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IELTS COURSES --> IELTS Lesson --> Listening

IELTS Listening  - Multiple choice

This lesson talks you through some of the skills you need to complete multiple choice listening questions in IELTS. While the format of the listening is part 2 – you get to listen to a tour guide – the same skills apply to the rest of the listening test too. You will also find a multiple choice listening practice exercise at the end of the lesson.
Multiple Choice questions – easy or difficult?
In some ways, the multiple choice listening questions look much easier than other types of question. You do not need to write any words down and there is no problem with spelling – all you need to do is circle the correct letter/option and in parts one and two there are only 3 options. Easy peasy? Not always.
The problem with these types of question is that very often there will be two answers that sound as if they could be correct – especially if you use a “key word” strategy where you concentrate on a few words in the question. If you don’t read, understand and concentrate on the whole question, it can be easy to go wrong.
Understanding distractors
To get this type of question right, it may help to understand how the questions work. This means thinking about “distractors”. Put simply, a distractor is the “trick answer” – the one you think that may be right if you don’t read the whole question. Here’s an example:
The Japanese army planted cherry trees:
A as a sign of goodwill  between China and Japan
B to make Wuhan a special site
C to help their soldiers get better
These trees, well over a thousand of them by now, are by no means native to these parts. Wuhan was occupied by the Japanese during the war and the university complex was used by the Japanese army as a centre for convalescent soldiers. To make the wounded feel more at home, the army planted several orchards of cherry trees to remind the soldiers of Japan. In more recent times, the Japanese government gifted more cherry trees to China as a sign of friendship between the two the nations and many of these trees were subsequently planted here in Wuhan.
Understanding the distractor
Answer A looks as it it might be right. It isn’t. It is a distractor. Why?
The Japanese government gave the trees to China as a sign of friendship does not match The Japanese army planted the trees as a sign of goodwill between China and Japan.
The two may look similar but there is a difference between an army and a government and giving and planting.
Getting the skill right
To get this right, the first step is to know the “distractor” problem – don’t focus on single words like “goodwill”. Know that you may hear things that are close, but not close enough. The next step is simply to focus on the whole question – all the words in the question. Until you listen, you can’t tell which the key words are!
A practical note
Another difficulty go these question is that there is quite a lot to read in the thirty seconds before you listen. You have the stem of the question and all the options. My suggestion?
Before you listen, focus on the stem of the question (the “The Japanese army planted cherry trees:” bit) – this tells you where/when the answer is coming.
As you listen, focus on the options – this is tough as it means reading and listening as you go (two skills at once)
Leave your options open as you listen. What I mean by this is that you may hear something that is close to true but you are not sure about. Just mark that option with?, and keep listening. If yo hear a better answer later, mark it with a tick. If you don’t, go back to your first choice.


You will hear an accommodation officer telling students about different halls of residence.

Accommodation Officer:
Good afternoon and welcome to Stanton University. I’m here to tell you about the various halls of residence we have available should you choose to come here. We aim to offer accommodation in Halls to all first year students and you’ll find there’s a good variety to choose from.
First of all, there’s Brown Hall, which, as you’ll see, is not the most modern of buildings but it is very popular with some students. It’s got a good sense of community, some nice refurbished kitchens and, unlike the other halls, it has recently had a gym built in its basement. Another option is Blake Residence, which is built like a large house and so everybody cooks and eats together. It has its own sectioned-off bit of private garden and is even more peaceful because this is an all girls residence, although of course boys are allowed to visit the Hall and, I understand, frequently take part in cooking dinner! The largest Hall we have is Queens Building and this has been upgraded recently. The original parking area has been built on so that the hall now has a large common room and each bedroom now has its own shower room, which many students regard as a real bonus. A further option is the Parkway Flats, which won an award for design in its day and this building now has a preservation order on it. This has meant that only a limited amount could be done to upgrade it and the surrounding area is important so parking is not permitted around the Flats. However, the Flats do have many extra facilities such as a special computer room, a small library and a self-service restaurant. The cost of breakfast, lunch and dinner is covered in the fees for this hall so it does look a bit more expensive. The last residence we can offer you is Temple Rise, which again is slightly more expensive than other Halls as the rooms are larger. This has got very lovely views across to the coast and this more than compensates for the fact that bathrooms here are shared between six students. However, the Hall has domestic staff who clean the rooms once a week so this is perhaps an attractive option for the messier amongst you.


Which features are available at the following halls of residence?
1. Brown Hall
A. parking spaces
B. modern building
C. cleaning included
D. private showers
E. all meals included
F. single sex
G. sports facilities
2. Blake Residence
A. single sex
B. private showers
C. cleaning included
D. sports facilities
E. all meals included
F. parking spaces
G. modern building
3. Queens Building
A. all meals included
B. parking spaces
C. single sex
D. private showers
E. modern building
F. cleaning included
G. sports facilities
4. Parkway Flats
A. all meals included
B. single sex
C. sports facilities
D. cleaning included
E. parking spaces
F. modern building
G. private showers
5. Temple Rise
A. sports facilities
B. modern building
C. private showers
D. all meals included
E. cleaning included
F. parking spaces
G. single sex
Total: 44 page(s)
Score: 0/10
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