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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".

Jun 22, 2018
IELTS Listening
by: Anonymous

The answer is " 2 days". However, my answer is the same written in a different way- second day (as heard in the audio clip). The instruction states two words and or a number. Is my answer correct?

Jun 29, 2018
IELTS Listening
by: IELTS buddy

"2 days" and "second day" are not the same thing. You'd need to have written what was said in the test, which of course should match the answer key.

Sep 05, 2018
IELTS Listening
by: Anonymous

It is exactly on Cambridge IELTS 9 test 4 Q 27 Listening part. I heard "every second days" and it was exactly written in the Transcript. But the answer was "every 2 days"!

Sep 08, 2018
"every second days"
by: IELTS buddy

We can't say "every second days" in English so that can't be correct. Did you check the script in the answer key?

Sep 26, 2018
ielts reading
by: Anonymous

can i write answers in brackets if it is two words answer like
charity (work)

Is it correct?

Sep 27, 2018
ielts reading
by: IELTS buddy

No it will probably be marked wrong if you start putting things in brackets. You should just write down whatever the answer is. If the answer is 'charity work', then you should write 'charity work'.

Sep 29, 2018
Ielts reading
by: Anonymous


I have written a question mark by mistake after an answer on the reading answer sheet. Will it affect my score?

Nov 30, 2018
Center or Centre
by: Anonymous

Hello , in the Listening Task 1 I had a gap in which I wrote ‘Sport Center’ ( important to mention that the task is to complete the table and in another place there is written ‘Child Care Centre’ ). In the answers the correct variant is ‘Sport Centre’ . What am I supposed to do ? To follow the US English variant and write the ending -tre or stick to the British English ( because I suppose to use it hereinafter in the test ) ?

Apr 29, 2019
Ielts text 1 test 3 section 4 answer 35
by: Anonymous

In the listening test Ielts text 1 test 3 section 4 answer 35 in the answer key is recorder//recording. However in the listening test it mentioned video surveillance and in the practice test answer I wrote what I heard.

The answer key in book doesn’t state video surveillance. Am I going to get marks for this as the meaning is similar.

May 02, 2019
Cambridge book 7 GT A
by: Anonymous

Que21: Where do most employees collect their wages? (answer NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS)
in their department or their department (answered in book)
please which is correct answer?

Sep 02, 2019
Cambridge IELTS 9 test 4
by: Anonymous

I just did the Cambridge IELTS 9 test 4 listening test and have a doubt in Question number 27;in the audio the speaker cited "every second day" and i wrote the same however the answer sheet . But the answer sheet the answer is "every 2 days"! Why is that ? The question is "in the second semester how often did Kira work in a hospital?

Oct 31, 2022
by: Adwaith

For one question in reading section, I wrote answer as "the plants". (They have given NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER in instructions) Because in passage it was "the plants". But in the answer key it was just "plants" only. So, was my answer wrong ?

Nov 01, 2022
by: IELTS buddy

I can't really know that without seeing the actual test you are referring to. "The plants" would be ok if it fits in grammatically but if it does not then it would be wrong.

Apr 05, 2023
With hyphen or not?
by: George

Hello, I’m a candidate who are going to take the test. Last week, when I check my answer in section 2, test 1, Cambridge book 8, I found that there may be a mistake in answer which is given by official. In question 13, the answer is "car-park " (with the hyphen). However, I looked up the dictionary (both Cambridge and Oxford) there’s no hyphen (car park). So please give me a sure answer because it’s crucial for candidates . I look forward to reply. Thanks!

Apr 06, 2023
With hyphen or not?
by: IELTS buddy

I'm sure in the real test they would allow either.

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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.

Comments for Concerns about IELTS Cambridge 9 Answers

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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.

Jun 05, 2018
Doubt regarding brackets
by: Harsh

In cambridge book 3 test 2, question 1 it is written no more than 3 words.
In 1 answer i wrote 'main hall' and answer in that book is '(the) main hall'
So writing only main hall is correct?

And in 5 answer i wrote 'A PLACEMENT' and answers shows only 'PLACEMENT' but in transcripts it has written Its just 'a placement test'
so am i right?

Writing answer A PLACEMENT

Jun 07, 2018
Doubt regarding brackets
by: IELTS buddy

For question 1 your answer is fine as anything in brackets is optional, so it's correct with or without it.

For question 5, I'm not sure what you mean as you say the answer is 'placement' but then you say it was 'a placement' at the end.

But anyway, if 'a' was on the question sheet then you should not include it in the answer. If it was not there, then 'a' is ok in your answer.

Aug 18, 2018
Doubts with answer key
by: Raghavan

In IELTS 9 test 4 listening, section 3:

Questions 26 is confusing. Is it wrong if I write 'in small groups'?

29 same way is it wrong if I write 'more confident'?

