IELTS Listening: Beware of these DISTRACTORS

Is IELTS Listening always a challenging module? Have you found it difficult to get to the right answers. These DISTRACTORS might be the cause.


IELTS Listening



Cambridge has designed the IELTS listening test in such a way that the good and effective listeners will stand out from the rest. 

Wondering how the IELTS Listening test is designed in this way? 
One good way to do this is to set traps in the audio. The more specific goal of this is to check if you are just listening for the words or are you actually able to comprehend what the speaker is saying. So if you want a higher band score, you need to know about these traps and how to avoid them.

Example of Distractors
Distractors are often seen in a lot of similar scenarios. There are places where we are expecting a particular sort of word, as the name of a person or a place. However, the audio will probably say 2 names before actually mentioning the right answer. This is a classical distractors.

Let's have a look at a few more tapescripts. These examples from the IELTS Listening tests will help you identify the distractors.
Also, when you read on, you will find what the top tips are for IELTS Listening.
  • Man: Hi, I’m calling to confirm the delivery of thirty T-shirts to my apartment in Waterloo.

    Woman: I see… let me have a look. Oh, we only have one order for Waterloo, sir, and it’s for thirteen shirts, not thirty.

    Man: Ah, yes! Did I say thirty? Sorry. I meant thirteen. It is for thirteen shirts.


Question: The man ordered _____ T-shirts. 

Top tips IELTS Listening No. 1- Explanation: The similar-sounding words are what is being employed here. The examiner wants to see if you can make out the difference between just one syllable. The answer is Thirteen.

  • Man: Where do you live, Lynda?

    Lynda: Unit 15, Maximilian Way.

    Man: That’s in Whitfield, right? I have a cousin who lives in that area.

    Lynda: Yes, Whitfield.

    Man: And the postcode is double seven double five?

    Lynda: Not quite — you’ve got it the wrong way around. It’s double five double seven.

Question: What is the correct postcode? _____

Top tips IELTS Listening No. 2- Explanation: Giving the wrong answer first is another way Cambridge is trying to trap you. If you start writing right after the man gives out the wrong answer, then chances are you will miss the correct one when the woman says it. So be patient.

  • Man: Just one more thing — your date of birth — but I can get that from the card. One moment…

    Lynda: Look. I’m afraid you haven’t copied it down correctly. I was born on 25th September 1990.

    Man: What have I written? Oh yes, I see now. I’ve got the 25th of the eighth month, but that would make it August…

Question: What is Lynda’s date of birth? 25th _______ 

Top tips IELTS Listening No. 3- Explanation: Saying more than one but the same type of answers that we are expecting like a date, is the distractor here. Here the man says the wrong date first, but the woman corrects him but he says the wrong date again with paraphrasing. The right answer here is SEPTEMBER.

Now you are all set to identify Distractors on the test. Hope these top tips for IELTS Listening, will help you in your goal to reach a full 9 band score.
Time to put your new skill to the test!




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