Category Archives: IELTS Listening (lessons)

labelling

Labelling a diagram practice exercise

Labelling a diagram practice exercise

In this post, there is a short listening exercise on labelling a diagram. We recommend reading the lesson about labelling a diagram before beginning this exercise.

Listen to the recording and identify the labels for questions 1 to 5.

NOTE: This is not a complete IELTS recording – it is only a short excerpt.

Labelling a diagram practice exercise

1. Show answer

Product

2. Show answer

Propellant

3. Show answer

Nozzle

4. Show answer

Inlet

5. Show answer

Spring
sentence-completion

Text completion questions in IELTS listening

Text completion questions in IELTS listening

NOTE: Take a look at our video lesson for this question type here.

Text-completion questions in IELTS listening are the same as in the reading. They can be either in the form of a summary or as short sentences which you have to complete.

 

Text completion questions in IELTS listeningTip 1: With either type, you can expect some information on the recording that will not be required to answer the questions. This is a good opportunity to use your note-taking skills, just in case you miss anything. You will have a little time after the listening test (while you are transferring your answers) to complete any remaining answers.

 

Tip 2: As with all question types in the listening test, the answer for text completion questions will come in the order of the recording. That is, if you hear the answer to question 2 but haven’t heard the answer to question 1, you’ve already missed it!

 

Tip 3: The most useful skill with this question type is to look quickly through the summary or sentences you are completing and highlight key words. This will help you identify the important section of the recording when you hear it. You should also use the predicting and anticipating skills presented in this lesson.

 

Tip 4: Once you believe you have found the correct answer, read the completed text including your answer, making sure that the sentence is grammatically accurate. For example:

Many people argue that harsher (1)________ would reduce crime rates.

You head the speaker referring to ‘laws’ and ‘the law’ during the recording, and you think the answer is ‘the law’, so you add this to the sentence and it becomes…

Many people argue that harsher (1) the law would reduce crime rates.

This is grammatically incorrect, so when transferring your answers at the end of the test, your best chance of getting the correct answer is to change your response to better suit:

Many people argue that harsher (1) laws would reduce crime rates.

However, it is VERY STRONGLY recommended that your answer stay within the word or words you hear on the recording (thanks to Magnus Ukeje for reiterating this point in the comments below!).

Practice exercise 1 – summary completion

Listen to the recording and fill in the gaps using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND OR A NUMBER. Remember to use predicting skills before starting the recording (spend no more than 30 seconds!)

Amongst increasing (1)_____ and political pressure to quit, there is finally some good news for smokers. Research presented to the (2)_____ of Cardiology states that there are sufficient beneficial (3)_____ in two glasses of red wine to suspend the negative impact that smoking (4)_____ has on the functioning of arteries. Of course, the (5)_____ do not suggest that drinking red wine allows you to smoke as much as you like, and it is still some distance from finding any kind of drug that is capable of reversing the harmful effects of (6)____ smoking. The health effects connected with red wine are not really new. The Romans and (7)_____ all considered it as a form of medicine, possibly because of the abundance of polyphenols, naturally occurring chemicals which have a (8)_____ effect on the arteries.

 

Completion question 1. Click here to see the answer
Social

 

Completion question 2. Click here to see the answer
European society

 

Completion question 3. Click here to see the answer
Chemicals

 

Completion question 4. Click here to see the answer
One / 1 cigarette

 

Completion question 5. Click here to see the answer
Findings

 

Completion question 6. Click here to see the answer
Long term

 

Completion question 7. Click here to see the answer
(The) Greeks

 

Completion question 7. Click here to see the answer
Cleansing

 

Practice exercise 2 – sentence completion

Now listen to the recording and complete the sentences using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND OR A NUMBER.

1 The Health Sciences building is next to the _____.
2 There are _____ each term.
3 In the first module, students will study health and safety in _____.
4 Students will have to complete a _____ by the end of the course.
5 There will be speakers from various _____ backgrounds.

 

Completion question 1. Click here to see the answer
History department

 

Completion question 2. Click here to see the answer
2 / Two modules

 

Completion question 3. Click here to see the answer
The workplace

 

Completion question 4. Click here to see the answer
Thesis

 

Completion question 5. Click here to see the answer
Medical
table-completion

Table completion questions in IELTS listening

Table completion questions in IELTS listening

Often in the IELTS listening test, you are required to complete missing information given in a table. One of the most useful skills  with this type of question is to look at the information already given and predict some of the answer types you will be listening for.

Table completion questions in IELTS listeningFor example, what type of answer would you expect for the table-completion question below?

Complete the table below with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER.

