Multiple Choice : Choose Single Answer (Listening)

Multiple Choice : Choose Single Answer (Listening)

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Part 3: Listening

MCQ : Choose Single Answer

Made Easy

  • Type of recording: audio or video, part of a lecture
  • Length of audio/video: around 30–60 seconds
  • Number of correct answer: 1
  • Number of these tasks: 1 - 2
  • Total Listening Time: 20 - 23 minutes

Multiple-choice, choose single answer: listening tests your ability to understand the main ideas, detailed information, purpose, organisation, inference, and/or attitude, etc. of a short academic lecture or conversation

Watch the video and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting the correct response. Only one response is correct.

The speaker explains that _____

  • Listening
    up to 2 points

Top Strategies for Success in MCQ: Single Answer

Understanding meaning

In Multiple-choice, choose single answer tasks, your understanding of vocabulary will often be tested. However, truly understanding a word’s meaning can often involve two steps.

Understanding its denotation

This is what will appear in the dictionary. For example, the denotation of plain is ‘simple or basic in character’.


Understanding a word’s connotation

This is the idea or feeling that most people will get from the word. For example, the connotation of plain is ‘uninteresting and boring’.

When learning new words, make sure to look beyond the first definition. Find the word used in example sentences and look at its synonyms to get a better understanding of how it might be used. If in doubt, ask a proficient speaker.

  • Practice Tips
    Follow To Succeed

Find examples of lectures on topics you are interested in online. Listen to short sections of these lectures and identify the main points, along with any supporting details.

Practise note-taking with the lectures you have found.

  • Take a short section of the lecture (around 1 minute) and take notes on the speaker’s main ideas. Write down key words and use your own abbreviations or symbols. Then, stop the lecture and try writing a sentence summarising what you heard.
  • Repeat this with another part of the lecture. However, this time, take notes on the speaker’s intention or purpose.

• Pay attention to words which a speaker uses to communicate an attitude or tone. Make sure you are clear about what feeling or opinion the speaker is trying to show

  • Language focus

Find some transcripts of online audios or videos (some university lectures have them).

  • Go through them and identify the main points, any examples or evidence referred to and any opposing arguments. Highlight the signal words that indicate them (e.g. We need to focus on… , The issue here is… , What we’ve discovered is… , For instance, To illustrate, On the contrary, etc.). Then listen for them in the audio or video.
  • Highlight any unfamiliar words in the transcript and guess their meaning from the words around them. Check your guess in a dictionary.

Create lists of words with their synonyms to expand your vocabulary. A thesaurus will help you to find new words with the same or similar meanings. When you learn a new word, record an example of how it’s used in context

Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Get your pen and erasable booklet ready.
Read the question carefully. It will tell you what type of information to listen for. If it says, ‘What does the speaker infer about … ’, you will know to listen for something that isn’t stated directly in the recording.

Skim the options very quickly. Just identify key words if you can – that’s all you’ll have time for.


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Listen carefully to the recording, keeping in mind the purpose for listening that you identified from the question.
• Take notes as you listen using your erasable booklet and pen. Use abbreviations, symbols and arrows.
• Listen for the main and supporting ideas, not the minor details.
• Don’t try to write everything you hear. You will miss important information if you try to write everything word-for-word.
Listen for meaning and the flow of ideas.
Don’t worry if you miss or don’t know individual words – keep listening.
Keep your eyes on the options. Be careful, because most options will include some information from what you hear, but only one is correct.
Keep listening until the end. Sometimes speakers change what they have said or add extra information.

Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Refer to your notes again to check that the option you’ve chosen is correct.


Read the question and the options again.
• Eliminate any option that seems wrong (e.g. it has incorrect information, or information not given). Then choose from the other options.
• Aim to be clear about all the options. Think about why the ones you didn’t choose are incorrect, as well as why your chosen option is correct.
You may need to re-read the options and your notes several times.
• If you don’t know, then guess. Unlike with Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers tasks, you won’t lose a point for guessing!
• Keep an eye on the timer and don’t spend too long on one listening item.

Remember, What To Do What Not To Do In MCQ : Single Answer

Practise Multiple-choice, choose single answer (Listening) 2 here, if you want to try Multiple-choice, choose single answer without a time limit. Think about the strategies mentioned above. Then follow the task instructions.

Listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting the correct response. Only one response is correct.

Which sentence best summarises the recording?

1. Use the checklist below to decide what you did well and what you need to practise more. Set aside time to work on each area that you want to improve.

2. Check the answers given below. Were your answers correct? Try to think about how you could improve.

1. Incorrect: The speaker only mentions that onions can make us cry. She states tears contain chemicals, not that chemical cause tears.

2. Incorrect: She says reflex tears do this.

3. Incorrect: She says that basal tears do this.

4. Correct: She says each type ‘contain subtly different proteins, oils, chemicals …’

Common Mistakes Problems Errors In MCQ : Single Answer

There are always some quick things you can do to get ready to listen, even if you don’t have much time to prepare. Read the listening task questions carefully, and look at anything else that might help you, such as any answer options.

Listening items (apart from Summarize spoken text) are not timed individually. You will have between 20 to 23 minutes for all the listening items (excluding Summarizing Spoken Text). Make sure you practice managing your time effectively across all the tasks, to give yourself sufficient time to complete them

Quick Tips Strategies For Better Score!

For listening multiple-choice questions, the main part of the question tells you what to listen for. Being aware of the focus of the question will help guide your listening.

For example, it will tell you whether you are listening for the main idea: What was the main cause of the company's collapse?

Or listening for some supporting information or details: What aspect of past transport policy does the speaker mention?

Or listening for an inference drawn by the speaker: What does the speaker suggest that the factory may have to do?

Or listening for the speaker's purpose: Why does the speaker talk about the fall in car ownership?

In the five seconds before the recording begins, quickly read the question and answer options to make sure you understand the topic.

For example, in this sample, the question shows that the speaker will talk about the future, and the options show you they all include the word 'media'. So you are listening to hear what the speaker thinks will happen to the media in the future.

Single Answer is judged on your ability to. Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

• This question type affects the scoring of only listening.
• Your speaking and writing skills are not tested with this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions, prompt, and response options.
• For more information download the Score Guide.