Top 11 IELTS Listening Exam Question Types

IELTS Listening Question Types

There is no difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Listening tests. In both tests, a total of 40 questions need to be answered in a duration of 30 minutes. Different recordings from monologues to conversations will be played only once and candidates have to write the answers on the given answer sheet in the paper-based test (PBT) and type in case of the computer-based test (CBT).

Following are the major types of questions that are asked in the real listening exam whether it is taken by British Council or IDP:

Multiple Choice Questions

In multiple-choice questions, which are generally considered the most difficult by candidates, there is a set of options given against each question. The easiest method to crack is to go through the MCQ section in the time given to review the previous section, and then highlight key information so that when the recording plays candidate can use the elimination method to locate the correct option.

Listening question type mcq
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8

Short Answers

As evident from the name, a candidate just has to listen to the information and write short answers to the asked questions. It is generally two to three words and sometimes you have to write numbers as well.


In this type of question, a candidate has to listen to the conversation, usually between two people, and then match the question items with a list of options.

Listening question type matching
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8



It is the second most challenging question type after multiple-choice questions. There would be a map of a park, building, or an area where there would be some constructions or areas labeled and some need to be labeled. The candidates have to listen to the played audio and choose the correct option against the asked question.

Listening question type map
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


It is quite similar to the Map questions. The diagram could be an instrument, a scientific experiment, or a process. The candidate has to label the missing fields on the diagram.

Listening question type diagram
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 9


The key to solving these questions is to keep instructions in mind while writing answers i.e. “No more than three words”. If you even write an extra article to support the answer and it exceeds the said words limit then it would be marked wrong.


It is the easiest form of completion questions, as mostly name, number, address, price is to be written.

Listening question type form
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


In table completion questions, candidates have to fill in missing information asked in different columns and rows.

Listening question type table
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


It is basically a gap-fill activity, where you have to listen to the audio and fill in the gaps about a certain topic.

Listening question type note
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


In this question type, a summary about a topic would be given with missing areas to be filled by candidates after listening to the audio recording.

Listening question type summary
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


Flowchart basically shows the steps of the solution of a problem from start to end. There would be some steps missing that the candidate needs to write after listening to the recording.

Listening question type flow chart
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8


You have to complete a missing word or multiple words at the start, end, or center of the sentence.

Listening question type sentences
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Book 8

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