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IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions - Lessons, Tips
IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions – Lessons, Tips

IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions – Lessons, Tips

Understanding IELTS Short Answer Questions

Short answer questions need candidates to read a question and write a short answer using the information from the audio. This question is meant to test the ability to answer questions within the word limit as designated. In this question type, commonly, distractors are used. A distractor is something that appears when you get wrong information. With distractors, you may end up choosing the wrong message. Thus, you must listen to the recording carefully and give correct answers. 

Strategies for Answering the Short Answer Questions

There are a few strategies that have to be borne in mind while answering these types of questions. They are listed below:

  • Before you listen to the given prompt, take your time to read the question and possible answers given in the options to understand the keywords and the topic.
  • Once done, underline all of the keywords. These are such essential words that will take your attention when you will be listening to the recording. Generally, avoid underlining basic adjectives, pronouns and adverbs. 
  • Pay special attention to question words. These will help you find answers easily. 
  • Now, you can begin listening. As you listen, write out all of the information so that you will remember it afterward.
  • Make sure your answer is accurate. Use your common sense when answering the given questions. 

Tips for Short Answer Questions IELTS Questions

Some tips to answer the questions and obtain a high band in the IELTS examination are given below: 

  • Use the 20 seconds (that you will get before listening to the prompt) and read the given information and underline keywords. 
  • All the answers will be in order as per the prompt. So, listen carefully.
  • Experiment with outlining techniques.
  • Study your questions and try finding out their meanings.
  • Don’t waste your time before and after the recording is played. Focus on what’s important. 
  •  Don’t write more than what is asked. This will result in wrong marking of your answer.
  • Even if the exam is tough, choose what seems best. Don’t leave anything blank.
  • Don’t write in illegible or messy handwriting. 

Sample Practice

Section 2 is a monologue of a University Jack giving you a guided tour of the library.

Good morning and welcome to the main library of the University of British Columbia. My name is George Martin and I’m the head Jack. I’m happy to give you a brief introduction to our library. I guess I’m qualified. I’ve been working here since 1961. Back in the days when the only electrical were electronic stuff here was the lights. Oh and the phones of course. Mechanical typewriters and slide rules there. No fancy laptops and cellphones. Computers, in a library? No way. Everything was on paper. If you needed to find something, you went to the card index and if that didn’t help, you asked one of the staff and if that didn’t work, you told your professor that you couldn’t write the essay because the library didn’t have the book you needed. My, you students have it so easy nowadays. We’ve got about 15 computer terminals on each of our 4 floors. If you know the title or the author, then you can find out if we’ve got it in seconds and if we do, where it is. If we haven’t got it then you can find out if the public libraries and other university libraries in Vancouver and Burnaby have it. Now you know that library books are arranged according to the numbers on the back of each book. Does anyone know the name of this numbering system? Right, the Dewey decimal classification system, which was invented by Melvil Dewey, an American Jack not John Dewey the philosopher.

Pause

In Melvil’s day, book classification systems were in a real mess and he decided to do something about it and around 1876, came up with the system we still use today. Look up there and you can see a list of basic categories. 000 generalities which include all sorts of things – encyclopedias, news media etcetera. Then a 100 – philosophy and psychology. 200 – Religion. 300 – Social sciences and so on up to 900 – Geography and History. With over 4 million books, actually, nearer to 5 million now, we have a lot to thank Melvil for. Now, if you look out to your right, you can see the layout of the library. It’s very logical. We start down here on the first floor or the ground floor for our British cousins with three zeros – generalities and so on up to the fourth floor with all the 800 th and 900 th . By the way, you won’t find books on medicine and dentistry here. There all over in the medical library just to the east of the medical school. Now, if you look at the plan of the 2 nd floor, you can see we can have a CD and DVD library. The music collection covers just about everything that we call serious. From Bach and Beethoven, Folk music, blues, early rock ‘n’ roll and Jazz and more. But sorry, no punk, heavy metal, rap or hip hop yet. For oriental music, like Peking opera, you’ll have to get to the Asian study center or Chinatown. A word about taking books out, the usual lending period is two weeks. But a few books in great demand can only be taken out for 2 days and I suggest you try to return books on time. The fine is $1 a day for the first week and a $1 a day thereafter. One last thing, your fancy new smart Mary card is also your library card and you can also use it to pay at the Mary cafeteria. So don’t lose it or you will starve to death without any library books. Okay, I guess that’s enough here. Let’s move up to the 2 nd floor.

Questions 1-4

Write NO MORE THAN FOUR WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

  1. What is the name of the university?
  2. When did the head librarian start working at the library?
  3. How many computer terminals are there on each floor?
  4. On what floor are the geography and history books?

Answers

1. University of British Columbia

2. 1961

3. 15

4. 4th floor

Explanation

For the first question, it is clear from the talk which goes thus:

“Good morning and welcome to the main library of the University of British Columbia.”

For the second question, it is clear from the talk which goes thus:

“My name is George Martin and I’m the head Jack. I’m happy to give you a brief introduction to our library. I guess I’m qualified. I’ve been working here since 1961.”

For the third question, it is clear from the talk which goes thus:

 “We’ve got about 15 computer terminals on each of our 4 floors.”

For the fourth question, it is clear from the talk which goes thus:

“Then a 100 – philosophy and psychology. 200 – Religion. 300 – Social sciences and so on up to 900 – Geography and History. With over 4 million books, actually, nearer to 5 million now, we have a lot to thank Melvil for. Now, if you look out to your right, you can see the layout of the library. It’s very logical. We start down here on the first floor or the ground floor for our British cousins with three zeros – generalities and so on up to the fourth floor with all the 800 th and 900 th.” 

FAQs

What does this type of question intend to improve?

With short answer questions from the listening section, you can improve your listening skills, patience and attentiveness. 

Should I write sentences in the answer?

No, you would have to answer within the word count as mentioned in the instructions. It could be anywhere between a one to five or above words answer. 

What are distractors?

A distractor is when you get wrong information. This can result in the selection of an incorrect answer. Distractors are quite common in the IELTS Listening section. Thus, you would have to be attentive while answering them. 

Here are the 10 Examples for the IELTS Listening Short Answer Questions:

Also check :

Written By

Justin is our Exam Prep Master and helps our learners with the important information, tips to tackle the IELTS Test. He has his way of researching and putting into words the details that students need to know while prepping for the IELTS Test. Justin joined us right after working with an NGO, which helped students study. He understood the difficulties for local students who took up the IELTS Test as English wasn't their first language and thus took it upon him to educate and help students learn the basics of the language and how to tackle the test.

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