Here's another interesting TED video. Please remember that this type of listening is more difficult than IELTS, so don't worry if you need to turn the subtitles on. Try to understand the overall message, and pick up some new phrases if you can.
Listen to the recording, then fill the gaps in the summary below.
Community service is the practice of ______ or ______ unpaid work. Examples of projects include cleaning a park, collecting items for ______ or cleaning ______ verges. Other examples include ______ children with learning disabilities or ______ money for the local area. Some students must do community service in order to receive their ______ ______ ______. 'Service learning' means that students have to show how their work has ______ to their education.
Listen to the recording and answer the questions below.
1. Which 3D printed product can already be bought?
C) mobile phones
2. Which THREE materials can be used in 3D printers?
3. Fill the gaps below with no more than TWO words.
Advantages of 3D printing:
As the technology develops, it will allow many products to be ______. Items will be delivered digitally, therefore reducing ______ and permitting more local manufacturing. The process will also lead to a reduction in ______ and a rise in ______.
Listen to the following recording on the subject of multitasking.
1. How does the first speaker describe multitasking? Choose ONE answer.
A) it is a myth
B) it is efficient but distracting
C) it reduces the time that tasks take
2. Which TWO statements are true according to the second speaker?
A) people who can multitask are more effective
B) people should always focus on one thing only
C) we need permission to get things done
D) the brain is less productive when we are distracted
E) organisations are unproductive if they are constantly on-line
When you hear the 'keywords' from the question, you can usually expect to hear the answer just after them. However, sometimes the speaker has already said the answer before you hear the 'keywords'. Here's an example to show you what I mean:
Question (from Cambridge IELTS 7):
Undiscovered material may be damaged by ______.
When listening to the recording, you are waiting to hear the keywords "undiscovered material" and "damaged by", and you are hoping to hear the answer after hearing those keywords.
This is what you hear:
Don't make fires, however romantic it may seem. It's really dangerous in dry areas, and you can easily burn priceless undiscovered material by doing so.
Can you see that the answer came before the keywords "undiscovered material"? What is the correct answer?
There isn't a special technique to help you with this type of question; you just need to be aware that you might have heard the answer before you hear the 'keywords'.
Listen to the following interview about the problem of litter on a beach in England.
Fill the gaps in the summary below:
Over the _____ of the last weekend, the local authority collected 20 tonnes of rubbish from one beach. It costs the authority a great _____ of money to collect the rubbish, but they take _____ in their beach, and they want to _____ visitors. The leader of the local council would like people to take _____ for their rubbish and take it home.
He believes that there is an _____ of personal responsibility, but that suppliers should also think about how they _____ their goods. He says that the council needs to attack the problem at both _____.
Listen to two students talking about lectures and seminars at university, and fill the gaps in the summaries below.
University lectures involve everyone on a course ______ up and receiving information from one of the ______ about a particular topic. Seminars, on the other hand, are ______ group meetings in which students discuss in detail the ______ of ideas that they heard about in a lecture.
A university timetable will consist of a ______ of lectures and seminars. The number of people in lectures can ______ depending on the course. For my course we have about 400 people in a big lecture ______. The number of people attending a small-group seminar ______ between 10 and 20.
I've talked about 'keywords' and keyword tables in many of my reading lessons (including yesterday's video lesson), but we haven't really looked at the same idea in the context of the listening test.
The table below shows the key vocabulary for test 4, section 3 in Cambridge IELTS book 5. Notice how the questions and answers contain similar words, just like those in the reading test.
Have you ever made a keyword table for a listening test? I think it's a really useful exercise, especially for sections 3 and 4.
Section 4 is the most difficult part of the listening test for the following reasons:
Here's my tip: Don't worry too much about this section. Try to get as many points from the other 3 sections as you can, and this will allow you to lose points in section 4. Remember that you can make 10 mistakes and still get a band 7.
Are you doing the following things in order to prepare and practise for the IELTS listening test?
If you're doing all of these things, keep going! You might not notice it, but your listening will be improving gradually.
Part 1 is supposed to be the easy part of the listening test. It is almost always a simple gap-fill exercise with basic information about some kind of booking or appointment.
But does this mean that you don't need to practise part 1? The answer is no.
I recommend doing lots of practice for part 1. You should be aiming for 10 out of 10 in this part of the listening test because it is likely that you will lose points in parts 2, 3 and 4. In fact, a good idea would be to focus exclusively on part 1 until you regularly get 10 out of 10. Get as many of the official Cambridge books as you can, and do all of the part 1 questions. Don't move on to parts 2, 3 and 4 until you master part 1.
Here's another interesting TED presentation. The quick gap-fill exercise below comes from the start of the talk, but I'd recommend watching the whole thing if you have time. Turn the subtitles on if you need help.
We live in difficult and challenging ______ ______, of course. And one of the first ______ of difficult economic times, I think, is public spending of any kind, but certainly in the ______ ______ at the moment is public spending for science, and particularly curiosity-______ science and exploration. So I want to try and convince you in about 15 minutes that that's a ridiculous and ______ thing to do.
People often ask me the following question:
Is it acceptable to write words like "bookshop" or "seafood" as two words (book shop, sea food)?
To answer this question, you need to look at the question instructions.
Note: When doing practice tests, use a dictionary to find out whether we normally write one word or two.
The following video is part of a documentary about the issue of advertising to children. As well as being good listening practice, the ideas in the video are really useful for IELTS writing and speaking.
