Top Tips for IELTS

Numbers and addresses and dates listening

The focus of this lesson is on avoiding “silly” mistakes in part 1 listening. If you require a band score 7 or above, you should really aim to get 10 out of 10 here – as the questions only get harder. However, it can be surprisingly easy to make mistakes in this part if you are unprepared.

To help you out, I describe some of more problems and explain how to do with numbers addresses and dates listening  – the questions everyone should get right. There is a full part one listening practice at the end.

Telephone numbers

There are one or two points to consider when you are listening to a telephone number in English.

  • 0 is pronounced “oh” and you are most unlikely to hear “zero”
  • if there is a double number, we say “double 7”
  • we don’t say the numbers one by one, rather we read them in groups of 2 or 3. So 13554684616 would be  said “13-double 5 – 468-46-16”


House numbers

When you are listening for an address, you should expect a number and a street name. Typically, the number comes before the name of the street, for example

13, Fairfax Street

Types of different roads

If you have to write down the name of a road, the name will either be spelled out for you or be a common English word that you should be able to spell, eg

34, Bishop Street


48, Ormondroyd Street, that’s O-R-M-O-N-D-R-O-Y-D

You should also make certain that you can spell the different words that we use for roads, these are:

  • Road
  • Lane
  • Street
  • Avenue
You should also be prepared to write down letters and numbers for the postcode (what Americans call ZIP code). In the British system, these come at the end of addresses and combine a series of letters and numbers, eg
14, Fairhill Road

The spelling of names

If you see you need to write out a name, you can expect that the family name will be spelled out letter by letter. This can sometimes cause problems for candidates (even high-level ones) who cannot automatically recognise the names of the letters in English – perhaps because they missed out on learning English at the very elementary level and their sounds do not match their names. The ones which most frequently cause trouble are:

  • a as in say
  • e as in teeth
  • i as in eye
  • x as in ex-wife
  • y as in why


There are a number of different ways in which say and write down dates. The most common system is:

“the 25th of October ” – speaking

“25 October/25th October” – writing

If you have to write down a date and there is a word limit of one word/two words, you should not write down “the” and “of”. It does not matter if you put the month before the date.

A common trap

Quite often you will hear more than date/time/number and the one you need is not the first one you hear. To make it harder, sometimes the speaker gives one piece of information and then goes back and corrects it. In this case, make sure you write down the second correct version.

Predict the type of answer

Part of the skill in this exercise is predicting what type of answer you are listening for.  In this example, you should see that 3 requires a date, 5 the spelling of a name, 6 the spelling of an address, 7 a telephone number and 10 a longer number for a credit card.

  1. Type of van required   _____________
  2. Preferred make of van ______________
  3. Date of collection ________________
  4. Length of hire ________________
  5. Name: Justin  ________________
  6. Address  ________________  St, Toronto
  7. Telephone number:   _________________
  8. Driving convictions: ________________
  9. Identification to be provided:  _____________
  10. Card number: 10. ______________________

The practice

While you can do this online, I strongly suggest you download the question sheet as part of the skill here is making notes as you listen.

Get the next key IELTS listening skill lesson


Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

Home page

Speaking Guide

Writing Guide

Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

Reading guide

Listening guide

IELTS vocabulary

IELTS grammar

Keep up with me on Facebook - all the updates and even more advice there


Or just get all my free lessons by email

Subscribe to DC IELTS by Email

70 Responses to Numbers and addresses and dates listening

  1. Russell September 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Simon,

    Your blog really helps a lot to me. Studying with it everyday becomes a routine of mine. However, there seems to be 2 mistakes on today’s update. They are as follows:
    1. In the 3rd point of section “Telephone numbers”, the telephone number is 13554684616. It should be said “13-double 5 – 468-46-16″, not “13-double 5 – 468-46-17”
    2. In the section “Predict the type of answer”, question 5 is the one asking for the spelling of a name, not question 4.

    Best regards.

    • Russell September 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

      Mr. Cole,
      I am awfully sorry to call you as Simon. Please forgive my silly mistake.

      You and Simon are the two teachers whom I extremely respect. Actually I got to know his blog by your recommendation. Recently, I switched to browse blogs of you two at the same time since your helps are really effective to improve my English learning. I hope my mistake would not disturb you very much. I promise I will double check my words before I post them. I understand calling people with a wrong name is undoubtedly a serious fault.

      Once again, I am sorry for what I have done.

