Short Answer Questions

In this post, we will look at short answer questions in the listening test.

Short answer questions in the listening test, will require you to write no more than a set number of words and/or numbers. You will probably be given a limit, for example, 'No more than two words and/or a number'. If you write more words than the instructions tell you to, your answer will be marked as incorrect.

The short answers only need keywords, meaning you will not be able to write a sentence. These questions are there to see how well you can find specific information and be able to recognise when some information is not needed. 

It is really important that you read the instructions of the questions carefully, often when people do not read them and follow them correctly they lose marks. When you are asked to complete questions, you will also be enlightened as to what information you can put into the gaps.

Being able to provide accurate short answers in the listening test is really important in order for you to gain a high score.

For example, you may be asked to:

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD for each answer

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer

If your answer does not follow the instructions given, it will be marked as incorrect.

In the IELTS listening test, you must listen for specific information and be able to recognise when some information is not needed.


Exercise 1

Look at the text below and provide an answer that is NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS.

Question - What did Segovia influence?

Spain will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the destination of my first international trip, and where I studied Spanish abroad and started to discover how much excitement the world had to offer.

My favourite part of that first trip was being able to explore smaller cities and towns in Spain that I wouldn’t have known about prior, and that is somewhat off the tourist path. I spent a month in Spain that summer, living in Salamanca and El Puerto de Santa Maria, and exploring the surrounding regions.

From Madrid, you can get to the city of Segovia in less than thirty minutes on the high-speed train, and I recommend getting out there. Famous for its Acazar and Roman aqueduct, Segovia is a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One thing that I found interesting about Segovia is that it’s said that Walt Disney drew inspiration from the majestic Acazar for the iconic Cinderella’s castle.

Answer at the bottom of the page.


Distractors

A distractor is when you are given information that is wrong. This can lead you to choose the incorrect answer. They are common in the IELTS Listening tests, as they test your ability to choose the right information for the answers, by ignoring the wrong information. The distractors will try to trick you into selecting the wrong answer, so you must listen carefully for specific information.


Exercise 2

Listen to the following sound clip which contains a number of distractors. Before you listen, take a look at the questions and think about the context. What words or phrases would you expect to hear? Can you predict?

Question

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

1. What does he divide the meat into? .............................

2. What does he marinate the burgers with? .................................

Answers at the bottom of the page.


Practice Short Answer Questions

The IELTS listening test will allow you some time to read the questions before you listen to the recording. For the short answer questions, you should read the questions before you start and try to predict the answers, or what type of word would be appropriate for the answer. 


Exercise 3

Read the following questions before listening to the sound clip.

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER to answer.

1. According to the author, what does she say about writing another Harry Potter novel? ..................................

2. The author doesn't want to write which book? ............................................

3. Was Harry Potter one of the bestselling book series in?  .......................................

4. What is the author worth financially? ..........................................

5. How does the author help children around the world? ..............................................

Answers at the bottom of the page.


Exercise 4

Short answer questions can be presented in other ways, for example asking you to listen to a recording and choose options. 

Read the following questions before listening to the sound clip.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER to answer.

1. What does the student need to improve?

A. ...............................

B. ...............................

2. What are the writer's obligations to their readers?

A. ...............................

B. ...............................

Answers at the bottom of the page.


REVIEW AND STRATEGY

TIP >>  Read the instructions and questions before you start listening to the recording. What are you being asked to do? Familiarise yourself with the questions and think about the context. 

TIP >>  Look at the questions/options you have been given and highlight any keywords. 

TIP >> Listen carefully for information but be wary of distractors. 

TIP >> Be aware of paraphrasing and synonyms. 

TIP >> If you do miss an answer or were not sure, then it is ok to take a guess. This is better than leaving a blank space and you never know, you might answer correctly!


Answers >>

Exercise 1

Cinderella's Castle

Exercise 2

1. 200g 

2. Mustard

Exercise 3

1. Never say never

2. Harry Potter 8

3. History

4. 1 billion dollars

5. Through charity work

Exercise 4

1. A - clear development / B - first sentence

2. A - Readership / B - Thesis


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