Confusing Answers in the Cambridge IELTS Practice Books

by sinli

I am practicing IELTS listening and I have come across these confusions:

1) Time

How do I represent time in my listening answer sheet? Example, 1:30 pm. The Cambridge 8 Test 1 answered it as 1.30 pm. Am I wrong if I wrote 1:30 pm?

2) Spaces

How about writing "car park", the reviewer's answer is car-park, is it correct?

I used google to find answers but it didn't helped me much. Please advise, thank you.

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May 05, 2015
IELTS Listening
by: IELTS buddy


If you put 1:30 pm instead of 1.30 pm that would be fine.

The correct word is 'car park' not 'car-park' with a hyphen. So the second one would be wrong so I do not understand why your book would be suggesting that answer.

Apr 01, 2017
confusion regarding answer containing ranges
by: param

Hi there,

Sometimes there are questions which contains ranges for example;
price of books from ____to____

How do i write answer in answer sheet if already have to between them.

May I use comma or what else?

Apr 03, 2017
confusion regarding answer containing ranges
by: IELTS buddy

If they are part of the same question then it would not matter.

You could just write both the words in or put a comma between them.

Apr 06, 2017
Confused about writing date
by: Harsh

In listening, which of the following would be right for a date:

1) 27/01/2017
2) JANUARY 27th, 2017
3) 27th JANUARY, 2017

PS: If all these are wrong, then what will be the correct way of writing a date?

Apr 09, 2017
Confused about date
by: IELTS buddy

Firstly, remember to follow the instructions for how many words and / numbers you are supposed to write.

All those you mention should be ok as they are ways that we write dates so they should be accepted.

But it's actually unusual to have to use day, month and year, so you are not likely to use the first one. More common is just day and month:

27 June

June 27.

That's fine, you don't need the 'th'.

May 04, 2017
I wrote on insert in Cambridge (pakstudies paper)
by: Anonymous

I was confused and so I wrote the answers of the source based questions on the insert instead of answer sheet. What now? Will it be considered? Plz reply fast

May 05, 2017
I wrote on insert in Cambridge (pakstudies paper)
by: IELTS buddy

I don't know what you mean by 'insert' but if you did not put any answers where they should be on the answer sheet I think it's highly unlikely they will give you the score.

May 19, 2017
by: Sangita

In book 5, test 3, section 3, the answers of question 21 and 22 are "5th May" and "16th May" but I had written "05, May" and "16 May" which is not correct. Please give me some suggestions.

May 19, 2017
by: IELTS buddy

I'm sure you would get the marks for those in the test. We often don't put 'th' when we write dates, instead writing "16 May".

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Concerns about IELTS Cambridge 9 Answers

by Rohith


Can u pls clarify the below doubts I have faced in listening section (cambridge 9 book test 4)

1. Section 1 Question 9

In one question we supposed write the time in the blank _____ .

The correct answer is 4:30 pm. In the Cambridge book, the answer is given as 4.30.

Here, i got two doubts whether i want to write "pm" or not, pm is not included in the question.

Another one is we want to write as "4.30"(dot) or "4:30"(semi colon).

2. Section 2 Question 19

The instruction tells that "ONE WORD OR/AND A NUMBER". In answer there are two telephone numbers i.e, (732281/766119), but the answer in the Cambridge book is given as only single number i.e, (732281).

3. Section 3 Question 26 and 30

In instructions "NOT MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER". I wrote the answer as "small groups" and in Cambridge it is given as "groups".

Am I correct or not?

Another similar example is I wrote "education", instead there is "education system".

please clarify my doubts as soon as possible.

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Dec 26, 2015
Cambridge 9
by: IELTS buddy

1. In one question we supposed write the time in the blank _____ .


I had a look in the Cambridge 9 book. The answer they give is clearly wrong. It should be 4.30 pm (not just 4.30) so your answer is correct. It must just be an error in the book.

