There are a number of different ways in which say and write down dates. The most common system is:
the 25th of October – speaking
25 October/25th October – writing, listening
Other variants to write dates for IELTS Listening
21(st) September / September 21 / 21 September — this fits ‘one word and/or a number’ in the instruction.
14(th) February 1987 / February 14, 1987 / the 14th of February 1987 / 14/02/1987
If you have to write down a date and there is a word limit of one word/two words, you should not write down “the” and “of”. It does not matter if you put the month before the date.
Dates like 1985 or 2014 are pronounced as ‘nineteen eighty-five’ and ‘twenty fourteen’.
For years between 2000 and 2010 is better to say, for example, ‘two thousand and one’.
Where there is 1 zero before the last number, the year can be pronounced in two ways:
2011 can be ‘two thousand and eleven’ or ‘twenty-eleven.’
2016 can be ‘two thousand and sixteen’ or ‘twenty-sixteen.’
You read or say ‘1800’ as ’18 hundred’ (‘eighteen hundred’). So ‘the 1800s’ is read as ‘the eighteen hundreds’.
Common IELTS traps
- Quite often you will hear more than date/time/number and the one you need is not the first one you hear. To make it harder, sometimes the speaker gives one piece of information and then goes back and corrects it. In this case, make sure you write down the second correct version.
- Another tricky situation:
- The question asks you for a date
- The speaker gives a day, month and year (e.g. 29th January 2016)
- But the instruction tells you to answer with one word and/or a number
This is confusing, but it is better to write 29th January as your answer, without the year.
So, make sure you write the day (number) and the month. Only put the year if the question asks for it (e.g. which year…?) or if the instruction allows you to include more than one number.