PTE-Listening-MCQ Single Answer

There are a total of 8 tasks present in the listening section of the PTE Academic Exam and it lasts for about 45 to 57 minutes, depending on the combination of tasks that you are asked to complete.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the PTE Listening Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Question. This question is quite challenging to students for a number reasons. However, it becomes much easier if you learn a few simple strategies and skills.

Here is a detailed look at what you will find in this article:

PTE Listening Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Format

In this type of multiple-choice question, candidates are required to choose a single from a list of options in order to answer a question that is based on an audio recording. The type of question depends on the wording of the question, so be careful and make sure that you read the instructions carefully before attempting to answer.

The recording will start after 5 seconds and last for between 30 to 60 seconds. Each recording will play only once.

The recording will only be played once, so make sure that you listen attentively. There are no options to pause or rewind the audio, The recording is simply an audio version of the displayed transcript.

Once the recording has stopped you will be able to select multiple options. You should spend a maximum of 1.5 minutes on each MCQ.

There are two to three Multiple-choice, choose single answer items in the listening part of PTE Academic, depending on the combination of items in a given test. They are presented together in a single block.

This question tests your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate a brief recording on an academic subject. It assesses listening skill.

How Will This Question Be Displayed?

You will find the instructions at the top of the screen. Below that will be an audio status box, that will display the amount of time left for the audio to play, as well as whether the audio is playing or if it has finished.

The status box will count down from 5 seconds. Then a recording will play automatically and the status box will change to "Playing."

The audio status box also contains a blue bar that will gradually move to the right as the recording continues. There are some instances where you can get a video instead of an audio recording, concentrate on the audio, and don’t let the visuals distract you.

There will also be a slider, which you can use to adjust the volume to your own level of preference. You can adjust the slider by moving it to the left to decrease and the right to increase the volume. You are allowed to adjust the volume at any time while the recording is playing.

You will see a prompt with about 3 to 5 options. You need to simply click on the correct option to select it.

To select a response, click on the corresponding button or the response itself. Your response will be highlighted in yellow. To deselect your response, click on the button next to the response or the response again. If you want to change your selection, click on an alternative option.

Once you are satisfied with your answers, you can select the ‘next’ button to move onto the next question. Remember that listening tasks are not individually timed, so the timer will continue the countdown on the screen.

Here is how this question will appear on test day:

How Is This Question Scored?

Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

There is no negative marking for this particular question type, meaning that it is important to attempt every question since you have nothing to lose by trying. Who knows, your educated guess might just earn you a few points.

You can easily recognise whether a multiple-choice question has negative marking or not by taking a look at the way the options are displayed. Options that have squares next to them mean that the question is a multiple-choice, multiple answers question, with negative scoring.

Options that have circles next to them mean that the question is a multiple-choice, single answer question, with regular scoring and only one correct answer.

What Skills Does This Question Test?

Skills Assessed

This question assesses basic listening  comprehension skills and tests your ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate a short audio in an academic environment

To score well in this question you must be able to comprehend  English as spoken in a variety of different accents,

These questions might ask you to locate specific details from the audio or understand and answer a question based on the overall theme of the recording.

Here’s a detailed list of the skills you will be expected to perform for this question:

  • Main idea or gist: Read for and identify the main idea or theme of the recording.
  • Detailed information: Read for and identify specific details, facts, opinions, definitions, or sequences of events.
  • Speaker’s purpose: Read for and understand the function of what the speaker says or identify the reasons why the speaker mentions specific pieces of information.
  • Organization: Read for and identify the overall organization and connections between pieces of information. This evaluates your ability to link different parts of the recording together.
  • Inference: Listen for information that helps you infer meanings, form, generalizations, make predictions, find relationships or draw conclusions.
  • Stylistics: Listen out for and identify the speaker's attitude, feelings or degree of certainty on an issue

Strategies For Solving Listening Multiple Choice - Choose Single Answer Questions

Make sure to read the instructions carefully, this will help you to understand what type of answer you need to listen out for. It will tell you if you have to listen out for an opinion, a specific detail, a main idea or inference. Knowing this will help you select the correct answer.

