Top Tips for IELTS

Multiple choice IELTS listening

This lesson contains a multiple choice IELTS listening. What I suggest you do is listen first and then read the tutorial, if you make any mistakes. This form of listening is really part 2 – it’s a tour guide explaining about a trip – and in part 2 you should be aiming for 100%. The listening tasks get harder as you go on.

Be careful because I’ve set you several exam style traps.

The questions

The multiple choice IELTS listening

How did you do? The answers

See the answers

1 B

2 C

3 A

4 C


Here are some notes multiple choice questions and some tips on avoiding any traps:

The problems with multiple choice question

A little as in the reading, multiple choice can be surprisingly tricky. Here are a few pointers:

  1. You are likely to hear language from all 3 variations: don’t stop listening just because you’ve heard language from one variation. There may be a better answer soon
  2. Very frequently the answers come through listening for synonyms: so don’t just listen for words, listen for the meanings of words
  3. Before you listen focus on the stem of the question, not the variations. If you look at the variations too much, you can get confused.
  4. Pay attention to discourse language like “Well” “However” etc. Words like this can show you there’s a change in meaning coming up.
  5. Pay very close attention to the exact wording of the question. It’s a not just a listening task, but a listening AND reading task.


Question 1:

variant A: You hear the word attractions, but what does it refer to? Does it make Chatsworth special in comparison with Longleat? Did you hear “beside” or “besides”?

variant B: you need to be able to listen for synonyms and contextual meaning. You may not hear the word countryside. What words do you hear that mean much the same. Also, listen for “What sets it apart”. What is the meaning there?

variant C: focus on the question. You will hear about the garden, but is that what makes it special in comparison with other stately homes? And the word “features”, how is it used in the listening?

Question 2

variant A: Which house is the Elizabethan masterpiece?

variant B: How much of Chatsworth belongs to the late 17th century?

variant C: What possible different styles to you hear discussed? Does the guide use the words “different” and “styles”?

Question 3

variant A: Do you know what the word “facade” means? If not, you can always eliminate the wrong answers first and then come back to this one. Does this word look like any other word you know?

variant B: Who does the guide recommend this for? Did you hear any other words or phrases meaning “recommend”?

variant C: Who voted it the best water feature? Is the best water feature in Britain necessarily the highlight of the tour?

Question 4

variant A: Someone in her family was notorious, but was it the Duchess or one of her sisters?

variant B:Everyone has heard of her, so does that make her famous or notorious? Did she own Chatsworth?

variant C:”You probably haven’t heard her name”: does this mean she can’t be notorious? What did she do in her life?

variant D: 4 marriages may be shocking to some but do we that it was shocking for her contemporaries?

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50 Responses to Multiple choice IELTS listening

  1. Dominic Cole December 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm #


    • Caijai January 7, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      Hello Dominic! 🙂 Fist of all I wanna thank you, this is a big help for me. Your lecture was very good! Very brilliant! but I cannot hear clearly the recording 🙁 Find IELTS really hard 🙁 I made mistakes a lot from my previous exercises. Your website really helped but I just don’t know how would I help myself. 🙁

  2. Jonny December 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Excellent. Thank you. Must listen again for beside and besides

  3. chips June 1, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    I love your website. I’m not native speaker, I’m studying English at university for my future bachelor. Your website is so great and useful. Thank you very much :X:X:X

  4. AscariKZ1 July 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Апупеть не встать! Пиндец сложные задания…

    Whal level of English should a candidates have? Advanced or Intermediate will be enough?

    • Dominic Cole July 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      Sorry. No Russian spoken here. It’s hard to answer your question as IELTS simply tests your level and it is an exam for all levels. If you are at a “good” advanced level, you should expect to get 7.0 or above typically. Though that depends on the right sort of preparation. Intermediate is a huge level and intermediate learners vary greatly – so I cannot really answer you there.

      My best advice to test your level is to try one of the Cambridge listening and reading tests. With my band score calculator you can then see what IELTS level you are at. Normally, the speaking and writing levels should be at the same approximate level as your listening and speaking. Though this depends too on the amount of “practice” you get speaking and writing English. For example, many Chinese students do well in reading and listening but worse in speaking because they get very little opportunity to speak English.

