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IELTS Listening: A Detailed Discussion on Form Filling Question

This is a very easy question comparing other question types IELTS Listening section , but there will be so many tricks that you will have to come across to answer this question. Usually in IELTS Listening Form Filling section, the answers will be in one or two words long with information like date, phone number, address etc. The information that you will hear for answering, will be in the same order as they appear in the question paper. Let's take a look at the example below from an actual IELTS Speaking test question:


IELTS Listening Form Filling Question example

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

The example above is an IELTS Listening Form Filling question. You are asked to fill each gap using one word and/or a number. This question usually appears in the first section of listening test. When you answer this question, you need to stay alert for some tricks that examiners use to test your listening skill. Many students throw away easy marks in this question only because of ignoring the probable traps by examiners.


If you really want to get a good score in IELTS Listening, you have to understand how examiners play tricks in section and also you need to know how you can overcome them. In this page we have discussed everything you need to know to boost your score in IELTS Listening Form Filling question. All are prepared for you. Happy reading.

Use the time before the audio clip starts

In IELTS Listening, you will get 30-45 seconds before you start hearing the clip. Use this time wisely. By this time, already you have the question paper in your hand. The form that you are going to fill is already with you. you can see where the blank spaces are. Looking at the location of the blank spaces in sentences, you can also predict what type(noun, adjective, verb, adverb etc.) of word you can expect.


By looking at the sentences, you should try to understand what you might need to fill the gaps. That means it can be a phone number, a credit card number, a business name, an address, a date etc. If you can spend a few seconds to build up these expectations before you start listening the recording, it will be very helpful for you to focus on the specific areas of the audio.


You need to do all these things very fast before you start hearing the recording. The faster you can do it, the better you start understanding when the listening begins. 

In IELTS, You Must remember your word limit

This is the most important point for IELTS Listening section. Many students ignore the instruction sentence and lose easy marks. You need to look at the instruction how many words you are allowed to write for each answer. You have to stay within the range of the word limit. If you exceed that limit, your answer will be considered wrong, even if you provide right information. Remember the following two paragraphs. You will need these in both IELTS Listening and Reading section:


For example, if you are instructed to write your answer in NOT MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER, that means your answer can be any of the following:

One word, one number, a word and a number.

Likewise, if it says write NOT MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER, your answer can be any of the following:

One word, one number, a word and number, two words, two words and a number (e.g. 31 Byron Street).

IELTS Listening Trap: Confusing Letters

This is the most tricky part in IELTS Listening section. The examiner may try to confuse you using the same final sounding letters, for example, B, C, D, E, G, P, T. These seven letters' final sounds are exactly same. You better practice these letters at home, and find the subtle differences among their pronunciation in your own way. It will give you a big help during listening.

Moreover there can be some terms, names, words or addresses that might be unfamiliar to you. Don't panic. If anything in IELTS listening is unfamiliar to you, they will spell it clearly. 

Familiarise yourself with numbers and accents 

This is very important tip for IELTS Listening. Remember, speakers can be from anywhere like Australia, New Zealand, USA, England, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa etc. Therefore, the speaker can use such an accent that you are not familiar with. You need to familiarise yourself with different accents to overcome this difficulty. 

You can bear some basic information in your mind regarding different numbers like a credit card number, telephone number etc. It will make your task easier in IELTS Listening exam. If you already know that a credit card number contains 16 digits, it will be quite easy for you when you see that there is a blank space after 12 digits of a credit card number. Because now you know that there will be exactly four more digits to fill the gap.

Some native speakers pronounce 0 as oh, they don't say zero. For example, in case of 01500 they might say "oh, one, five, double oh". Apart from this, there are some other numbers that contain almost same prolonged final voice. You can practice listening these numbers in different accents to save you from terrific confusion during IELTS Listening exam. Some of the confusing final voiced words are given below. Practice these:

13, and 30
14, and 40
15, and 50
16, and 60
17, and 70
18, and 80
19, and 90

Writing a date in IELTS Listening Test

Different countries may write the dates in different formats. You need to be aware of all of these formats for IELTS Listening exam preparation. For example, either '15 July 2019' or 'the fifteenth of July 2019' both are correct.

We mentioned many times how spelling is important for IELTS. Here in the Listening section, you need to stay alert for the spellings of all the days of a week, and all the months of a year etc. And also don't forget to use capital letter at the beginning of the days of a week and the name of a month. There are also some terms that you need to be aware of, for example, weekends for Saturday and Sunday; fortnight for a two-week period.

Different ways of writing an address

Different countries might have different address writing style. Remember, if there are letters in a postcode, you need to write down those letters as well in IELTS Listening test. For example, 

"House/Flat Number, Street Name
Town/City Name


as in:

"58 Crown Street

Dandenong North

VIC 3169"

This is how we write in Australia. 

In some other countries it might be like:

"House/Flat Number 

Street Name

Town/City Name"

There might have some other address formats in different English speaking countries. You better get a good grasp on this section for your confident IELTS preparation.

Don't expect that you will hear the same words that you see on the question paper. In IELTS, using synonyms and paraphrases is very common. In fact, the examiner uses it to create traps to test your skills both in listening and vocabulary. Therefore in IELTS Listening section, always stay alert for the probable synonyms or paraphrases that you are going to listen.

For example, if you see something is written on IELTS Listening question paper as "I'm planning to go on a trip on Sunday", you might listen the same thing as someone is saying "I'm planning for a tour this weekend". Here the examiner used Sunday and trip on the question paper instead of using weekend and tour that were used in the audio clip.

IELTS Listening: Final Word Trap 

IELTS examiners are smart people. They know how to trick you. For example, sometimes you might hear in the recording one information/statement at first, then the speaker change his/her decision and replace with something else, discarding the previous information/statement. And even sometimes it goes to third time as well discarding whatever stated in the second time. In this situation, you need to wait till the speaker's final statement. Otherwise, if you take the previous one which is already discarded, your answer is wrong. 

For example, the speaker might say:

"I am coming on Monday afternoon, though it's not exact afternoon, let's say it's evening. By the way, there might be a little delay of my flight,I will reach at your home by 10 pm, to be precise."

Here in this example above, if you write immediately after listening the word afternoon or evening, you are wrong, because both of the previous statements have been discarded. You will need to take the final time which is 10 pm. This is how IELTS examiners can try you putting into a confusing situation.

Take a look back if you need:

Basic information on IELTS Listening section

Review the other question types for IELTS Listening test:

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