IELTS Listening Strategy # 22 Know the Instructions Types

The instructions must be carefully followed during the test. This is because often the instructions will vary from question to question. The following points are important to keep in mind:

Quickly review the instructions that tell you how many words you can write for each answer.

  • If the instruction is ‘No more than three words’, you can write one, two or three words or numbers.
  • If the instruction is ‘No more than two words and/or a number’, you can write 2 words + 1 number, but not three words.

Some candidates who take the Paper-Based Test choose to underline keywords in instructions. However, this strategy may depend on your personal preference.

Some common instructions include:

  • Choose the best answer A, B, C or D.
  • Choose the correct letter.
  • Complete the table/notes. Use NO MORE THAN 2 WORDS for each answer.
  • Complete the sentences. Use NO MORE THAN 2 WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.
  • Complete the form. Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer.
  • Complete the diagram / label the diagram. Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

Remember!

IELTS loves using the trick of making unusual instructions. Be careful that you quickly check instructions on the listening test because they may be different from what you expect or what you have practiced in the past.