Answering multiple choice questions in the listening test

Do you find it difficult to answer Multiple Choice questions in the ‪#‎IELTS‬ listening test?  Many people have this problem, particularly in Section 3 and 4, so here is my advice for how to manage these questions.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that all of the questions in the listening test are written in a way to help guide you through the recording – you should see them as signposts that are telling you what you need to listen for. So, it is very important to read the questions carefully before you listen and you are given extra time to do this. This will help you to identify the ideas and topics you will hear and will help you to keep track as you listen.
After you have identified the key topics, look at the information in the questions to identify the type of information you need to listen for. Try and rephrase this in your own mind – this may help you to identify the paraphrases when you hear them in the recording. In the images below I have tried to show what you need to think about when you are preparing for Multiple choice questions.
Being ready to listen means that you will be able to cope more easily with the test. Identifying the topics will help you keep track and move on with the speakers. When you are listening, you only hear the recording once, and again the questions are written in a way to help with this you will never need to go back to an earlier question.  So, once the topic has moved on, make sure you move on to the next question and don’t look back at earlier questions – if you do that you will become confused and lose your way in the recording. You will also miss the answer to the next questions.

listening multiple choice 1Listening multiple choice 2



7 thoughts on “Answering multiple choice questions in the listening test

  1. Sunder

    It is very helpful Pauline, I wanted to practice more tests of Listening lessions 3 and 4. Can u suggest me more materils which are may be helpful to me

  2. Dinho

    For multiple choice questions:
    1. There seems too much to read and quite master before listening.Some choices are even written long and complex, esp. part 3. Personally, I can do much better with section 4 than section 3, as I see it is easier to control, doing part 4 is just like filling the gaps , though I do not need to follow all, sometimes can relax my minds.
    2. Following your advice steps,I am consider which one is better while listening:
    +Way 1: I should listen and care all choices at 1 time? too much … to solve.
    +Way 2: while listening, I will not care about choices, just listen to the whole related part like in the real world and write down my own answer, then compare to choices later. Feel relaxed but afraid it might takes time to read and affects next ones.

    Welcome to SG, dear!

    1. Pauline Post author

      Hi Dinho, first of all make sure you are using authentic practice materials. There should not be too much to read in authentic listening multiple choice questions. Watch the first video in this list to see how to answer this type of question (it is a long video but you can fast forward to the part about listening)


Hello! All feedback and any IELTS questions are welcome.