IELTS Listening: Practice for multiple choice questions

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Most candidates say that they find the multiple choice question tasks harder than the other listening tasks. This is because you have a 75% chance of being wrong. Of course, if you are given 5 choices, your chance of being correct is lowered to only 20%!

The IELTS multiple choice question tasks require you to listen to a passage of spoken English, often a conversation between two people, or a lecture or talk, and make a choice between a number of possible given answer choices. The choices for answers to a multiple choice question are either directly or indirectly supported (correct), directly or indirectly contradicted (incorrect), or not mentioned at all (incorrect).

When you practice multiple choice question tasks, do not be satisfied with simple finding the correct answer. Decide if the other incorrect choices are either contradicted or not mentioned. Of course, in the actual test you only have to find the one correct answer, but further practice will help you understand why certain choices cannot be correct. Therefore, carefully examine the 3 (or more) given choices to see how multiple choice questions are constructed. In this way, you get more value out of the practice task.

Note that although there is only one correct solution to a multiple choice question, it is possible that all or even none of the given choices to a multiple choice question may be correct.

First, look at the ways in which answer choices may be incorrect:
1. There is often at least one given answer choice that is neither sensible nor logical, and, therefore, cannot be correct.
2. There may be given answer choices that are contradicted in the passage.
A choice may either be
    Directly contradicted – clearly and directly opposite in meaning to what is heard
    Or indirectly contradicted – what is heard leads you to conclude that the choice is incorrect
    Or not exactly what is stated – almost, but not quite, what the speaker says.
3. There may be given answer choices that are not mentioned in the passage. (Note that some answers might not be mentioned in the passage and may also lack logic or sense.)

Next, look at the ways in which answer choices many be correct:
1. A given answer choice may be directly supported by what is stated in the passage.
2. A given answer choice may be indirectly supported by what is stated in the passage, that is, what is heard leads you to conclude that the choice is the correct answer.

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