Short Answer Questions
If you missed any of the previous listening test sections, follow the links below to complete them.
Practice Exercise 1| Question Words
Practice Exercise 2 | Identify Key Words
What are the key words in this question (open to view):
When should you hand in your essay?
When – tells us to listen for a time
hand in – this is the action we must listen for
essay – clarifies what we are listening for (the thing which is handed in)
The words that are not underlined are less important but they are still needed so the grammar of the question is correct.
- It focuses you on what you must listen for before you hear the recording. Thinking of synonyms for the key words is also very useful preparation.
- As you listen you can easily refer back to the questions without having to read the whole question again.
Identify the Key Words in the questions below
Questions 26 – 30
We can see that ‘pace’ is used as a synonym of ‘speed’.
We can match the key words ‘speak’ and ‘slowly’ to prepare us for this answer.
Notice that typically you can use the same word forms in the answer as you hear in the recording, however in this case we need to adjust the grammar to suit the question: improve(s) (your) fluency
The student asks about vocabulary, so this is the sign that the answer is coming. The lecturer paraphrases ‘new vocabulary’ as ‘new words’.
Note here that ‘method’ and ‘technique’ are synonyms.
View the complete script below while listening again to the audio. Write down and repeat new vocabulary and phrases to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.
Now, I want to go back and think about how to improve your English communication skills. This will help you not just with the IELTS test, but also with living and studying in an English speaking country.
Ok great, I memorize lots of vocabulary and study English grammar all the time but sometimes I feel like my communication is not very good.
Yes, well, there is more to communication than that but you are on the right path.
I sometimes find that people have trouble understanding me, even though I use lots of high level words and complex grammar.
Native speakers sometimes find it hard to understand non-native speakers due to the speed of the non-native speaker’s speech. Now, you probably don’t realize, but when you are nervous and trying to express yourself, your speech will naturally speed up. This makes it hard to understand and increases the frequency of mistakes that you make. I would suggest to you both to try and remain calm and speak at a normal pace to avoid misunderstanding. Speaking slowly will give you more time to choose the appropriate words and structures and to communicate them clearly.
I understand what you’re saying but people will laugh at us if we speak slowly.
Well, I think most people appreciate a thought out and intelligent response to a rushed and poorly pronounced response. But obviously, don’t speak too slowly or yes, you’re right, it will sound unnatural.
My English teacher last year suggested we use some fixed phrases to make our speaking sound more natural. You know, kind of like the phrases that native speakers use when they need time to think about what they want to say.
Things like, ‘well let me see’ and ‘hmm, let me think for a moment’ or ‘I see what you mean but I’m not sure myself…’
Ok great. Yeah, those kinds of things are really useful. They’re called discourse markers and they improve your communication by improving your fluency.
Learning set phrases in which words always appear in a certain way can really boost your communication. Some studies show that the memory stores most language as set phrases rather than as grammatical rules or individual elements. Based on this, it makes sense to learn as many set phrases like verb patterns and collocations as possible.
I feel like I have a bad memory and even though I study new vocabulary, I often forget it. What do you suggest?
Good question. Well, again, learn new words in sentences. Try and use them very frequently so they become normal for you and you remember them. Try and take time every day to review your vocabulary book. Unfortunately many people try and learn new words by heart without using them in context and so when they do use them, they often do so incorrectly.
I have a question – it’s not really related to improving our communication though..
That’s no problem, what’s your question.
Well I often feel like my reading skills are not good enough. I understand a lot of words but I struggle, particularly on reading tests, or when I have to read something quickly to find an answer. What should I do?
You need to learn to quickly skim over a text, getting an understanding of its overall meaning and the focus of each paragraph. Don’t read every word, just read enough to understand what it’s about. After that, in order to find details, you can scan for specific things such as number, names, problems, reasons or any other type of detail. Skimming first will let you quickly go back and find answers as you will know where to locate them in the text. The method of skimming and scanning helps you to get a feel for the text and locate details quickly and efficiently.