Listening Question Types: Multiple Choice

Multiple choice is one of the most challenging question types in the Listening test because of the amount of reading you need to do and the similarities in the options. 

There are 2 types of questions, choosing a single answer from a list of 3 or 4 options (SAMPLE A) and choosing more than 1 answer from a list of options (SAMPLE B).

Multiple choice can ask you to answer questions or complete sentences. SAMPLE A is completing sentences. 

 

There is no “fixed number of options” in the answers. That is, the answers in SAMPLE A must have one A, one B and one C. There is no secret “code” to the answers. The answers can be all option A. 

SAMPLE A

IELTS Listening Multiple Choice

SAMPLE B

IELTS Listening Multiple Choice

Strategies & Tips

  • The answers for all question types will be in the same order as the information you hear. Always follow the question numbers for the order you will hear the answers.

  • Do not change the word you hear in recording. You will hear the exact word you need to write in the gaps even though the words around the answer may be paraphrased.​

  • In SAMPLE B, questions 19 and 20 you can write the answers in any order. You must have both answers correct to receive 1 mark. There are no half marks for 1 correct answer.

  • In SAMPLE B, the options are listed randomly and you will not hear the answers in the order they are mentioned in the recording. 

  • Always write the answer as a letter. If you write any more along with the letter on the answer sheet, you will be marked incorrect.

  • Read the title carefully. This will keep you focused on the topic. 

  • While listening, if you realise you have missed a question, don’t spend time on it as you will lose your place in the recording. Move on to the next question and come back to the question you didn’t answer at the end and try to answer from memory or make a guess.

Highlight the Keywords

  • Before you listen highlight the key words in the questions and options. 

Example: SAMPLE A, Question 12

Paraphrase & Synonyms

  • After highlighting the key words, don’t expect to hear them in the recording as paraphrase and synonyms will be used.

Example: SAMPLE A, Question 12

Recording:

We opened to the public for just a month that year, 1984 - our driest month - because our children said they didn’t want our guests to have a miserable, wet visit. 

Key words                                                
the weather was expected to be good.

Paraphrase

our driest month

Distracters

  • Listen for distracters. That’s when the answer is changed from what was originally said in the recording.

  • Multiple choice questions, in particular, will have a large number of distracters because of the choice of options

  • In SAMPLE B, you will, most likely, hear a reference to all options. So, listen carefully for the correct option.

 

Recording

IELTS Listening Multiple Choice

Answer: IN EITHER ORDER

A, E

  • In SAMPLE A, there will also be extensive use of distracters.

Example: SAMPLE A, Question 13
 

Recording

            Winridge is one of the most popular attractions in the area - with 50,000 visitors a year - a million and a half people have been through our doors since we opened.

Distracter 

50,000

Answer:

C 1,500,000 visitors