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Everything IELTS Academic - A Comprehensive Guide to IELTS Academic

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  1. Paraphrasing Technique

    Paraphrasing Technique - Two Methods to Paraphrase a Sentence
    1 Quiz
  2. Reading
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  3. Part 2: Text Types in IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  4. Part 2: Questions Forms and Reading Rules
    2 Topics
  5. Part 4: Types of questions and Strategies
    9 Topics
  6. Part 5: Common Mistakes
    2 Topics
  7. Part 6: IELTS Academic Reading Practice Tests
    7 Quizzes
  8. Listening
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Listening
    4 Topics
    1 Quiz
  9. Part 2: Detailing Questions
    3 Topics
    5 Quizzes
  10. Part 3: Summary Questions
    4 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  11. Part 4: Common Mistakes
    4 Topics
  12. Part 5: IELTS Listening Practice Tests
    10 Quizzes
  13. Writing
    Part 1: IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Reports
    15 Topics
    7 Quizzes
  14. Part 2: IELTS Writing Task 2 - Essay
    16 Topics
    18 Quizzes
  15. Part 3: Two-task Practice Tests
    9 Quizzes
  16. Speaking
    Part 1: Introduction to IELTS Speaking
    3 Topics
  17. Part 2: A good IELTS Speaking Performance
    2 Topics
  18. Part 3: Common Mistakes in IELTS Speaking
  19. Part 4: IELTS Speaking Practice Tests
    7 Quizzes
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The tricks and the mistakes

This is the most common trick in IELTS Listening, in which a “flood” of information (distractors) is given before the real answer is mentioned. This type of information flooding creates the most common mistake in IELTS Listening where candidates would choose the first piece of information to answer the question.

This mistake often happens in Detailing questions, such as Fill in the gaps, and Single-choice questions, where candidates often choose the first piece of related information appearing in the recording to answer the questions.

There are three types of information flooding, namely generalizationspecification, and reverse.


This is a situation in which the answer is a generalized term of all the items mentioned before it. The term, or the answer, is mentioned after all the items have been named. Example 1 below is a generalization type of information flooding. “Outdoor” is the generalized term of all the items mentioned before it, “swimming”, “trekking”, and “rock climbing”.

Example 1:

Question: Huyen likes ___ activities.

Speaker Huyen: I am a big fan of things like swimming (1), trekking (2), rock climbing (3). Anything outdoor (4).

The answer is “outdoor”.

You often hear “swimming” and rush to write “swimming” as the answer, hence skipping the rest of the information, including the correct answer. Even when checking the answers and realizing that “swimming” does not make sense in the sentence, you do not have other information to fill the gap. So, the answer is incorrect.


This is a situation in which the answer is a specific item of a generalized term mentioned before it. The answer is an example of the generalized term. Example 2 below is a specification type of information flooding. “Piano” is an example of “classical instruments”.

The answer often appears after a set of related information.

Example 2:

Question: Erick is a classical guitarist. He also plays ___.

Speaker Erick: I am a big fan of music and I play several classical instruments, such as guitar and piano.

The answer is “piano”.

You often hear “classical instruments” and choose it as the answer to the question. However, this phrase does not match the meaning of the question because “guitar” is already mentioned in the first sentence, and in the question, the name of a specific instrument is needed. By the time you realize the mistake, the part is already over.


This is a situation where the order of information in the questions is opposite of the order of information in the recording, such as (in question) A-B, (in recording) B-A. Normally, the given information appears first then the missing information appears after that to confuse candidates.

Example 3: Information flooding in MCQs

Question: What does Erick think about the Art Museum?

  1. The preservation was not very good.
  2. It was not as impressive as he thought.
  3. He didn’t enjoy it.

You are going to hear a conversation between Huyen and her colleague, Erick, talking about the field trip they are planning for their students.  

Huyen: What about the Art Museum? It seems to be a popular choice.

Erick: That’s a good idea although some people have told me that it wasn’t as great as they expected. I went there once. I didn’t expect myself to be very impressed by the collections due to what others said but it was the opposite. The collections were really huge and diverse. Just that I don’t think they have done a good job of keeping the sculptures in good shape. Some of them were chipped and damaged. 

The answer is A.

At first, Erick mentions what other people said to him (they thought it wasn’t impressive), not what he thought (so, B is wrong). Then he mentions the time he visited the Art Museum and how he was not expecting it to be good, but it turned out to be very nice (so, he enjoyed it and C is wrong). Lastly, he mentions that some sculptures were not in good shape as the museum had not done a good job (so, A is correct).

You hear the first piece of information about what other people told Erick and assume that it is what Erick feels too, therefore, choose A as the answer.

Avoid the mistakes

The root of the mistakes related to information flooding is the rush. Candidates often rush to take the first piece of information as the answer and, therefore, miss the rest of the details, including the correct answer.

Knowing the root, to avoid the mistakes caused by information flooding, there are a few points you need to keep in mind.

  1. Do not assume that the first piece of related information is the answer. In most cases, it is not correct. It is just a trick.
  2. In detailing questions, you can guess the type of information you need for the gaps, generalized terms, or specific examples.
  3. When listing the information, there is usually a quick pause between each detail.
  4. Tracing information on the test questions and matching it with the information being spoken in the recording can help reduce confusion.
  5. Taking notes can help increase the chance of getting the correct answers.
  6. In SCQs, it is necessary to identify contradicting or irrelevant information (distractors) and focus on the key information to answer the questions.