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How to write numbers in IELTS?

by IDP IELTS — July 8th, 2020

In all parts of the IELTS , you will see numbers in different ways. In this article, we will learn the different strategies for writing numbers, and learn how you should write numbers in IELTS.


In the IELTS Listening section, you have to write the numbers you listened. It is most likely to see numbers in the first part of the test, numbers may occur in 40 different questions, but at different parts.

You might hear numbers in the following forms 

  • Age
  • Currency
  • Measurement
  • Dates
  • Times
  • Telephone numbers
  • Credit card numbers

When referring to numbers in the Speaking test, make sure you practice saying them out loud. For example:

  • 100,000 = a hundred thousand
  • 2020 = two thousand and twenty or the year ‘twenty twenty’
  • 3,500 = three and a half thousand

When it comes to numbers in IELTS Reading, especially when there are multiple zeros, remember to carefully transfer your answers to the answer sheet. If the given numbers contain currency symbols or commas, be sure to copy them in the same way.

You may need to use numbers when explaining data in the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. You can type numbers as shown in word form or presented in the visual diagram. For example:

  • 10,000 or ten thousand
  • 25% or twenty-five percent
  • 75% or ¾

In addition to writing exact numbers, it is also useful to write approximately when the numbers are not shown exactly. For example:

  • Just above 65%
  • Under 70%
  • Over half
  • Almost 25%

Numbers can be presented in tens, hundreds, thousands, millions and billions. It is important to note which number is being referred to in the Y-axis of the diagram.  For example:

  • Millions of dollars were spent on transportation.
  • Australia spent 20 million dollars.
Hearing difference between numbers

The difference between the numbers of a similar sound, for example, thirteen and thirty, you must be able to articulate. The best way to do this is to find out where the stress is on word. While “teen” is stressed, “ty” is often said without stress.

13 – 30: thir teen - thir ty

14 – 40: four teen - for ty

15 – 50: fif teen - fif ty

16 – 60: six teen - six ty

17 – 70: seven teen - seven ty

18 – 80: eigh teen - eigh ty

19 – 90: nine teen - nine ty

How to write currency?

Dollars ($) and pounds (£) are the two most commonly used types of currency in IELTS.

You can write currency as:

  • Words ( ‘dollars’ ya da ‘pounds’) or
  • Currency symbols (e.g. $ or £)

When saying the amount of money, numbers can be said in different ways. Correct spelling is one of the most important factors affecting the Listening section. Writing with numerical numbers will be much easier and more accurate than writing the complete word. For example;

  • 4.50 = Four dollars fifty cents/ Four pound fifty
How to write measurements?

You may hear different measurements in your test. For example:

  • Centimetres
  • Kilometres
  • Kilograms

You can abbreviate the word when writing these measurements as numbers. For example, you can write 60 kilometres as:

  • Sixty kilometres
  • 60 kilometres
  • 60 km
  • 60 kms

All forms mentioned above are correct ways to write numbers. However, to avoid typing errors, write the numbers in number form, rather than typing as words.

How to write dates?

Dates can written in many different ways. You can use the number or word form, as well as abbreviate days of the week or months of the year. For example:

  • March 5th
  • Mar 5th
  • 5th of Mar
  • 03/05
  • 5/3

Be careful with ordinal numbers. Most ordinal numbers end with ‘th’ except for:

  • 1st (first)
  • 2nd (second)
  • 3rd (third)
  • 4th (fourth)
  • 5th (fifth)

For example, 2th, this will be marked as incorrect as the correct format is 2nd.

How to write time?

Zaman farklı şekillerde söylenebilse de genellikle aynı şekilde yazılır. Zaman yazarken quarter past (çeyrek geçe), quarter to (çeyrek kala) ve half past(buçuk) ifadelerini bildiğinizden emin olun. Örneğin;

  • 6:45 = Six forty-five or Quarter to seven
  • 6:15 = Six fifteen orQuarter past six
  • 6:30 = Six thirty or Half past six
How to write telephone and credit card numbers

There are a few things to remember with a sequence of numbers, especially in telephone or credit card numbers.

A 0 (zero) can sometimes be called ‘O’, like the letter. Also, the same number twice or three times in a row may be referred to as double or triple. For example:

  • 2450 - 7762 - 3338 = Double seven/ Triple three
  • 03 9658 9914 = ‘O’ three / Double nine

The numbers may sound unimportant, but they play an important role in English and IELTS test. Make sure you are able to write them correctly and get the best possible score. While preparing for your IELTS test, reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises of different number formats will help you achieve your target.

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