IELTS Listening: Short Answer Questions Practice & Tips

Apr 03,2023

IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions Practice & Tips

IELTS Listening module has different question types. To ace the IELTS Test, it is essential that you understand all the question types and answer them correctly. In this blog, we will discuss Short answer questions in the Listening test and provide you with essential tips to boost your IELTS listening band score.

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Short Answer Questions -Listening Test

Let us help you understand more about these question types:

 Short-answer questions are asked frequently in the listening test. They are mostly asked in the monologue part of section 2. Sometimes more than two answers are required for these Short Answer Questions.

Valuable Strategies for Short Answer Question Tasks in the Listening test:

Although Listening to short answer questions may seem easy, it takes good practice and brilliant tactics to answer these questions correctly.  

Here are a few strategies to improve your IELTS Listening Score, and we assure you that regular listening test practice using these techniques will help you answer questions more easily.

1. Read the question carefully:

Before the recording starts, you will have a few seconds to read the question. Make sure you utilize the time wisely to understand the topic. Remember that if you do not read the questions before the audio begins, you will miss out a lot. It can impact your listening score to a great extent. 

2. Highlight keywords:

Every sentence or question will have words that carry significant importance. Keywords in a sentence will help you to find the potential answer when the prompt is played. The Your task is to identify and highlight the keywords and use them to find the correct answer.

Must Read: IELTS Preparation: Get Yourself Familiar With the IELTS Exam Pattern

3. Predict the answer:

Once you have read the question, use your knowledge to assume a potential solution. For, e.g., know if the answer is a name, number, place, verb, or adjective. If you develop the skill of identifying the solution, you will get closer to finding the correct answer during your Listening test.

4. Take notes:

When the audio begins, note down words in your test booklet that you think are important for your answer. Make sure you outline the ideas in short terms that are easy to understand, and do not change the actual words from the audio. For example, if you hear “application “in the audio, you can simply write with appropriate abbreviations, such as “app.” in your test booklet.

Try to make notes in the space next to the question on the test booklet, so you will not get confused when you answer it.

5. Avoid Distractors:

Distractors are placed in the audio to test the listening ability of the candidates. While they convey the same information you are looking for, they will sidetrack the candidates to a different word. Look for words like “but,” “however,” and “although” while listening to the prompt.

For example, The university fees for the early childcare program were $1500. However, it has been increased by 100$ to $1600.

There are more examples like this where candidates get distracted by unnecessary information. 

6. Give precise and accurate answers:

Remember that even a tiny mistake can cost you a loss of valuable points. Thus, answering clear and accurate answers is extremely important, especially when transferring to the sheet. Always answer what you have been asked. Long answers that are out of context will not help you score more. Confine your word limit to what you have been asked in the instructions. 

7. Don’t skip:

Never leave the question unanswered, even if you missed critical information while listening to the audio. Try to logically predict the answer to the question with the information you have. Remember, you have nothing to lose if you make a guess. So, attempt all the questions listening test.

Sample task for Short Answer Questions:-

Listening Practice

The below sample task will give you an idea about the Short answer question type and how they will be asked in the exam. Ready to try it?

Questions 11 – 16 

Answer the questions below.


What TWO factors can make social contact in a foreign country difficult? 

• 11 …………………………. 

• 12 …………………………. 

Which types of community groups does the speaker give examples of? 

• theatre 

• 13 ……………………………. 

• 14 ……………………………. 

In which TWO places can information about community activities be found? 

• 15 ……………………………. 

• 16 ………………………… 

Listen to this recording from the official IELTS page and answer the above questions.

Listening Task Audio-Short Answer Question

Answers to this task are given at the end of this article. *

Source: Official IETLS Page:

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Essential Tips for IELTS Listening Task: Short Answer Questions

  • You will have 20 seconds to read the questions before the audio begins. Use this time to read the questions, understand the sentence’s meaning, and underline the keywords.
  • Remember that answers will come in the same order as the questions listed. Hence, paying attention to the order will help you pick from where you left off, and you will not get confused during the test.
  • Only use enough words to answer the question. Read the instructions to know how many words are required to answer the question.
  • Don’t write a different than what you hear in the recording. You must write the exact words as narrated by the speaker(unless it is a verb form).
  • Whenever in confusion, trust your instinct. If you feel that what you think is the correct answer, go with it.
  • To avoid spelling errors, it is always a best practice to write answers in capital letters.

IELTS Listening is an essential component of the IELTS test. One of the best ways to boost your IELTS score is to attempt short-answer tasks correctly. The precise and accurate answer to all the questions in this task will improve your listening score drastically. However, practice is the only key choose the correct word from the recording. 

We hope the above tips can help you in your IELTS Preparation. Keep reading our blogs for more helpful tips and strategies on IELTS Listening. 


11 & 12 in either order

  •  language
  •  customs

13 & 14 in either order

  •  music (groups)
  •  local history (groups)

15 & 16 in either order

  •  (the) (public) library/libraries
  •  (the) town hall

Wrapping up: 

Got the correct answers.Cheers! 

That’s all. We hope that the above strategies have helped you answer the practice test more easily now. Make sure you keep practicing the previous test papers to get the desired band score in your IELTS test.

Must Read: IELTS Exam Dates 2023: Preparation Tips, Registration Steps


Written By

Kirati Shah

Kirati Shah is a certified IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Trainer with 10 years of experience. She is on a mission to provide good quality lessons about IELTS and PTE through blogs and videos that can help students get their desired score and achieve their dream to migrate/study abroad.


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