This article, hopefully, can give you an overview of this type of question and strategies, useful tips as well.


1. Introduction to IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions


Regularly, you can find IELTS Short Answer Questions appearing in any section of the IELTS Listening test, but mostly in Section 2 in which a monologue will be rendered in a daily social context. 


When mentioning Short Answer Questions, IELTS test-takers need to answer these questions:

What/When/Where/Why/Which/How/etc. However, instead of giving an answer in the form of a full sentence, this type of question in IELTS Listening requires you to write within a specific word limit (Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer).


To be more specific, a list of questions will be represented in the same order of the recording and your task is to read the questions first, then listen to the audio and answer these using information given.  


short answer questions ielts

short answer questions ielts listening


After getting to know IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions, you need to find out your appropriate learning strategies and several useful tips to dominate this question type.


2. IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions Strategies


2.1. Read the instructions carefully 


Before listening for the prompts, take your time to look at the requirements before questions to identify the word limit for each answer. Underline or highlight this to make sure that you will not go beyond the word limit.


ielts listening short answers


2.2. Read the questions and Identify keywords


It’s now time to read all the questions and spot all keywords necessary for locating the information whilst listening. Underlining or highlighting those keywords is highly recommended so that you can both save time and have more chances to get a high score. Focus more on questions words (What, Where, When, Which, etc.) and unchangeable words (names, dates, places, etc.)


ielts listening short answers


For changeable words, you should think of synonyms or paraphrases that can be used in the recording.


2.3. Predict the answers


For IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions, predicting the answers seems to be more difficult than other types of questions. Nevertheless, try to think about all possibilities for each question during your preparation time. 


ielts listening short answer questions strategies


For example, in the picture above, we can identify what specific information will be mentioned besides the word type (noun, verb, adj, etc.) 


  • Question 1: an exact point of time answers for the question “What time”


  • Question 2 & 3: two specific attractions answer for the question “Which”


  • Question 4 & 5: two specific facilities that can be improved answer for the requirement “Name”


2.4. Take notes on key points


While IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions, apart from looking for keywords or synonyms/paraphrases to understand the audio as well as locate the question, you are suggested to jot down some keywords that are discussed. 


Remember that taking note doesn’t require you to write full sentences but highlighted ideas in the form of abbreviations like & / + (and) or symbols such as → (therefore). This step can help you a lot to keep up with the idea of the speaker and you won’t miss key information. Also, this is helpful with cross-checking the answers. Try to take note as fast as possible and don’t stay so long on an abstract term. 


2.5. Answer the questions


Taking note doesn’t give points for any question, so give the final answer for each question.


2.6. Cross-check the answers


Your answers must be within the word limit at first, then check the grammatical structure along with spelling of each word to fully receive a point for each.


>>> Read more: IELTS Listening Sentence


3. Tips for IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions


ielts listening short answer questions tips


  • The answers for IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions will come in the same order with the information mentioned in the recording, so don’t worry about the sequence of the questions


  • Make the most of the preparation time and the time right after the previous part which allows you to check the answers for that part. Move to the next part to scan for information and take time to check all the answers at the end of the test (in 10 minutes)


  • Let’s listen, read, and answer simultaneously so that you can optimise your time to score high


  • Don’t be trapped by the examiners with some linking words of contrast such as however, but, neither/nor, either/or, until, apart from (Entrance price was £6.50 per person until May 1st when it increased by 20p to £6.70.).


  • With some questions requiring you to LIST or NAME some objects or people at the same time, the answers will be so close that you need to take note of the answers as fast as possible. Make use of some abbreviations and symbols to save time 


  • Write down onto the answer sheet the precise words or phrases you have heard, don’t paraphrase or use synonyms of those.


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