IELTS Listening Note Completion
Section 4 of the IELTS listening test tends to involve a note completion task.
In this task type, you are presented with a set of notes which have been written about the listening. Your task is to complete the gaps which have been deleted. This task is therefore very similar to other completion tasks.
As with many of the IELTS listening tasks, the key strategies to performing well on note completion questions are to follow the recording and anticipate the missing information.
Step 1: Read the Instructions
Before you listen, you will have some time to read the instructions and questions.
The instructions will tell you how many words you may write and whether the answer could also inlude a number. For example, the instructions may say:
Write ONE WORD ONLY for each answer.
Typically the instructions will say to write between one and three words and may also allow a number.
Step 2: Read the Notes
Having read the instructions, you should next read the notes. Here you are aiming to do two things:
- Identify key words which will tell you when to move to the next question.
- Anticipate what could be missing from the gap.
Identifying Key Words
You should identify key words for all of the questions except the first. For the first question, you will be listening for this answer from the moment the audio begins.
A good key word is one which is likely to be said in the recording, but is not likely to be repeated many times.
While looking for key words, you should also anticipate what type of information is missing from each gap.
As you will be completing notes, the words will very often be nouns. If you are permitted to write two words, these are likely to be compound nouns or an adjective with a noun.
Look at the example notes from a note completion task. Which key words would you underline? What can you tell about the words which are missing?
the ability to recall details, e.g. the time and 31 _____ of past events
different to semantic memory – the ability to remember general information about the 32 _____, which does not involve recalling 33 _____ information
Forming episodic memories involves three steps:
involves receiving and processing information
the more 34 _____ given to an event, the more successfully it can be encoded
to remember a 35 _____, it is useful to have a strategy for encoding such information
how memories are strengthened and stored
most effective when memories can be added to a 36 _____ of related information
the 37 _____ of retrieval affects the strength of memories
memory retrieval often depends on using a prompt, e.g. the 38 _____ of an object near to the place where you left your car
Episodic memory impairments
these affect people with a wide range of medical conditions
games which stimulate the 39 _____ have been found to help people with schizophrenia
children with autism may have difficulty forming episodic memories – possibly because their concept of the 40 _____ may be absent
memory training may help autistic children develop social skills
31. (no key word) noun – something with completes “time and _____” – therefore place seems likely
32. (semantic memory) – noun – synonym of event e.g. incident
33. (semantic memory) – adjective
34. (encoding) – noun – detail
35. (strategy) – noun – something which is remembered e.g. fact
36. (consolidation) – noun – where information can be stored e.g. “bank” of information
37. (retrieval) – noun e.g. frequency
38. prompt – noun e.g. name
39. (schizophrenia) – noun – part of the brain e.g. amygdala
40. (autism) – noun e.g. past
Step 3: Listen and Write the Answers
You are now ready to listen to the recording and write the answers you hear. Remember to move on when you hear the key word.
Step 4: Check Your Answers
After each set of questions, the recording will tell you that you have some time to check your answers. However, that isn’t really possible. You will not see the correct answers, so how can you check?
As this is the end of the listening exam, you should check you have an answer for all the questions in the paper. Then transfer your answers to the answer sheet.