25 can someone explain if 'interest' and 'interests' are different. I wrote interests, for I thought it was grammatically more accurate

Aug 20, 2018
Doubts with answer key
by: IELTS buddy

The issue with Q. 26 has already been discussed in this thread.

For Q. 25, the verb should agree with the subject 'students' so it would not have the 's'.

The other verb in the sentence 'worry' should tell you that. If it was 'interests' it would also have to be 'worries'.

For Q. 29, yes 'more confident' should be ok. It should say in the answer key '(more) confident' to show that it is correct with or without the 'more'.

I can't of course tell you if they gave people the score when that test was actually taken, but if they didn't it was an error.

Jul 24, 2019
IELTS Cambridge 9 Test 4 - Doubt regarding time
by: Shuvankar

Hi ,

I have a doubt regarding Q 9
My Ans : 4.30 pm
Cambridge Answer : 4.30

1. I chose the answer as 4.30 pm because the audio recording specifically mentioned late afternoon.
Is this wrong ?

2. For Q 29 my answer is " much more confident" - Will this be marked correct?The actual answer is mentioned as " confident ". The question mentions no more than 3 words so I find no reason why " much more confident " is wrong. Please advise.

Also found out answers for Q. 25 by reading the previous threads. Great explanation as to why " interest" shall be the perfect answer in this case.

Jul 27, 2019
IELTS Cambridge 9 Test 4 - Doubt regarding time
by: IELTS buddy

Q9 - you always must only write down exactly what you hear. The speaker says '4.30' not '4.30pm'.

I can see why this may confuse some people though because it has 'pm' in both the boxes above, even though for one of those it says '5 o'clock' in the audio, and not '5pm' (for the other the speaker does say '7pm').

All I can say is that if the answer key was strictly followed when it was marked, then your answer would have been wrong, but I can imagine quite a few people wrote '4.30pm' in the test as they may have followed the previous examples.

Q29 - 'much more confident' should really be allowed as it fits (3 words is ok) and it is what the speaker said. But like I said before I can't say whether this is something that IELTS actually allowed when they marked the test.

Jun 12, 2020
No more than 3 words
by: Anonymous

Q-Where do most employees collect therir wages ?

Passage- generally enployees pick up the pay checks in their department, if not they may be picked up at the business office .

No more than words
Answer is 'their department'
Anwer should be 'in their department'
Why not use in answer
Ielts 7-G.T passage1 q-21

Jun 15, 2020
No more than 3 words
by: IELTS buddy

Yes I agree if it says no more than 3 words then the answer could be:

'their department'
'in their department'

So I'm not sure why only the second one is given as a possibility.

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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


Comments for IELTS book 9

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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.

Aug 27, 2018
by: Anonymous

is it fine to write number instead of words in "NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS" type questions, for example if the answer is 16, so can we write SIXTEEN or simply writing numerical 16 is also correct. Please clarify.

Aug 27, 2018
by: IELTS buddy

Usually the number or words are ok, but to write the number it should also say "NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND / OR A NUMBER".

If it doesn't say at the end that you can also use a number then you should write "sixteen" to be safe.

Aug 04, 2019
Half answer is correct
by: Anonymous

If half answer is correct n had is missing or incorrect
Then work we get half mark or what ?
E.g green houses instead of clean houses

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IELTS Listening Answer Query

by barbara

the question and the transciption

the question and the transciption

I have a question about an answer in the book Cambridge IELTS 16, Listening test 1, Section 4.

The question is: 'In business, people benefit from Stoicism by identifying obstacles as (39)......".

The text in the transcript is: 'Stoic principles can build the resilience and state of mind required to overcome setbacks because Stoics teach turning obstacles into opportunity'.

It only accepts the answer 'opportunity' but not 'opportunities', can you help me explain this because I think the countable use should be fine in this sentence and the phrase turning obstacles into opportunities is much more common than the one with the uncountable use.

Thank you!

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Jan 11, 2022
IELTS Listening Answer Query
by: IELTS buddy

I'd actually agree with you that 'opportunities' sounds better however you could say 'opportunity' as well.

The thing is, you don't tend to have to change the form of the word you hear in the listening. For example, as in this question, you won't have to change something you hear in singular to plural. You usually have to write it down exactly as it is said.

So if you stick with that rule you'll get it correct as you would with this question.

Jan 11, 2023
Confused in writing answers on Telephone and Zipcode Numbers (IELTS listening test)
by: Anonymous

For the Phone number:

Does 01674 553242 and 01674553242 the same answer or the space matters?

For the Zip Code:
Does WS62YH and WS6 2YH the same answer or the space matters?

They both are from Cambridge IELTS Book no 8 Test 1 Listening

Also I have a confusion on Cambdrige IELTS 07 Test 1 question number 9 and 10. The question says One word and/or a number for each answer.

For the credit card No answer is 3303 8450 2405 6837.Isn't this counted as 4 words or the space doesnt count here?

Could you please help me on this I am getting really confused? Please reply ASAP.

Thanks in Advance

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