      • Liuba October 10, 2014 at 9:45 am #

        Hi Dominic,
        what about BAND SCORE CALCULATOR? it shows me Error 404 – Page not found! Is it possible to fix?
        thank you!

        I did the exercise above :((( I feel FRUSTRATED.. you wrote to aim 100% and I got 0 :((( what I have to do?
        I couldn’t concentrate because it was so fast!!!
        How can I improve? more I fail more I feel anxiety. is there a solution? please and thank you.

  5. Nadia Utrera August 3, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    Hi,thanks for the website!!!!!!I I’m going to take the IELTS TEST soon and i would like to practice more reading and listening exercises.Thank you so much.xoxoxox

    • Anonymous December 9, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      where are the answers given?

      • Dominic Cole December 9, 2011 at 8:50 am #

        You’ll find them as the first comment by me. I’ll change it so they are easier to find.

  6. gryl August 10, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Hmm, too bad I select ‘A’ for question 4, your right I should listen carefully and not let my biases and preconceived notions be the answer. I really thought being associated with Hitler would be the most unpopular and disgusting thing.

    By the way, I love your website great help!

  7. Jo August 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Dear Dominic:
    Could you please provide me with the tapescript? This prctice is a bit difficult for me, and there are some sentences that I am not quite sure of….

    • Dominic Cole August 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Will do. It may take a little time as I’m off on my travels, but I’ll make it a priority.

      • Jadoon June 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        Could you please upload its tape-script?

  8. ann September 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    hi sir , I am preparing for an IELTS exam.but my problem is dealing with there any easy way to study grammar?

    • Dominic Cole September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Sadly no. There is no real short cut here. What I would focus on though is using the grammar rather than learning rules or doing lots of exercises. Mostly for IELTS what you need is the ability to communicate well but it’s quite common for people to “know” the grammar but not be able to use it. So for example if you are learning “if”, try making your sentences about yourself using “if” eg

      if I pass IELTS, I will be able to go to study in Australia

      The other tip is to make a list of your own grammar problems. Most people make their own mistakes. If you know what mistakes you make most, then you have a chance of correcting them. To be able to do this though you need either a teacher or someone with good quality English to help you.

  9. Anonymous October 30, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    1.A 2. C 3. C 4.A

  10. naveen chaudhary June 10, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    hi sir,Your site really a grade 1 site to practice the IELTS .
    As I was very confused in Writing , I have followed your guidelines and write an essay . if possible, please give comments if i am writing according to ur guidelines

    Some people believe that teenagers should do unpaid voluntary work in their free time for community. To what extent you agree or disagree?

    There is no question that the contribution of teenagers is essential for the development of today’s contemporary society. One modern concern is that they should involve more in unpaid work for community to support government to save funds. This is undoubtedly a prominent approach, however I believe that there are a number of other potential factors too which substantially related with this issue and in this essay I will examine them.

    As our surrounding culture helps to generate ideas, work for welfare organizations can be beneficial for young generation in terms of their self -development and awareness in early age. Indeed, these attributes prepare them to face challenges in social and business fronts relatively and also equip them to resolve various problems in different scenarios. Moreover, it is the better source of interaction, which helps to develop team skills and to exchange notions with people from different cultures. This could have prosperous results for them in future to make connections.

    Despite these reasons, intention of youngsters, work-cultural and ongoing lifestyles are other related aspects that cannot be ignored. The influence of these can be seen by how modern teenagers are gradually involving in the part-time work for money and spend their free time in health and sports related activities to become self-dependent and further develop their existing skills respectively. Likewise, as we all are living in technological world, juvenile tend to spend their time alone on computers. Ultimately, this trend of modern world distracts their mind from unpaid work.

    To recapitulate, there is no doubt that anything teenagers contribute to community is priceless, in fact beneficial for both. However I believe that it is wise to take into account how to attract and persuade them to come forward.

  11. biny July 6, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    dear sir, i can’t hear the sound of listening section

    • Dominic Cole July 6, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you for letting me know me know. It should be fixed now. I am in the process of putting things right that aren’t working, so please let me know if you find anything else that is broken.

