IELTS Listening True False Traps‘True/False’ questions are common in the IELTS Listening test. Most people who have done any form of English language test are very likely to be familiar with these types of questions.

'True' Answers

For a statement to be true, the passage must clearly support the information stated in that statement.         

'False' Answers

For a statement to be false, the passage must clearly state that the information in the passage is not true.         

The problem with these types of questions is that many candidates expect to hear the answer as it is written in the True/False statement.

For example:

Statement:  There are six children in John’s family.
Tapescript:  “I’ve got six children in my family.”

It’s John speaking – he says he has six children in his family. Clearly, this is ‘True’. However, it is not usually that easy.

Although there might be one or two easier questions like this, it isn’t likely that you will hear the answer as it appears in front of you on the question paper. The people who write the exams often put in ‘traps’ to mislead you and to try to get you to answer the question incorrectly.  For example:  

Statement: There are six children in John’s family. 
Tapescript: “John’s got four kids, hasn’t he?... Or is it five? No, no, I forgot Sara is the youngest, yes, five and Sara.

“Five and Sarah” is six, so the answer is ‘True’, but you don’t actually hear ‘six’ on the recording. 

As you can see, if you answer the question too quickly, you will get the answer wrong. 

Here’s another example:

Statement: There are six children in John’s family.  
Tapescript: “John’s got six kids, hasn’t he? Yes, six ? No, no, I forgot – it’s Tony who has got six. John's got three."  

You hear ‘six’ three times but you have wait until the very end of the sentence to hear that it is Tony who has six children, and so this answer is ‘False’. So, again, answering too quickly will mean you get it wrong.   

Other ‘Traps’

Have a look at these other ‘traps’ in True/False questions:

1. Changing the modifier

Statement: All students have to register before 08 August. 
Tapescript: “Most students have to register before 08 August.“

Answer: False (‘Most’ is not ‘All’)

2. Changing the answer twice.

Statement: Peter decides to go to the cinema. 


PETER: “Let’s go to the cinema, there’s a new film on.”  
JANE: “I’d like to go to the theatre instead to see the play.”
PETER: “OK, that’s fine, we’ll go to the theatre.”  
JANE: “Great, thanks, oh no – maybe the cinema would be better.” 
PETER: “OK – the cinema it is then.” 
JANE: “Are you sure?”   
PETER: “Yes, sure. No, the theatre – definitely!”

Answer: False

3. Using words that mean the same (synonyms)

Statement: All students have to register before 08 August. 
Tapescript: “All students have to enroll before 08 August.” 

Answer: True (‘enroll’ and ‘register’ are synonymous)

4. Using opposites (antonyms)

Statement: Robert is very unhappy. 
Tapescript: “I’m worried about Robert, he isn’t happy at all these days.” 

Answer: True (‘isnt happy’ has the same meaning as ‘unhappy’)

5. Changing the wording

Statement: You have to pay on or before 08 August. 
Tapescript: “You can’t make payment after the 7th of August.”                                                                                        

Answer: False 

Tip: You can practice True/False listening questions in a variety of published IELTS preparation books available from many bookstores. When you check your answers, don’t worry about why the answers you got wrong  are different from the correct answers, but think about the reasons why you got them wrong – was it because of any of the ‘traps’ mentioned above?

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