Travel Abroad Ltd – summer trips to Europe departing from the UK

 Destination Paris  Berlin  (1)_______
 Mode of transport  (2)_________  Coach  Train
 Date of departure   12 May  17 May  (3)_______
 Cost of trip   £712   (4)__________   £245
 Travel time  Less than one hour  18 hours  2 days

This is a relatively simple example (although this is something you could be required to complete for Section 1), but it shows the basic skills that you should use. With table-completion questions, look at the other data in the
table. Often you will see patterns which will indicate the type of information you should be listening for. If one column has nouns, then it is reasonable to expect you are looking for a noun. Also, be logical – use the information you have to roughly predict the information you will be listening for. For example, it is logical that a coach trip will be cheaper than a train trip.

Here’s some of the information you could have predicted about each answer:

Answer 1: logically, this would be a place, and likely a city (possibly even a capital city as Paris and Berlin are both capitals). If your geography of Europe and surrounding areas is good, you should also have predicted it is likely to be some distance from Paris, Berlin or London as the trip is by train and will take 2 days. However, it is still in Europe as stated in the title of the table (‘trips to Europe’).

Answer 2: you should have predicted that this is a more expensive but faster trip to the destination, so likely to be by aeroplane.

Answer 3: Clearly this a date, but you should also be able to estimate that it is likely to be close to May as this is the date for the other two trips, and also that the date must be in summer (the title of the table is ‘Summer trips’)

Answer 4: obviously a price in pounds sterling (UK currency). This is probably going to be the cheapest of all three because it is travelling by coach, which is generally cheaper than a train, and takes 18 hours.

Now try with an audio recording.

Before listening to the recording, look at the table and predict the type of missing information. Use the table headings at the top and on the left hand side to help you. Then play the recording and complete the table.

NOTE: This is a practice exercise – there are no word limits for these answers.

Sam John Mary
Attitude to recycling Doesn’t have time (1) (2)
Availability (3) No local recycling areas (4)
Ideas for the future (5) A reward scheme for
people who recycle

Audio:

 

Click here to check your answers

This is a practice exercise with no word limit, so you do not have to have the EXACT wording below.

  1. Thinks it can be difficult
  2. Always recycles
  3. Limited local facilities
  4. Very limited facilities
  5. Fine offenders

.

IELTS listening strategies for section 4

IELTS listening strategies for section 4

IELTS listening strategies for section 4

IELTS listening strategies for section 4 Over the 4 sections of the IELTS listening test, the recordings and questions become more challenging, so by the time you reach Section 4, you should expect it to be the most difficult. In order to get a good result, here are some useful tips and suggestions. Thanks to Khaled Manasrah for questions that led to creating this post!

Tip 1 – be prepared!

Knowing what to expect when the Section 4 recording begins is a great advantage, so here’s what you can expect. Unlike Sections 1, 2 and 3, Section 4 does not pause midway through the recording for you to read the next set of questions. However, you have more time before the recording begins to read through the questions (40 seconds instead of the normal 20 seconds).

Tip 2 – use the time given in Section 3

At the end of Section 3, the recording will say ‘You now have 30 seconds to check your answers’. However, we strongly recommend you use this time to only briefly check your answers to Section 3 – it is more important to quickly move on to Section 4 and start looking through the questions there.

Tip 3 – underline, circle and highlight important words in the questions

As you look through the questions in your preparation time, make sure that you are identifying key words and qualifying words in the question. Don’t just read them – circle them, underline, highlight them – anything that will make it easier to focus on the key points.

Tip 4 – use the questions to help you understand the recording

As Section 3 ends and you start looking through the questions for Section 4, you should be building a mental picture of what the Section 4 topic relates to. Are they talking about people, places, animals etc? As Section 4 begins (but before your 40 seconds preparation time), the announcer in the recording will give a brief description as well (e.g. ‘You will hear a lecturer talking about the subject of deforestation’) – this should add to your understanding of the recording and make following the context easier.

Tip 5 – use the questions to show you where the recording may change direction

Keeping track of where you are in the recording in relation to the questions is very important, so before the recording begins, try to identify where the focus of the questions changes. For example, if the first three questions are talking about one particular place, then the fourth question refers to a person, this should indicate a change in direction for the speaker and will let you know where you are in the recording.

Tip 6 – always read one question ahead

This is not specifically a tip for section 4 only – it is a good idea to know not just the next question, but the next two questions so if you miss one answer you are prepared for the next. It is particularly useful in Section 4 because if you lose your place in the first few questions, there is no midway pause for you to catch up!

