Listening Test Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Short Answer Questions

Question 26-30 on this practice test are short answer questions. First try the practice activities which will prepare you for the listening questions.

​If you missed any of the previous listening test sections, follow the links below to complete them.

Listening Test Section 1.1
Listening Test Section 1.2
Listening Test Section 2.1
Listening Test Section 2.2
Listening Test Section 3.1


Practice Exercise 1| Question Words

​To answer a question correctly, you must understand the meaning of the question word. Match the question words with the meanings.
How   ·  Whose   ·  Who   ·  Why   ·  Which   ·  When   ·  Where  
Click or touch a word above
1. Asking about a person
2. Asking about possession (the owner of something)
3. Asking about time
4. Asking about place
5. Asking about choice
6. Asking for a reason
7. Asking about the quality of something


Practice Exercise 2 | Identify Key Words

Before you listen, you will have a little time to prepare yourself. You should use this time to read the questions and underline the key words in each question. Key words are the words that express the meaning of the question. 
An Example

What are the key words in this question (open to view):

When should you hand in your essay?

The key words are:

When should you hand in your essay?

When – tells us to listen for a time
hand in – this is the action we must listen for
essay – clarifies what we are listening for (the thing which is handed in)

The words that are not underlined are less important but they are still needed so the grammar of the question is correct. ​

Underlining the key words is useful for two reasons.

  1. It focuses you on what you must listen for before you hear the recording. Thinking of synonyms for the key words is also very useful preparation. 
  2. As you listen you can easily refer back to the questions without having to read the whole question again.

Identify the Key Words in the questions below

​Why is it important to speak at a normal speed?

Why is it important to speak at a normal speed

How does it sound if you speak very slowly? 

How does it sound if you speak very slowly

What impact does using discourse markers have on your speaking?

What impact does using discourse markers have on your speaking

How often should we practice new vocabulary?​

How often should we practice new vocabulary

​What technique should you use to improve your reading skills?

What technique should you use to improve your reading skills? 


Questions 26 – 30

Now it’s time to listen to the audio and answer the questions. Remember to think about the question words and the key words to prepare you for the answers as you listen.

Listening Practice 3.2.mp3
File Size: 1980 kb
File Type: mp3

Download File


Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

26. Why is it important to speak at a normal speed?
27. How does it sound if you speak very slowly?
28. What impact does using discourse markers have on your speaking?
29. How often should we practice new vocabulary?
30. What technique should you use to improve your reading skills?

If you got some answers wrong, read the answer guide below.


Answer Guide

​26

‘I would suggest to you both to try and remain calm and speak at a normal pace to avoid misunderstanding.’

We can see that ‘pace’ is used as a synonym of ‘speed’.

27

​‘But obviously, don’t speak too slowly or yes, you’re right, it will sound unnatural.’

We can match the key words ‘speak’ and ‘slowly’ to prepare us for this answer.

28

‘They’re called discourse markers and they improve your communication by improving your fluency.’

Notice that typically you can use the same word forms in the answer as you hear in the recording, however in this case we need to adjust the grammar to suit the question: improve(s) (your) fluency

29

​‘Well, again, learn new words in sentences. Try and use them very frequently so they become normal for you and you remember them.’

The student asks about vocabulary, so this is the sign that the answer is coming. The lecturer paraphrases ‘new vocabulary’ as ‘new words’.

30

​‘The method of skimming and scanning helps you to get a feel for the text and locate details quickly and efficiently.’

​Note here that ‘method’ and ‘technique’ are synonyms.


View the complete script below while listening again to the audio. Write down and repeat new vocabulary and phrases to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.

The complete Listening Script

Lecturer:
Now, I want to go back and think about how to improve your English communication skills. This will help you not just with the IELTS test, but also with living and studying in an English speaking country.

Maggie:
Ok great, I memorize lots of vocabulary and study English grammar all the time but sometimes I feel like my communication is not very good.

Lecturer:
Yes, well, there is more to communication than that but you are on the right path.

Chris:
I sometimes find that people have trouble understanding me, even though I use lots of high level words and complex grammar.

Lecturer:
Native speakers sometimes find it hard to understand non-native speakers due to the speed of the non-native speaker’s speech. Now, you probably don’t realize, but when you are nervous and trying to express yourself, your speech will naturally speed up. This makes it hard to understand and increases the frequency of mistakes that you make. I would suggest to you both to try and remain calm and speak at a normal pace to avoid misunderstanding. Speaking slowly will give you more time to choose the appropriate words and structures and to communicate them clearly.

Chris:
I understand what you’re saying but people will laugh at us if we speak slowly.

Lecturer:
Well, I think most people appreciate a thought out and intelligent response to a rushed and poorly pronounced response. But obviously, don’t speak too slowly or yes, you’re right, it will sound unnatural.

Maggie:
My English teacher last year suggested we use some fixed phrases to make our speaking sound more natural. You know, kind of like the phrases that native speakers use when they need time to think about what they want to say.

Lecturer:
Go on…

Maggie:
Things like, ‘well let me see’ and ‘hmm, let me think for a moment’ or ‘I see what you mean but I’m not sure myself…’

Lecturer:
Ok great. Yeah, those kinds of things are really useful. They’re called discourse markers and they improve your communication by improving your fluency.
 
Learning set phrases in which words always appear in a certain way can really boost your communication. Some studies show that the memory stores most language as set phrases rather than as grammatical rules or individual elements. Based on this, it makes sense to learn as many set phrases like verb patterns and collocations as possible.

Chris:
I feel like I have a bad memory and even though I study new vocabulary, I often forget it. What do you suggest?

Lecturer:
Good question. Well, again, learn new words in sentences. Try and use them very frequently so they become normal for you and you remember them. Try and take time every day to review your vocabulary book. Unfortunately many people try and learn new words by heart without using them in context and so when they do use them, they often do so incorrectly.

Maggie:
I have a question – it’s not really related to improving our communication though..

Lecturer:
That’s no problem, what’s your question.

Maggie:
Well I often feel like my reading skills are not good enough. I understand a lot of words but I struggle, particularly on reading tests, or when I have to read something quickly to find an answer. What should I do?

Lecturer:
You need to learn to quickly skim over a text, getting an understanding of its overall meaning and the focus of each paragraph. Don’t read every word, just read enough to understand what it’s about. After that, in order to find details, you can scan for specific things such as number, names, problems, reasons or any other type of detail. Skimming first will let you quickly go back and find answers as you will know where to locate them in the text. The method of skimming and scanning helps you to get a feel for the text and locate details quickly and efficiently.