Skim the response options quickly. Also, keep an eye on the audio status box and be prepared to focus on listening when the recording begins.

When the audio begins focus solely on listening carefully. Do not go back and read the options while the recording is playing

While listening to the recording focus on the general content of the recording. Try to understand the main points of the audio as well as specific details. You have to understand the context of the entire recording in order to be able to figure out which word goes at the end.

Also, note how much of the recording is left, since the missing word will be at the end of the recording

An erasable notebook and pen will be provided to you to make notes as you listen. Since time is scarce avoid making lengthy notes, as you might miss important information. Simply focus on keywords and phrases. Your notes should only serve to reinforce what you are listening to, so make sure that you focus on listening and not on notetaking. This will help to clarify your understanding of what you are listening to

Continue listening carefully until the end of the recording. Sometimes corrections are made by the speaker that negates information that was previously mentioned in the audio or they might add a new piece of information that might change your opinion about the correct response.

Now read the options carefully. Eliminate ones that are obviously incorrect, meaning the ones that contain incorrect information or information that is o contradictory. Now take a look at the remaining options. Try to think of the difference in the meaning of these options.

Once you have chosen an option, double-check to make sure it is correct.

Sometimes this question will contain options that are designed to purposely trick candidates. Such options might include words or phrases that are directly from the recording but are not related to that particular question. Make sure you focus on the overall meaning of both the audio and the options instead of merely matching keywords

Remember that except for the summarise spoken text question, the listening module is timed altogether. So you must click next as soon as you can, or else you will waste valuable time that will eat into your time for the other questions.

Tips And Tricks For The Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Question

Here are some tips for this question that will help you to maximize your score:

Confirm Your Answers.

Don’t depend simply on finding matches between words in the options and the audio. Most often the words in a question will match to a synonym of a word in the audio, whereas options that are meant to trick you might have multiple words that match the words in the audio but do not answer the question. So look out for synonyms and other words which might mean the same in that context.

Understand The Exact Meanings Of The Options.

Make sure you understand the subtle differences between the options and what is mentioned in the recording. For example, an option might say something like “the majority of birds are active during the day’ while the audio mentions that ‘numerous birds are active during the day. ‘The difference in meaning between the word’s majority (meaning most of) and numerous (meaning many) means that that the particular option is incorrect. So be careful and make sure you understand the exact meanings of each option.

Practice Question

Read the prompt. Then listen to the recording only once and select all the correct responses

Q. According to the speaker, how did the Seven Years' War contribute to the start of the American Revolution?

  • The British Parliament refused consent for higher taxes.
  • It led Britain to monitor more closely its colonial interests.
  • It caused the colonies to seek greater financial support from Britain.
  • It enabled Britain to further stretch the boundaries of its empire.


And then finally, briefly, ... [I want to] say a little bit about the way in which the Seven Years' War created a new sense of empire. I have put a question mark, [here] because there are questions about how new this [sense] is, but it certainly intensified Britain's interest in things imperial and, and I think most historians, both British and American, would agree that that new interest and that determination to govern the empire more closely played a key role in preparing the ground for the series of parliamentary attempts to tax the American colonies without their consent, which culminated in the rebellion and eventual independence of thirteen of them. So there's a close connection, and historians have always seen this, between the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution.


The British Parliament refused consent for higher taxes.

The speaker mentions that there was a ' series of parliamentary attempts to tax the American colonies without their consent' Therefore, this response is incorrect, because the British parliament did attempt to tax the American colonies. There is no mention that these taxes were in place already or that the British parliament attempted to increase the taxes.

It led Britain to monitor more closely its colonial interests.

This response is correct. The speaker states that the Seven Years' War created a new sense of empire, which resulted in Britain's determination to govern its empire more closely, in other words, to monitor more closely its colonial interests.

It caused the colonies to seek greater financial support from Britain.

This response is incorrect, since it is not mentioned anywhere in the recording.

It enabled Britain to further stretch the boundaries of its empire.

This response is incorrect, since it is not mentioned anywhere in the recording.