Tip 7 – be realistic about getting ALL the answers

During the test you may find that you are waiting for an answer that you don’t hear, but you do hear the answer to the subsequent question. Because the questions in the listening test are all answered in order, this tells you that you have missed an answer. The main point here is not to panic or become stressed about that missed answer – simply move on with the recording. Remember that at the end of the test, you have 10 minutes to check your answers, so will have time then to make an educated guess for any missing answers.

We hope these tips have helped, but if you have a tip or suggestion that you think could help others, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

 

sentence-completion

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 4 VIDEO LESSON

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 4

Video lesson 4

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 4Here are four videos that will help you answer sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test.

When watching our learning videos, it’s a good idea to take notes of anything you think that is worth remembering – writing down useful tips is a more effective way of remembering them than just listening, reading or watching!

Video 4 of 4 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

See below the video for the narration

 

NARRATION:

Here are some additional tips for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test:

Tip 1. You should follow the instructions for the number of words.

Tip 2. Wrong spelling will cost you a point.

Tip 3. Consider the grammar of the question you are completing.

Tip 4. Although you may have predicted a possible answer, remain open minded as you are listening. For example, in question 37 of the practice you have just completed, we anticipated an age, although the actual answer was more general.

Tip 5. The part of the sentence you are given on the question paper will probably not be exactly the same as you hear in the recording. It is commonly a paraphrase or rephrase of what you are given. However, the actual answer is exactly what you hear.

Tip 6. Always write the word or words exactly as you hear them on the recording. For example, don’t change words you hear into plural forms. The final tip for this question type is that you should always read the completed sentence again after you have added your answer.

sentence-completion

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 3 VIDEO LESSON

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 3

Video lesson 3

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 3Here are four videos that will help you answer sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test.

When watching our learning videos, it’s a good idea to take notes of anything you think that is worth remembering – writing down useful tips is a more effective way of remembering them than just listening, reading or watching!

Video 3 of 4 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

See below the video for the narration

 

NARRATION:

Now we will consider how we found the correct answers. Having completed Step 1, we knew that we should be completing the questions with up to three words or a number. We also knew that because the instructions mentioned numbers that at least one of the answers was a number.

For question 31, you should have noted that the sentence talks about characteristics of New Zealand, saying that it is young and small. From the context of the question, we can see that we should have been looking for another characteristic of New Zealand. Remember that in this type of question, the sentences are often rephrases or paraphrases of what you hear. For example, although was mentioned as despite. The speaker commented that New Zealand is a relatively young country, a very close rephrase of the sentence in the question. It is worth noting that the information needed to answer the question was presented in a slightly different order in the recording.

For question 32, the context indicated that we were looking for a date. The actual answer was not simply a date, but a general time period – the late 1860s.

For question 33, three key points you should have listened for a reference to were the Haka, the All Blacks and Maori tribes. You should also have realised that you were looking for an adjective, as the noun ‘spirit’ was given in the question.

For question 34, you should have predicted that you were looking for another skill or attribute shown by New Zealand troops during the 2nd World War . Remember, of course, that you should also have anticipated rephrasing – teamwork and fitness are the same in both the recording and question. However, determination has been presented as willpower. That leaves us with the correct answer being strength.

For question 35, the context suggested that the answer could have been either a place or a date. The recording gives us the date of 1884.

The context of question 36 should have told you that the answer was likely to have been an adjective describing attitudes to sports and the outdoors. In the recording this was phrased as ‘participation in sporting activities and time spent outdoors is highly valued’.

Question 37 indicated that the answer was related to an age, with the keywords ‘Golden Oldies’. The actual answer was not an age such as 70 years old, but was more general. It was actually ‘late in life’.

NOW GO TO VIDEO 4 for sentence completion question in the IELTS listening test

 

 

sentence-completion

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 2 VIDEO LESSON

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 2

Video lesson 2

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test 2Here are four videos that will help you answer sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test.

When watching our learning videos, it’s a good idea to take notes of anything you think that is worth remembering – writing down useful tips is a more effective way of remembering them than just listening, reading or watching!

Video 2 of 4 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

See below the video for the narration

 

NARRATION:

Here are the steps for answering this type of question. The first step is that you should read the instructions carefully. Once you are sure you know what you should be doing, the next step is to quickly look through the questions to see what the recording is probably about. The third step is to identify the keywords on the question paper and consider how they might be rephrased and what they suggest you will need to look for. This will help you complete step 4, in which you should be predicting the type of answer you are looking for. These steps should have prepared you to listen efficiently when the recording begins. During the recording, you should listen as you follow the information already given in the question. This will help you identify the answer. The final step is to write your answer on the question paper but keep listening. You cannot afford to lose concentration while writing your answer as you may miss the next question. This is true for all question types. We are now going to practice these steps in a section 4 recording.

