So what is the problem with MCQ in the listening test? Well, the listening test itself is a real exercise in multi-tasking. Not only do you have to listen carefully but you also have to read the questions and write down the answers simultaneously. There is a lot to do. The main focus must be on listening as once this is gone then you cannot retrieve the information.

The main issue with MCQ is that there is a lot of information to digest before you start to listen and then you must carry this in your head while you listen with the result that it can all become very chaotic. To avoid this, the thing you must do is limit what you try to remember from the questions.

The main information you need for the listening is the topic of the questions which is in the ‘stem’ that is the part before the choices. Where this part of the question is long then it is better just to focus on this and choose a good keyword that will help you to anticipate the answer. If it is only short then you can also skim the choices.

Using the key word you have chosen listen carefully for this information as you listen – once you hear it focus hard and then find the relevant information and quickly scan the choices to find the best one. If you are not sure just tick 2 (you should only have 2 possible choices) and then work it out later. If you have time make a few short notes to help you remember (this is useful wherever you are struggling to find an answer) you will then have a reference later to work out the best choice of answer.

By cutting down the amount of information you are trying to carry in your head as you listen, you should be able to find the answer more easily.

Try to keep calm during the listening as panic makes it more difficult to catch everything and using simple techniques like this makes sure you can tackle the questions with as little stress as possible.

Also remember that you have 10 minutes at the end to transfer your answers and this time can also be used to check things like spelling, grammar and also work out any of those questions that you missed.

A final word, as with everything in IELTS practice is the key. Go and find some IELTS Listening MCQs and try this technique – keep practising it and soon you will be able to answers these questions just as easily as all the others.

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