IELTS Listening Strategy # 23 Make Intelligent Guesses

You do not lose marks for incorrect answers so you should attempt to answer all forty questions. You only hear the information one time, so you should write down your answers or guesses quickly as you hear them.

This strategy may be particularly useful for section four of the listening test, when the information in the academic lecture is complicated and you may be uncertain of where you are on the answer booklet.

If this is the case, you should write down key words as you hear them, particularly words that are said loudly, as these words are often the answers.


  • The most important information is stressed, which means it is said loudly, with emphasis
  • If you do not know the answers you should write down stressed words, as you may be lucky and find an answer
  • Answer all questionsas you do not lose marks for incorrect answers
  • Do not wait until you transfer your answers to make intelligent guesses, do it immediately after that listening has finished because you only hear the listening one time and it will still be fresh in your mind.