Preparing for Listening: Focus on Distractors.

In a Multiple Choice Listening  you need a bit of attention. In this kind of listening exercises there are always words and expressions which are designed to distract students from the correct answer. If you don’t know about these distractors, you are likely to be misled by them and choose the wrong answer.

The most important thing in this kind of listening exercises is to read the questions carefully. You are always given some time to read  through questions and answers, use that time. Listen very carefully to the details and make sure the answer you choose really matches what the question has asked you. It’s important to concentrate on understanding in detail .

♥Let’s look at an example

How long has Liz been snowboarding?

a. One year          b. five years            c. every year since she was a child.

The underlined words in the transcript  all appear in the possible answers a, b or c, but only one answer is correct. The other words are distractors.

♥Read the transcript, choose the right answer and say why the other are not correct

I first did it when I was on holiday with my parents- When I was younger I used to go skiing every year with them and then one year I tried snowboarding and I haven’t skied since then. That was 5 years ago.

These extracts have been taken from Listening Comprehensions. The distractors are in bold. Read them and then answer the questions

A. My brother was so scared he couldn’t watch the film whereas I didn’t find it at all frightening. ♥Is the speaker frightened by the film?

B. Although most critics agreed that the film was her best ever , I was rather disappointed by her performance.  ♥ Did the speaker love the film?

C. Although snow is now unlikely, we can expect a certain amount of rain later on.   ♥ Does the speaker think it will rain or snow?

D. My daughter wanted me to help her with her homework but I told her to ask her mother.   ♥ Did the speaker help his daughter?

E. Whereas in most of her other film she plays the “baddie”  in this one he’s definitely the good guy. ♥ Does the speaker say the actor is the villain or the hero in the film?

Answers: A. no   B. no   C. rain   E. the hero

Now, let’s do some practice.

You will hear  people talking in 8 different situations. For each question, choose the best answer.



Source: Ready for First Certificate and Cambridge FC Practice Tests 1

4 thoughts on “Preparing for Listening: Focus on Distractors.

  1. Your Listening Distractors post is excellent – I was just making students aware of them when you wrote yours and I will definitely get them to practise with it.
    In fact all your posts and blogs are great!
    Congratulations and keep up the good work!

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