr Nizamis says:

    Liz! I would like to share my happiness with you! Today i received my results! Listening:9, Reading :8,5 Writing:8, Speaking:7 Overall:8! Consequently, My licence to practise medicine is approved!
    Thank you for your tips and your videos! They significantly helped me!
    All the best,
    Dr Nizamis Theofanis.

  35. Hi Liz Madam,
    Seasons Greetings from Nepal. Please accept it.

    Today, I was feeling some numbness and laziness like lifeless. It is perhaps, just because of the weather fluctuation in Nepal this year. It, sometimes, unexpectedly becomes colder and at other times, quite warmer early in the morning, at noon and the evening respectively.
    I was busy working yesterday. However, I put this lesson aside for going through today once I opened the mail.

    This lesson is really really useful not only for the IELTS doers but general English language learners as well. I have many times experienced this and lowered my band score too just because of not recognizing the sound.

    But, it is interesting to note that, speakers do not speak as you tought us in this video with longer sound for THIRTEEN and a shorter sound for THIRTY. Not to Mention, some speakers in the tape while in IELTS Listening test, use GLOTTAL Stop sound, they do not pronounce “T” sound and after that it further becomes complicate and complicate to differentiate them.

    To sum it up, this lesson got me laughed and also energized me.
    Finally, thank you so much for sorting out and posting such a very much useful lesson for the non-native learners like me.

    Mohan Angbo

    • You are right. American pronunciation doesn’t use the “t” sound, instead they use the “d” sound. I’ll have to do a lesson on the difference between American and UK pronunciation. I’ll put it on my list 🙂 The long vowel sound is based not just on the length of the vowel but the type of sound. Here’s a link to learn more: http://www.abcfastphonics.com/vowel-letters/vowel-i.html.
      All the best

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