      Yours sincerely,

    • Dominic Cole September 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Whoops. Thanks for that. I’ll go back and correct the numbers. I went wrong with the phone number because it’s a minor variation of my own mobile number! (And Simon is someone else entirely – I quite like his blog though I haven’t checked in in a while.

      • rohy February 10, 2016 at 6:00 am #

        Hi cole
        your website is great .thanks for helping student with great tips .

    • prasad February 10, 2012 at 3:48 am #

      hai sir i need listening partice tests

    • A7med August 6, 2014 at 9:22 am #


      its wonderful!!

  2. lana.huynh September 21, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Hi Sir,

    Thanks for your lesson. I am very fond of your Blog.

    How can I download file for practice listening many times without online, sir?

    • Dominic Cole September 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Not sure you can. I was thinking of a podcast site but for now that is just one thing too much – I’m too busy as it is. Though I will look into it again.

  3. lalaland November 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    hi sir dominic, i was wondering with regards to the listening test if we should write our answers in all caps? is it allowed in the ielts test?

  4. nazish November 23, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    wanted to share something i did and was helpful.

    while listening long digits like a credit card no. they say oh = zero , instead of writing zero just use a dot ( . ) , this will help u save some time to listen the latter numbers easily.

    but remember that . = zero , and don’t forget to write zero in your answer sheet.

    • Dominic Cole November 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      Interesting idea. But a little dangerous if you don’t see the dot!!

  5. Md. Kamal Hossain November 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I am preparing myself IELTS. I look more partner to make a group for discussion. Welcome to 0088 01711241426. This is my cell no. Thank you all.

    Engr. Kamal

    • Kavita January 6, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      Hey even I am preparing for the Exam . It can be a gr8 help for both of us……..

      • Kk July 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

        Hi friends

        I am appearing ielts test for exam in aug’13.

        Lets make a group for the discussion.

  6. Garry January 25, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Thanks for all the resources here, as an IELTS teacher in China this kind of quality is hard to obtain.

  7. Jennifer June 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Sorry I want to ask while I was listening to some listening practice I found that there were also spaces after two numbers for post code
    Moreover, how can I know that if there are spaces after two numbers or three numbers for any telephone number or post code?

    Thx for your blog
    Countless thx from Hong Kong

    • Dominic Cole July 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Sorry I’m not quite sure I understand the question. If you asking how you can know how many numbers you need tow rite down, I’m sorry I can’t help you really – you just need to be prepared to write down what you here. But it is a good question as that is one of those issues/problems you need to be aware of as you are listening.

  8. Ankit June 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    HI Sir,
    is there any negative marking in IELTS exam ????

    • Dominic Cole July 5, 2012 at 4:36 am #

      No. In fact it does help to learn to guess well.

  9. Zulfiqur Rahman June 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Hey, I’m feel happy about your blog. I’m preparing to attend IELTS exam. Please add more IELTS tips/information. It will be more helpful for us. How can I improve my English fluency? At this moment I have no group or partner. Mail me: (rahman dot zulfiqur at gmail dot com)

  10. Zulfiqur Rahman June 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Hey, I feel happy about your blog. I’m preparing to attend IELTS exam. Please add more IELTS tips/information. It will be more helpful for us. How can I improve my English fluency? At this moment I have no group or partner. Mail me: (rahman dot zulfiqur at gmail dot com)

  11. Zulu Rahman June 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Hey, I like your blog. I am preparing for IELTS exam. How can I improve my English fluency as well as IELTS score? At this moment I am alone, I have no group or partner. Could you help me to engaged in a group? My email is: rahman dot zulfiqur at gmail dot com

    All the Best !!

  12. soomro June 14, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Mr. Cole

    Thank you very much for helping for ielts for every one.

    I wonder if you have printed material ( Hard copy ) of all the material on your web site for ielts preparation so I can buy, as I can not read on internet due to my vision problems.

    Thank you and kind regards

    Hoping to hear you soon


  13. Arshad June 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    where is audio file?

  14. Shivani June 25, 2012 at 12:00 am #


    I was trying to practice listening. However, i can not listen to the tape. Kindly let me know how to run the audio. Thanks

  15. Shiva Sahni June 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi David,
    I am unable to listen to the practice tests. Kindly help me get the right settings. Thanks

  16. r.tamayao July 5, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    hi can we use all caps for the listening part? and i also noticed, the address, 14 Caste Street. but in the answer sheet, there is only 14 Castle indicated. isn’t that supposed to be the correct answer, 14 Castle Street.

