« IELTS Reading: gap-fill with letters | Main | IELTS Writing Task 2: three possible introductions »

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Dear Simon,
I have done a listening practice test and I got a bit confused.
In the recording, Im sure that the speaker only mentiond an answer which is "aspiration" but then in the keys, they accept both aspiration and ambition.Why is that? Because I think most times the synonyms will not be accepted. One more question is why sometimes both the answers with and without "s" are accepted whereas sometimes they aren't?
Please answer as soon as possible because Im going to take my exam on this Saturday.
Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely


Can you tell me which test that was? Perhaps the word "ambition" was also mentioned somewhere.

Regarding the "s", it depends whether a plural is definitely needed in the context. For example, if the gap is after a word like "many" in a full sentence, you must put a plural as the answer. However, if the gap is in a table (or anything other than a full sentence), both singular and plural might be fine in the context.

Dear Simon,
This is the link for the test I mentioned:
The question I asked about is No.35. No.32 has the same problem.
I'm sorry if it's not a reliable source.
Thank you for your time

Dear Simon,
Im sorry for bothering you so much.
I have finished a test in the Cambridge book 9 and have some questions.
In a section including short answer questions, I hear "every second day" for the question of "how often did Kira work in a hospital?" but the key is "every 2 days". why isn't the answer "every second day" accepted? Another question is "How did the students do their practical sessions?", she said " we did these in small groups" but the answer written in the keys is just "groups". Why not "small groups"? Word limit is 3.
Thank you very much


Occasionally IELTS does accept synonyms in the listening test.

Thank you very much sjm.
What about the other questions of mine? I really appreciate your answers


I've just checked your original question - it comes from Cambridge IELTS book 10. I don't really know why they allow the word "ambitions", which isn't mentioned by the speaker. I suppose they are just being generous!

As sjm said, IELTS does sometimes accept synonyms if they fit perfectly.

Regarding your other question, "small groups" would also be accepted I'm sure.

I find the keys are not very compelling and reliable. They get me worried about the real test.
Thank you very much Simon.
And thank you sjm.

i have practised alot at home simon. i have given 3 attempts but i miss alot in listening as if i find it hard to follow the speaker. i took test on 11th of feb in uk n missed alot.. i m very sad..i need 7 in each part..please help me

hello simon,

In my practice tests i usually get 7.5 but in my previous attempt in which i did not focus on Listening part i got 6.5 which is very sad and discouraging to me. Now as i am giving time to practice listening as well i am getting 6.5 average. i am very puzzled about my situation since i am already worried about writing.

please help me.

I am from India. Recently I joined in one of the Institute for IELTS examination training. One of the faculty told me that we can use all capital letters for Listening and Reading answers. Is it true?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)