In the Reading and Listening tasks of the IELTS exam, band scores are determined only by the number of questions answered correctly. There usually are about 40 questions on each of the two tests.
Many candidates who do not understand the questions or do not know or are not sure of the answers leave blanks on the answer sheets for those questions. Never leave questions unanswered! Always write something on the answer sheet. No answer is automatically wrong, but you may guess the right answer, in which case you receive the point for it.
To score the highest number of correct answers:
– Do your best to understand the question and answer it correctly.
– If you do not understand the question or know the answer, figure out what kind of answer is required – T (true) or F (false), F (fact) or O (opinion), the letter or letters that correspond to the correct answers to multiple-choice questions, short answers, and the like – and write an answer that is possibly correct. It may be.
– Keep careful track of question numbers so that you put answers in the correct places. One of the problems with not answering a question is that you may forget to leave a space for the answer. If you answer the next question on a line you have left blank, you could create a situation in which a whole series of answers – some of which might be correct – will be scored as incorrect. Examiners who correct answer sheets do so from master answer sheet keys and do not make allowances for answers that appear on the wrong line.
– Pay special attention to some answers that come in a series. Sometimes IELTS questions ask you to put a number of answers in a particular series. In some of those cases, if some of the answers in the series are in the correct order, they are considered correct. Do your best at getting the entire series right, but if you are confident of only a portion of the series, make sure those answers are in the proper order.
– Even with short answer questions, put some words in the blanks – but never more than three – of questions whose answers you are not sure of. In the case of the IELTS Reading task short answer questions, choose words that come directly from the text, as they are more likely to be correct.
– To maximize the number of correct answers in the IELTS Listening test, mark the answers you choose in the question booklet, and then, in the 10 minutes, you are allowed for transferring the answers to the answer sheets after the tape is finished playing, carefully transfer them to the answer sheet. If you are unsure of the correct answer to a question while the tape is playing, mark the answer you think is best. You can think about it more after the tape has finished. Remember: do not use the time after each section of the IETLS Listening test tape has finished to “check your answers” (as you will be instructed to on the tape). Instead, go on to read the next set of questions, to add to the time you have to read them. You have nothing to check your answers against after the tape has finished.
– In the IETLS Reading test, if for some reason you have not allowed yourself enough time for the third reading, give yourself enough time before the 60 minutes have elapsed to look at the questions and see what kinds of answers are required. Then guess.
In all cases, never leave answers blank on IELTS answer sheets!