You are correct in saying that if the 'pm' is already on the question sheet, you should not put it in, but if it is already there, you should omit it.

Dot / Semi-colon

I'm sure this really won't matter whether you put the full stop or the semi-colon.

2. Telephone Numbers

Yes - two numbers are given in the listening, but one is for a Chinese restaurant, not for take away Pizzas.

The gap is for the second one, so only one of the numbers can be correct - 732281

3. Groups / Small Groups

Again, I think your answer should be correct. It does say 'small groups' in the listening and this would fit the amount of words.

I think the answer sheet should say "(small) groups" which would mean you get the point if you write it with the word 'small' or without.

"education"/ "education system".

Your answer would be wrong for this one. Just writing "education" would be too broad. It's a noun referring to possibly many things to do with education.

She is specifically referring to the 'system' of education in the UK - typically meaning the types of schools there are from kindergarten and up.

Aug 28, 2016
by: tazar


In reference to this same test [IELTS 9 TEST 4] would it be wrong if I had written:

a. HEART DISEASE for question 7
b. IN SMALL GROUPS for question 26
c. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM for question 30 ?

Furthermore when IELTS asks us choose 2 options as answers for the same question, what is the correct format to write it?

Shall we write it as A (space) B or A/B ?


Aug 29, 2016
IELTS 9 Test 4
by: IELTS buddy

Hi tazar,

7) Heart disease - this would be wrong. You can't say 'heart disease problem'. A disease is clearly a problem so it is does not make sense to put the word after 'disease'.

26) and 27) - the answers you put do fit grammatically and it says 'three words' can be used. So I would think they should be ok though normally they put all the options in the answer key. Nobody can say for sure what IELTS may do with the marking on the day and if they decide to accept other choices. But what you put does fit.

For your second question, do you have an example from a Cambridge Test of that type of question so I can look? I'm not sure what you mean.

Sep 01, 2016
Cambridge 9 answers
by: tazar


For example Q no 33 of Test 1 Listening has two answers. Do we write them as plants / animals or plants animals? I think they have only one row in the answer sheet for Q no 33.


Mar 07, 2017
$ signs
by: Anonymous

Question : cost of book $=......

Sir what is the answer. Will it be like.... Dollars or $...

Because the dollar symbol has been already given should we use again in our answer.... If not then in book 2 of Cambridge it has been used.. Totally confused

Mar 09, 2017
$ signs
by: IELTS buddy

No, if it's already been used you should not use it again.

Mar 09, 2017
$ signs
by: Anonymous

But in book 3 test 1 question no. 2 and 5 . The symbols are given already in question but in the answer sheet it's again 250 to 500 dollars or $ and 325 pounds

Mar 09, 2017
$ signs
by: IELTS buddy

I can only guess that it's an error.

The guidance is that you are not supposed to repeat it if it is already in the question booklet.

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IELTS book 9

by Ahmad

IELTS book 9 also:

listening test 4

Q26: "in small groups" is wrong? as in the answer sheet the answer is groups but it is allowed to write three words/or a number?

Q27: the answer is "every 2 days", does my answer "every second day" is wrong? this had been spoken like that in the tape


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Aug 31, 2016
Book 9
by: IELTS buddy

As I said to another person who asked this question, 'in small groups' would be ok as it fits, even though it does not seem to say this in the answer key (maybe an error).

Also, I agree with you that "every second day" should be correct as that is what she says. Maybe an error again in the test, but I'm sure they would accept both answers but there is no way of checking.

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Brackets in the Answer Key

by Ajith
(Colombo Sri Lanka)

I am using Cambridge IELTS practice tests and their answers to verify my answers. In listening test answers, there are some answers which make some confusion.

Eg. (the) Sun

In this situation what is the correct answer ? sun or the sun? And what is the rule of marking answers?

