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IELTS Listening Question Types: Completing Notes 

Completing notes is a very common question type and can be found in all parts of the Listening test. Notes reflect how you would take notes in various situations, such as listening to a lecture, a telephone conversation etc. 

You may know from experience of taking notes, that they are not always full, grammatically correct sentences and are often not punctuated. Rather, they have the minimum amount of essential vocabulary needed so that they can be understood. The sample here is from part 4 of the test, the most common use of note taking question type and the most challenging. 


IELTS Listening Completing Notes

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.

IELTS Listening Written Answers

Predict the Answers

  • Read the heading at the top and the sub-headings as these will give you information about the topic which, can help you predict the answer.

  • Some lines of notes will have no gaps but you should also read these carefully as they will help you make predictions and give you more information about the topic.

  • Read what comes before and after the gap and predict the type of word and information that is missing.


Example: Question 34 


      The type of word is most likely a noun since it is preceded by “the”

      The type of information is how does the layer of foam improve the building.


      And the walls had a layer of foam around them too, to increase the insulation.

      Answer: insulation

Paraphrase & Synonyms

  • The sentences in the notes will be paraphrased so don’t expect to hear them word for word in the recording. 

  • When reading the questions, underline the key words and think of synonyms and paraphrase.

Example: Question 38


    The system for processing domestic 38........... is organic.



      The system for dealing with the waste produced in the house. This is dealt with organically. 

      Answer: waste

Paraphrase and synonyms: 

      processing      -      dealing with

      domestic        -       in the house

      organic          -       organically

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