NOW GO TO VIDEO 3 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

 

 

sentence-completion

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test VIDEO LESSON

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

Video lesson

Sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening testHere are four videos that will help you answer sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test.

When watching our learning videos, it’s a good idea to take notes of anything you think that is worth remembering – writing down useful tips is a more effective way of remembering them than just listening, reading or watching!

Video 1 of 4 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

See below the video for the narration

 

NARRATION:

Sentence completion questions test your ability to follow the recording, identify key points and understand rephrased information in the questions. Here is a sample question style. With sentence completion questions, you have to complete a sentence using a number of words or a number. Generally there are no more than three words for one answer, but it is important to always read the instructions very carefully. A common error is when candidates decide on an answer but do not read the sentence again to check that it really fits the context of the completed sentence.

NOW GO TO VIDEO 2 for sentence completion questions in the IELTS listening test

 

 

how-to-stay-focused-during-the-ielts-listening-test

How to stay focused during the IELTS listening test

You should also look at this page for other tips and hints for IELTS listening

Unfortunately, losing focus during the IELTS listening test is very common, even for very high level candidates. Many people find that after the listening test has started, they realise that although they have been ‘listening’ to the recording and waiting for an answer, they haven’t actually heard what is happening and can no longer follow what the speaker or speakers are saying.

So what’s the problem? Why won’t my brain stay focused?

The main problem relates to ‘question paralysis’, where you are so focused on listening for an answer to a specific question that your normal listening skills are lost. The best technique here is to keep in mind that you need to follow the recording, regardless of the questions. Of course you need the answers, but most of your focus should be on listening to the flow of the conversation or monologue, considering what the speakers are saying.

This can often be achieved best by not constantly staring at the questions – read them in the time given before the recording begins, and causally glance at them, but for the most part, you should find that your eyes are unfocused and slightly glassy and that you are staring at a point on the wall or on the desk in front of you. You should return to the question paper (or screen) only when you need to double check a question or to write an answer/glance at the next question.

Active listening

You should also be using a technique referred to as ‘active listening’. As the name suggests, this mean that you are not casually sitting back and not paying attention – you are focused and listening carefully. Here are two tips to help improve your active listening:

  1. Mentally repeat the main points of what the speakers are saying. Of course, this must be done in your head and not out loud!
  2. Stay in the moment. Don’t play with your hair, pick at your fingernails, make doodles on your question paper. React in the same way that you would react if the speaker was right in front of you – nod, smile, shake your head (but don’t say anything out loud!)

So how can I practice?

One of the most effective (although boring!) ways of practising your active listening is to listen to a short recording and then transcribing (writing down) what you hear. To begin with, focus only on the main idea, but as you being to improve you will find that you will be able to listen to a longer piece of audio and transcribe almost everything you hear. You can practice this using the listening practice tests, then compare the notes you have transcribed with the transcript given.

Click here to go to the IELTS listening practice tests.

numbers

Listening for details in IELTS

Listening for details in IELTS

NOTE: This post includes 3 audio recordings, so make sure you have your speakers on or headphones attached.

In the IELTS listening test, you are often tested not just on your ability to listen for general information or to follow the approximate flow of the recording, but also to listen for very specific information.

Listening for details in IELTSSometimes specific information questions will also be spelled, but this is not guaranteed, so you need to develop the skills of listening for a specific piece of information, while at the same time continuing to listen to the general direction of the dialogue or monologue.

There are a number of different types of specific information you may need to listen to, including:

Practice #1

Listen to the recording and see if you can identify what the following numbers refer to. Click ‘Show answer’ when you’ve finished.

A. 1946 Show answer

This was the year that UNESCO was formed

B. 180 Show answer

This is the number of nations in UNESCO

C. 60 Show answer

This is the number of worldwide offices UNESCO has

D. 2001 Show answer

This is the year of the General Conference

Now practice by listening for specific dates. Listen to the recording below and note the following dates for these events:

1. Bastille Day

2. Elvis’ death

3. Burns’ Night

4. Martin Luther King Day

5. ANZAC day

Show the answers

Bastille Day – 14th July

Elvis’ death – 16th August

Burns’ Night – 25th January

Martin Luther King Day – 4th April

ANZAC day – 25th April

 

Now a third practice recording. Listen to the audio and identify the specific information needed to answer these questions:

Listening for specific information

 

Now take a look at these tips and hints for improving your listening skills for Section 4 – the most difficult section of the IELTS listening test!