Can anybody tell me please? Your help is highly appreciated

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Feb 21, 2015
Answer in Brackets
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Ajith,

If an answer has a word/s in brackets, it simply means you can have that in your answer or not.

In other words if you wrote 'the Sun' for your answer it would be correct.

But if you wrote just 'Sun', that would also be correct.


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Slashes (/) in the Answer Key

by Muhammad Fathi

I noticed in many of Cambridge Practice tests that they sometimes rephrase the answer with another entirely different way from the one used in the recording. I would like you to confirm if that is OK. because sometimes you might miss the actual word (or find it hard to spell) although you could use another word with the same meaning by following the contest.

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Aug 12, 2016
Cambridge Practice test answers
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Muhammad,

I didn't completely understand your question and the image you sent through was too small to see.

I can't account for what is in a particular practice book, but the answers to a question should be written exactly as they are said in the listening.

You can't rephrase things in your own way.

Some words in the answer key may be in brackets which simply means the answer is correct with or without that word.

The key thing is to write down exactly what you hear and don't add words or change the order of them.

Aug 13, 2016
by: Muhammad Fathi

Thanks for the feedback and I'm sorry that the question wasn't clear enough.

First of all the picture contains the answer keys from Cambridge IELTS 8 test 1 with (Q No. 6,7,12,13) highlighted.

As you have mentioned they put optional words in brackets but sometimes they provide more than one answer separated by a slash (usually one of the answers would be quoted directly from the recording and the other would be written in different way.

Like for ex. 25th of December / Christmas day (Christmas day was never mentioned in the recording). Also (car-park/ parking lot) again the recording mentions the form car-park.

Aug 14, 2016
IELTS 8 test 1 Answers
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Muhammad,

Ok I see what you mean.

Basically my advice would remain the same.

You should always just write down exactly what you hear to ensure you get the right answer.

However in cases there are obviously some other answers that they feel it would unfair to mark as wrong if you put it instead, and these choices are shown by the slashes.

You often get that with dates - they may say in one way in the recording but there are different ways of writing a date.

I would say with most questions though the answer is as was said in the recording, so to be safe stick with that if you can.

Aug 17, 2016
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Ok I got it. Thanks for your help.

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Writing Number Ranges

by uz

I want to ask about the listening section, sometimes they ask for a range, so for the given example what would be the best way to write:

1)3,000 - 4,000
2)3,000 to 4,000
3000 - 4000
4)3000 to 4000

There are different patterns every time to write range in the answer key. Kindly help me.

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Jan 03, 2017
Ranges of numbers in IELTS
by: IELTS buddy


You may see differences because you are looking at different books.

But 3,000 - 4,000 or 3,000 to 4,000 would be fine.

Mar 20, 2017
by: Anonymous

Will our answer be wrong if i didn't write the bracket words which are there in answer sheets

Eg: 1.(a) table
2.(of) December etc..


No, the word in brackets means that it is optional. So you answer is correct with or without it. So both of these are correct:

- a table
- table

IELTS buddy

Mar 23, 2017
by: Anonymous

If the answer is bookshop can i write that as book shop. The word limit is 2 words

Mar 24, 2017
by: IELTS buddy

IELTS don't actually say whether they accept one word written as two or not so it's impossible to say.

May 19, 2017
help on bracket issue
by: Anonymous

I want to know one thing about Listening section. If in answer sheet the word which is mentioned in brackets is important to write on answer sheet, for an example the answer is "(a) splash ride", and I wrote "splash ride", is it correct?

May 19, 2017
help on bracket issue
by: IELTS buddy

Yes it is correct.

The word in brackets on the IELTS listening answer sheet is optional.

Aug 13, 2017
by: Ranvirkaur

In email if @ is written in question paper already is it write again in answer.

but in answer sheets it happen I am so confused about that. Please help me.

Aug 15, 2017
by: IELTS buddy

I don't really understand what you mean, but if anything is already written on the question paper you should NOT write it on the answer sheet.

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