    • Dominic Cole July 6, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      Caps will do fine. I’ve fixed the question sheet on the post to match the download – thanks for letting me know.

  17. MEHBOOB ALAM July 14, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    hahahahahahahaha this is a very good website you touched the heart all the mistake and solution you mentioned are very common. these tips encourage me again when i had losted my tast in study.i think these tips will be more effectable for my test.your great hard work will be more usefull for students.may God blesssssssssssss on you i salute you with best ragards

  18. aseel August 9, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    thank you very much sir
    i just want to ask if the question was about the date of the hiring for example i just say the date without the name of the day like Friday.
    another thing i wonder if you have another listening exercises ?
    thank you

  19. Parveen SUKHIJA August 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm #


    I am a regular user of ur blog nd I find it one of the best ielts
    Resource. I use ur blog almost everyday in my class to update my students with all the latest updates given by you just like today you updated with Olympics medal.
    Great job …. Keep it up

    And thanks a lot

  20. Jana August 24, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    Hi Dominic,

    my problem is that sometimes I am not sure what to write as an answer. For example, the question 4, the answer is 1 week but I wrote 7 days. In fact, it is completely same but would it be considered as a correct answer by the examiner who has in his paper 1 week?

    Thank you for the answer.

  21. DB.L October 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Ha, I found I was being idiot. Dont care about it Sorry

  22. rena October 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Mr. Cole,

    Thank You for helping me out with IELTS preparation. This seems to be more of a fun way to prepare for IELTS and i find your website very interesting. Thanks for making it more informative. Looking forward to learn more from it…:)

    • Anonymous October 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      Yeah there is a lot of work to do with. its good practice.

  23. Mask October 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Dominic, thank you sooo much for your helpful website! I just got my results, 8 overall and 9 in reading and listening…i owe you!

  24. jon December 29, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    hiiiiiii i try the quzzi i take 7 from 10 its ok
    i fell its very bad

  25. Salamat March 20, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Hi Dominc,

    For those candidates who had no experience with such Numbers and

    Adresses, probably they find some difficulties in this part. One thing that I

    myself found regarding this section is what I call it ” Fading”., and that is

    going away quickly from our temporary memory so when we want to write it

    down on the paper we fail. That probably in our native language words are

    more likely to remain more in our memories than English language. Then I think one tip that would be useful here to repeat what we listen then jot down on the paper. This prevents that fading phenomena, besides we feel confident that we don’t lose the previous part. I think this technique is useful in part one.

    • Dominic Cole March 21, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      This is a really great comment. You are spot on when you say much of the skill of listening is not the “listening” part, but getting the information down on paper.I used to have a video on Youtube (it may still be there – looking rather old now I guess) that tried to make just this point. One answer as you suggest is to make notes – this is sometimes easier said than done in an exam. I will try and post on this in the near future.

  26. C C April 8, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Hi Dominic,
    Thanks for your helpful page. I have noticed however that in the answers for a practice test they have spaces in the postcodes or telephone numbers. e.g. instead of WS62YH it’s WS6 2YH. I’m wondering if this matters?

  27. mahdi April 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Dear Sir,
    your blog is great.
    I wold be grateful if you could send us more listening.

  28. preet May 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm #


    i just want to confirm what is right way to write down the date :

    July 25 or 25 July

    another how to write down the time…

    can some one reply me asap becos i m goin to appear for my ilets on this staurday 🙂

  29. Rashid Iqbal July 29, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    Very much helpful

  30. SAMBHAV August 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    I am encountering the problem in using articles for part 1 & 2 of listening test. Could you please help on this?

  31. rabia September 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    please suggest me advice regarding reading n writing ths is the 4 time am giving ielts n cant get my desire band

  32. Nouf December 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    This is good , when i read and understand it , i collect good marker in listining assesment that well for me , now i just practise , practise and practise , think you very mutch ^^

  33. selvam January 17, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    hi Dc,

    You are doing fantastic job.this site very useful to us.

  34. Maj February 11, 2014 at 6:07 am #


    To SALAMAT, thanks for that genius tip! Actually i do too struggle with that fading phenomena and it made me say, that is absolutely right! Why not! To repeat the words helps the brain retain that memory. Thanks a lot really… Maybe your a filipino because salamat in philippines means thanks…

    To dominic cole, your blogs were really helpful…. We were not just getting information from you, we are also allowed to post or comment based from our experiences that makes it realistic and easy to understand because comments here came from previous takers such as salamat.

