Introduction to IELTS – Lesson 2 Summary – Task Forms, Tips, and Strategies + How to Fill the IELTS Listening Answer Sheet

Hello, my dear students! As many of you know, we just started the lesson summaries project and you will have a lot of opportunities to volunteer, and get your writing evaluated! The selection is closed for now until the students complete the first 5 lesson summaries. The topic of the second lesson is the Introduction to IELTS – Task Forms, Tips, and Strategies + How to Fill the IELTS Listening Answer Sheet.

What is the goal of our lesson summary project?

We currently have 90 lessons and 90 practice modules with a lot of lesson recordings, interactive content, and practice. Since we have quite a lot of lessons and new students are joining daily, this project will provide additional written summaries done by students so that the newcomers can read articles about strategies if they do not have the time to watch the lesson recordings. 

I will post the lesson summaries inside the course and publicly as well. By posting it publicly I want to provide an opportunity for all the students to have a published article in English and add it to their CV so that they can further prove their level of English when they are looking for employment or when they want to study abroad.

As a prequel to the preparation for the IELTS test, it is essential to know how the test actually works. We’ll be examining the listening section of the test in order to be on the right track during the examination.

 We have the following sections listed in the lesson 2:
  • Introduction to IELTS – Lesson Recording 2;
  • Practice introduction to IELTS listening;
  • IELTS listening answer sheet and how to fill it + video tutorial;
  • Discussion – Do you have any questions about the topic of the 2nd lesson?

Below are the contents of the lesson:

During the class, teacher Alice explained the introduction to IELTS listening including how it is marked.

  • There are four sections with ten questions each. The questions are designed so that the answers appear in the order they are heard in the audio.
  • The listening test is graded by certified examiners. After being marked, all the answer sheets are further analyzed by Cambridge Assessment English.
  • A band score conversion table is produced for each version of the listening test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported as a whole and as half bands.
  • Test takers write their answers on the question paper as they listen and at the end of the test they are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Each question is worth 1 mark.

Discussion on Task type in Listening

Six task types were discussed explicitly. They include:

  1. Multiple choice;
  2. Matching;
  3. Plan, map, diagram labelling;
  4. Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion;
  5. Sentence completion;
  6. Short answer questions.

I will describe each type, along with the task type, format and focus.

  • Multiple choice

Task type and format: Multiple choice questions are usually followed by three possible answers or the beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete the sentence. Test takers are required to choose either A, B, or C. It is, however, necessary to read instructions carefully in cases where there is a longer list of answers.

Task Focus: Since multiple choice questions are used to test wide range of skills, it may be required of the test taker to have a detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main points of the listening test.

  • Matching

Task type and format: test takers are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening test to a set of options on the question paper. The set of options maybe criteria of some kind.

Task Focus: Matching questions assesses the skill of listening for detail and whether a test taker can understand information given in a conversation on an everyday topic, such as the different types of hotel or guest house accommodation. It also assesses test takers’ ability to follow conversation with people and how to recognize relationships and connections between facts in the listening text.

  • Plan, map, diagram labeling

Task type and format: Test takers are required to complete labels on a plan (e.g. of a building, part of a town) or diagram (e.g. of a piece of equipment). The answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.

Task focus: This type of task assesses the ability to understand, for example, a description of a place, and to relate this to a visual representation. This may include being able to follow language expressing spatial relationships and directions.

  • Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion

Task type and format: Test takers are required to fill in the gaps in an outlined part of the listening text. The outline will focus on the main ideas/facts in the text. This task may be in:

  1. A form: this is often used to record factual details such as names
  2. A set of notes: this is used to summarize any type of information using the layout to show how different items relate to one another.
  3. A table: this is used as a way of summarizing information which relates to clear categories – e.g. place/time/price.
  4. A flow-chart: this is used to summarize a process which has clear stages, with the direction of the process shown by arrows.

Hence, test takers should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers they should fill the gaps will vary. A word limit is given, for example: NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER. Test takers should know that they will be penalized for writing more than the stated number of words, and should check this word limit carefully for each task. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.

Task focus: This focuses on the main points which a listener would naturally record in this type of situation.

  • Sentence completion

Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a set of sentences summarizing key information from all the listening text or from one part of it. They then fill a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. A word limit is also given in this question type and test-takers will be penalized for writing more than the stated number of words. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.

Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to identify the key information in a listening text. Test takers have to understand functional relationships such as cause and effect.

  • Short-answer questions

Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/ OR A NUMBER. Test takers will be penalized for writing more than the stated number of words and should check this word limit carefully for each task. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words. Sometimes test takers are given a question that asks them to list two to three points.

Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to listen for concrete facts, such as places, prices or times, within the listening text.

IELTS listening sheet and how to fill it

  • The listening section in the IELTS officially lasts 30 minutes, but you will have 10 additional minutes to copy your answers to the answer sheet.
  • You will write the answers on a blank paper. You need to copy the answers in pen, and answers with pencil will not be graded.
  • You also need to pay attention to your spelling – correct answers which are not spelled right will be marked as incorrect.
  • These are the information you need to enter into the answer sheet:
  • Write your candidate number in the boxes indicated and shade the corresponding boxes.
  • Write your name in capital letters.
  • Shade the boxes to indicate the test date.
  • Write your answers in the boxes.
  • If you want to change an answer, erase or cross the wrong answer.
  • Do not write anything in the X boxes.

Some tips were given in order to have a better result. These include:

  • If you cannot hear the audio clearly, let a member of staff know straight away.
  • Follow the instruction carefully; they may be different from practice or previous tests.
  • Try and anticipate what the speaker will say; this will require concentration.
  • If you want to know the answer to a question, attempt it but do not waste time and move to the next one.
  • Be careful with your spelling and grammar as well as word limit.
  • Attempt all questions as there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Double-check your answers.

The IELTS listening answer sheet includes detailed information about the listening section in IELTS and video on how to fill the listening answer sheet. The video lasted for about two minutes. A sample pdf of the answer sheet was also made available to download.

Under the discussion platform, students asked questions related to the second lesson while teacher Alice gave a prompt response to them.

To conclude, one important thing that all test takers must work on is the habit of having CONSISTENT PRACTICE because as they say ‘Rome was not built in a day’. This means that it is not possible to get familiar with all the question types and strategies in the night before the IELTS test. Personally, I believe that the listening section of the test is the easiest if you study all the task types and strategies needed to tackle them.

Teacher’s commentary:

Lydia’s writing was really good! He wrote a very long summary, and I am very grateful for the detailed reflection!

Lydia should:

  1. Not use too much passive!
  2. Be aware of the writing style.
  3. Try to simplify her sentences and make them shorter.
  4. Try not to use complex vocabulary which makes her writing sound archaic and outdated.
  5. Keep working, this was really amazing!

About the author

Lydia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of
Ilorin, Nigeria. Aspiring to study Pharmacy in Canada after Relocating to
Canada. I am currently enrolled in Bliss Attitude Couture Sewing School,
Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

What do you think about the second lesson content – Introduction to IELTS – Task Forms, Tips, and Strategies + How to Fill the IELTS Listening Answer Sheet? Was it informative enough for you, especially if you didn’t have time to attend the lesson or watch the lesson recording? Write in the comments, please!

About Alice Glass

Alice is a 27 years old preschool teacher (Pre-K) with a B.Ed. She is currently enrolled in her Master studies, with a double major, one of them being English teaching methodology. She is also an online ESL teacher and blog writer for British Council. Last but not least, she is a mother of a very energetic toddler.

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