  12. Eva August 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    hello,I need a 6.5 scord to apply my university,so I must let my listening scord reach 7.But after I listened this page,I got an complete wrong answer,it’s very upset to me.My exam is becoming closely,so that’s why I worried about it. So,could you give me some advices? I can prepare for 3 weeks.I’m very appreciate if you can help me.Thank you very much! PS: I like your photo very much!haha…

    • Dominic Cole August 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      Okay there is little difference between 6.5and 7.0and you still have 3 weeks.The idea here is to practise your skills only.

  13. Bahr August 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    This is very good…
    Can i know where is the script for this ??? Pls provide it sir.

  14. salve September 2, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    thanks..i’m learning a lot from it..

  15. Chaka November 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Hello. I want to express my gratitude for your great help. For people, who cannot cover the Test Preparing books, your website is just awesome. Thanks. Good luck.

  16. Pablo May 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Dominic, I want to understand the whole speech. Could you share tapescripts related to this??

    Thanks in advance,
    Regards from Argentina 🙂

  17. Anonymous October 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm #


    I have seen few articles from your website recently. It is really valuable and helpful for people who are preparing for IELTS test. Can you post the transcript for this audio? It is a bit difficult for me to follow.

    Thank you

  18. nsreen November 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    thank you very much but i am looking for transcript for this practice but i don’t find it

  19. MOdes January 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Dear Dominic,

    Thank you for your helpful explanations. Would you please Upload the script, so that we can find our mistakes better.

    Kind Regards.

  20. Mohammad Akbar Javed February 26, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    I just visited this web site. It’s good. But If you don’t mind, I just want to make a suggestion. Try to improve the sound quality. 2ndly there should be at least 6 questions. and last one is that if there is a conversation then it should not be in single voice. And the last thing is it should be download able and print able.

    • Dominic Cole February 26, 2014 at 5:45 am #

      Will do. No – there is no magic about 6. Yes, but why make that comment here?

  21. Kevin.IELTS March 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Dominc,

    Thanks again, I did 3 of 4 right, I think the quality of voice is not so much good. But honestly, at the first time I couldn’t understand the whole recording, is it normal with some one who aims for getting band 7 in listening? Maybe my question is not so accurate and generally questioned , as you are highly experienced teacher and faced a lot of overseas students what do you think of all students who got band 7+ in terms of understanding native people when they talk with them?

    great thanks

  22. Sevinj April 6, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Sorry, the file not found

  23. Sevinj April 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    It is obviously explained. Thank you very much, Dominic Cole!

  24. Jadoon June 23, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Very helpful website. Could you please upload the script of this listening?
    Thank you

  25. asma July 6, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    i m not able to understand this articular question .can u give the script?so that i can read wat i m not listening correctly.just to be familiar

  26. taran ghuman August 24, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    thank u so much

  27. ranjeet September 3, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    Sir I have problem in multiple choice questions how it improve ????
    plz give me best idea bcoz tomorrow my Ielts exam

  28. Monica October 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Hi, Can you please explain ,How to download audio script ?

  29. Yeva January 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    Dear Dominic,

    Very thanks for the task explanation and samples. I have got a question. What technique is much suitable? Taking notes or just reading options and find the right answer while listening?

    • Dominic Cole September 12, 2015 at 6:55 am #

      The one that works for you!!

      This is not a silly answer. I have worked with many, many students and the reality is that some things work for some students and other things for other students. So my real advice is to experiment and see what works for you.

  30. Vishal September 22, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    Hi Dominic.

    Thank you so much for the details and guidance you are providing in these threads. I have gone through all your notes and they are extremely helpful and they are real tips. You are making candidates life much easier. Thanks a ton.

  31. User March 30, 2016 at 1:03 am #

    Thank you, It’s very helpful

  32. Egle Aparecida Paschoal September 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    Hi Mr Dominic!

    I should say that having found your site was an amazing experience to improve my English skills. Personally I have some problems with listening exercises, I hope I will overcome it! Thank you very much for all your help, for your time to teach us.

    Kind Regards,
    Egle from Brasil

  33. Dhaval October 1, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    Accent of audio was very different. I barely understood anything 🙁 . Generally I get around 35 in Cambridge. but this one just crushed my confidence 🙁

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