    More power to your blog and everyone visiting your site.

  35. Simona March 14, 2014 at 8:02 pm #


    Thank you very much for all the tips! They are very helpful! I would recommend your website to everyone who needs to get a high score!
    Good job!


  36. Majd April 19, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Dear Dominic
    Thanks you very much for your great effort in this blog. I really enjoyed the lesson and gained some helpful tips! Keep it up!

  37. khaluf June 1, 2014 at 4:28 am #

    i have some mistakes on the name which i write D aa I DO NOT WHY and i thought he has traffic fine.

  38. liza21 July 22, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Hi Sir Dominic! I just want to ask if I can download the audio because I’m hab=ving a hard time to download it..Thanks for your help

  39. binh.sgh July 27, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    Hi Mr. Cole,

    My confusion is that how can I distinguish the difference between number 0 and letter O when they are both pronounced as /ou:/?
    For example: OH01537RW (flight number)

    Will the number 0 be pronounced as zero in the audio? :-*


  40. ghada August 27, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    I really liked this , and i got it all right but 1 question =D , it’s amazing , thank you so much for the effort brought on the table ..

  41. Vy Vy September 25, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Hi Dominic,

    I am a high school student who have been working on your site for months. I have read and applied all the lessons as well as the tips you gave us. In addition, I listen to BBC learning English Words in the news, CNN Student news, ABC Behind the news EVERY DAY. I rehear and find out what type of my mistake is after taking a listening test.

    My current score for an Ielts test ranges from 28 to 34 up to the level of the tests. So far, there has been no progress which makes me kinda discouraging.

    I would appreciate so much if you could give me some advice on how to overcome this ‘tangible’ difficulty to improve my performance in the test. Actually, I set a rather high score for the Ielts exam.

    i am looking forward to your response.

    Vy from Vietnam.

  42. Nandita March 14, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    I loved the listening test. Very precise.

  43. Saqib Khan March 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    Very informative website about IELTS preparation. Thanks

  44. hosein July 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    hi master
    thanks a lot for your facilities in this site. i using from its exercise

  45. Priya August 24, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Sir Dominic,
    I have a small doubt regarding telephone numbers. Does it really matters if we don’t leave correct spaces as said according to the audio for telephone numbers?

    • Dominic Cole September 2, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      No you don’t need to leave spaces as you write – that is simply as you are likely to hear it.

  46. Amit September 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Great help! Many Thanks by my heart’s content!!!

    Just one small clarification required where I’m confused a bit:

    The name of the person (involved in practice test discussion) is mentioned as BEEBOR in the answer sheet. However even after listening to the audio multiple times, it sounds to me as PEEPOR not BEEBOR.

    Could you please listen to it once and confirm the correct name.

    Many Thanks.

    • Dominic Cole September 11, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

      It’s Bieber – a Canadian friend of mine

  47. yankee May 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Mr.Cole

    I would like to thank you so much for the fantastic ielts tips and the resources which is very useful for my preparation.

  48. Anonymous July 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    Hello Cole,

    Gone through the suggestions and felt extremely good.

    I need a bunch of Practice papers with answers
    or else suggest me a book for practic

  49. Sravan.Chinimilli July 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    its good.need a listening practice book

  50. Grace Wang September 20, 2016 at 4:11 am #

    Hi Sir Dominic,

    If I get a band score 7.5+ in listening in next month’s eaxm, plz let me send u a postcard from China as a thx gift!

    • Dominic Cole September 20, 2016 at 6:50 am #

      Best of luck. let me know how it goes.

      If you do get your score the best thing you could do is let me know what worked for you. I’m interested in that and like to show other candidates ideas that have worked. Different things work for different people after all.

      My contact details are at the bottom of the page.

  51. banko November 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    Hello Dominic,

    thanks for the posts you put here.

    I have a question regarding IELTS listenig family name spelling.

    when we hear a family name is spelling out, how should we right it on the answer sheet? for example the tape says Smith. So should I write: Smith or S-M-I-T-H?

    in cambridge ielts book both type written in the answer sections at the end of the book, once first method and three pages after that, in another test answers, it is written as method 2.
    so, either way is correct?

  52. Ngan April 17, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    I wonder if it is necessary to have spaces between numbers (234-2345-…)? I have written 2342345, is that ok?

Leave a Reply