Watch the video and fill the gaps in the summary below.
If you can't see the video, listen to the recording below.
Here's an interesting presentation that millions of people have watched on YouTube. As well as making useful listening practice, it might help you with ideas for writing task 2 (money topic). The clear descriptions of graphs and bar charts are also useful for writing task 1.
Remember to note down any useful phrases that you hear.
Fill the gaps below with a MAXIMUM of THREE WORDS.
Common mistakes when writing a CV:
1. Having a ______ CV without a good structure.
2. Writing ______, with long paragraphs or sentences, will lose people's ______.
3. It's often hard to spot your own ______.
4. Unexplained gaps in the dates on your CV will raise questions about what you might be ______.
5. A gap in the dates could cause an employer to think ______.
Watch the following video or listen to the recording below it.
Fill each gap in the summary below using a maximum of 2 words.
People think that blended learning could be the next _____ in education. In a nutshell, blended learning is a mix of face-to-face learning and _____. A concrete example is a teacher who records maths videos and posts them onto her school’s _____. Students can watch the videos and take tests. A report tells the teacher how well her students understood the _____, and this means that she can plan her next lesson _____.
It's a good idea to do practice tests (e.g. using the Cambridge IELTS books) in preparation for the listening exam. Here's some advice to help you benefit from doing practice tests:
1. Your score is not the most important thing
The important thing is what you have learnt by doing the test. Were there any new words or phrases that you can learn? What did you find difficult? Did any of the questions trick you? In other words, what do you need to do to improve your score?
2. Check how accurate your answers are
Be strict with yourself; every grammar or spelling mistake is important. For example, if the speaker says "The library has a collection of newspapers", you must not write "collection of newspaper".
3. Get into the habit of moving on
If you missed something, forget about it and move on. Always prepare for the next question rather than worrying about a previous question. When you are given 30 seconds to check your answers, use the time to look at the next section instead.
Sometimes you have to label a diagram in the listening test. For example, the diagram below comes from Cambridge IELTS book 7.
Many students miss the answers for this type of question because they get "lost" on the diagram. They don't know where to look.
There is one simple technique to avoid this problem: whenever you see a diagram, look for the question numbers. You will always hear the answers in the correct order, so your eyes should go to the first question number first, then move around the diagram following the numbers.
For the question above, your eyes should be looking at the bottom of the picture (question 11) when the recording starts, and your ears should be listening for "stop B".
Multiple choice questions can be difficult, especially when the speaker mentions all of the possible choices. Look at this example (Cambridge 7, page 15):
Janice thinks that employers should encourage workers who are
A) potential leaders.
B) open to new ideas.
C) good at teamwork.
This is what Janice says:
"Well, currently teamwork is in fashion in the workplace and in my opinion the importance of the individual is generally neglected. What managers should be targeting is those employees who can take the lead in a situation and are not afraid to accept the idea of responsibility."
As you can see, all three of the choices are mentioned. You really need to concentrate for this kind of question - don't just write the first thing you hear.
So, which answer is correct, and why?
Watch the following video or listen to the recording below it.
Fill the gaps below. Which city does each phrase refer to?
Listen to the information about driving tests, and answer the questions below.
1. Fill the gaps below with no more than 3 words.
On the day of your test, you need to take the following with you:
- both parts of your ______
- theory test ______
- appointment letter or ______
2. What two things will the examiner do before the test?
A) Ask for a paper driving licence
B) Check your paperwork
C) Speak to your driving instructor
D) Give you the option of bringing your driving instructor with you
E) Give you and your instructor some feedback
3. Which two of the following statements are true of the test?
A) An eyesight check is not part of the test
B) You can ask the examiner questions about safety
C) You have to drive in a variety of traffic conditions
D) The test lasts about 10 minutes
E) You will be asked to follow signs or spoken instructions
The "nature or nurture" topic has appeared in different parts of the IELTS test. Do you know what "nature or nurture" means?
Watch the video and fill the gaps in the summary below.
We are all born with certain physical characteristics ______ by our genes. But does our DNA ______ how we act? Researchers say that genes help control how we ______ our environment, but can environment influence which genes are ______? That leads to debate over the role parents play in ______ their children. Some believe the stronger ______ influences happen outside the home. As scientists study DNA, they are starting to understand better what makes us ______.
If you can't see the video, here's an audio version:
Yesterday I gave you a link to the reading test samples on ielts.org (the official IELTS website). Here's the link to the listening samples:
Print the question sheets first. Don't try to do the tests on your computer.
Listen to the following excerpt from a talk about innovation, and fill the gaps in the summary below.
Are we getting overwhelmed with an always-connected, ______-______ lifestyle, and is that going to lead to less ______ thoughts as we move away from the slower, deeper, contemplative state of reading?
The great ______ of scientific and technological innovation has been the historic increase in ______, and our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people, and to borrow other people’s ______ and combine them with our ______ and turn them into something new. That has been the primary ______ of creativity and innovation over the last 600 or 700 years.
It’s true we’re more ______, but what has happened that is really miraculous and marvelous over the last 15 years is that we have so many new ways to ______ and find other people who have that ______ piece that will complete the idea we’re working on.
Listen to the following advice about how to reduce your spending.
Which TWO of the following tips are NOT given by the speaker?
A) Don’t go shopping when you’ve had a bad day.
B) Don’t spend what you don’t have.
C) Pay off your debts first.
D) Look after what you own.
E) Replace your car every four years.
F) Buy things second-hand.