Short answer questions


In the IELTS Listening short answer questions, you will hear a monologue about everyday life or a social context e.g. a recruiter hiring for a particular job and, you will need to answer the questions by choosing the correct answers from the recording you hear.

Short answer question sample task

IELTS Listening short answer question sample task

Source: Official IELTS website www.


Before the recording

Read the question

Utilize the time before the recording to read the question carefully. Make a mental note of how many words can be used to answer the question as this can vary.

Example 1


Example 2


Example 3

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

For a question like this, you have a word limit and if you exceed the limit your answer will be marked incorrect even if your answer is correct.

Predict the answer

These questions come in groups read each question, and understand what is being asked. Once you have understood the questions try to predict the answers.

Example of questions

example of short answer questions

Source: Official IELTS website www.

For questions 11 & 12 you need to find the two factors that make social contact in a foreign country difficult.

Predicted answers –

11 cultural differences

12 Language differences.

For questions 13 & 14 you need to look out for community groups that the speaker cites as examples, one of which is theatre.

Predicted answers –

13 Dance

14 Music

For questions 15 & 16 you need to look for two places where information about community activities can be found

Predicted answers –

15 Online website

16 brochure

During the recording

Listen to the recording carefully

The recording will play only once so listen carefully to the recording to find the answer to the questions by selecting the correct answer option(s).

Identify the synonyms

Synonyms are used throughout the recording to convey the same meaning as the answer options. Identify the correct option by listening carefully for synonyms.

Look out for traps/distractors

A trap or a distractor is a word or a sentence that seems to be the correct answer to the questions at first but turns out to be the opposite in meaning upon listening carefully.

Example of a distractor

If you’re going to work in the UK you will probably be living in private accommodation, so it won’t be quite so easy to meet people.

private accommodation seems like one of the reasons for not being able to make social contact.

Correct answers

11 language

12 Customs

13 music

14 local history

15 libraries

16 town hall


You will hear an extract from a talk given to a group who are going to stay in the UK.
Good evening, and welcome to the British Council. My name is John Parker and I’ve
been asked to talk to you briefly about certain aspects of life in the UK before you
actually go there. So I’m going to talk first about the best ways of making social
contacts there. Now you might be wondering why it should be necessary. After all,
we meet people all the time. But when you’re living in a foreign country it can be
more difficult, not just because of the language, but because customs may be
If you’re going to work in the UK you will probably be living in private
accommodation, so it won’t be quite so easy to meet people. But there are still things
that you can do to help yourself. First of all, you can get involved in activities in your
local community, join a group of some kind. For example, you’ll probably find that
there are theatre groups who might be looking for actors, set designers and so on, or
if you play an instrument you could join music groups in your area. Or if you like the
idea of finding out about local history there’ll be a group for that too. These are just
examples. And the best places to get information about things like this are either the
town hall or the public library. Libraries in the UK perform quite a broad range of
functions nowadays – they’re not just confined to lending books, although that’s their
main role of course.

Source: Official IELTS website www.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *