IELTS Preparation Unit 7: Listening

Hello Everyone, I’m Norbert and I teach English in Kaplan Dublin. I’ve been teaching for over 8 years and have taught IELTS for a while now.

Today we will take a look at listening task completion, in particular predicting answers in gap filling exercises.

As you know, the listening part of the exam consists of 4 parts, the first 2 parts being general topics and part three and four being academic topics.

Part 1 – general, conversation, two participants

Part 2 – general, presentation – usually a single participant

Part 3 - academic, up to 3 or 4 participants (students and teachers)

Part 4 – academic, lecture – usually a single speaker

It is extremely important that you:

  • read and follow all the instructions carefully
  • read all the questions
  • highlight keywords
  • spend some time predicting answers
  • make sure that in gap filling exercises the words make logical and grammatical sense.

Look at the following exercise and decide on the appropriate word for each gap.

(Adapted from: Succeed in IELTS – Speaking and Vocabulary, GlobalELT)

Before you complete the exercise take some time and analyze each gap. 

  • Look at the words that precede and follow the gaps to decide on the type of word missing (noun, verb, adjective, etc.).
  • Make sure you notice whether any missing nouns are singular or plural.
  • Finally, keep in mind that the words must make logical sense in their given context.


Keeping Animals in Captivity: Read the passage against keeping animals in captivity below and fill in each gap with a suitable word or phrase from the box below. Use each word/phrase once only.Keeping animals in captivity is a form of  (a) _____________________ whatever way you look at it and there are countless examples of this. Take the circus,  where we make animals perform tricks for our (b) _____________________ and whip them when they do not. If that’s not bad enough, circus owners keep their animals in tiny (c) _____________________ and transport them all around the country in (d) _____________________ barely big enough for them to fit into. And what about the equestrian world? The wild, natural (e) _____________________ of the horses is ‘broken’ out of them (that is even the verb horse-breakers use…) and they are ‘trained’ – again with a whip – to be obedient and forced to race or jump, and risk serious harm in the process. And what happens when a horse gets injured? The owners simply get it (f) _____________________ . We even use animals to carry out laboratory (g) _____________________ . We test new (h) _____________________ and new drugs on animals, and we force them to endure all kinds of pain in the process. The zoo is supposed to be a safe (i) _____________________ though, right? Wrong.  In many poor countries, zoo animals are mistreated and left (j) _____________________ and lonely for lack of (k) _____________________ . And as for pets, well, we simply objectify them and treat them like toys if they’re lucky. If not, we (l) _____________________ them or (m) _____________________ them for the most part.
cures extinct companionship cosmetics cruelty cages
humane research unstimulated put down conservation pleasure
neglect respect haven educate appreciate spirit
abandon companions tests enclosures endangered

In the following exercise you are going to watch a presentation by Carolyn Porco from on the topic of space exploration.

Read the questions below and try to predict the answer before watching the video. Then watch the video and compare your predictions with the actual answers. Good luck, enjoy and let me know how you get on with the tasks.

1. When did humans step off this world?

2. We have set _________ on the moon and dispatched _______ spacecraft to all the planets.

3. We have visited Saturn in the early 1970s.                                                                   True/False

4. Cassini traveled through space for _______ years.

5. It reached Saturn in the __________________.

6. The Andromeda Nebula is the largest spring galaxy to the Milky Way.                          True/False

7. What are the names of the two moons of Saturn that the scientist discusses?

___________________   __________________

8. How many moons does Saturn have? _______

9. Based on context, what is ubiquitous? ______________________________

10. Say three things (in three words) about Titan you learnt from the presentation:

________________        _______________          ___________________

11. Methane and propane can be liquids at the surface temperatures of Titan.                  True/False

12. What is the temperature at the surface of Titan?  ____________________

13. Cataracts are           A/ large rivers               B/large lakes                 C/ large waterfalls

14. There is proper daylight on Titan.

15. There are very few craters on Titan, meaning it's a very ___________ surface.

16. It took the Huygen's probe 1.5 hours to descend. T/F 17. Why was the event giving her goose bumps?

Explain in 5 words: ____________________________________________________________________

18. Dendritic drainage patterns are

A/a butterfly shape pattern            B/a tree branch shape pattern                  C/a very geometric pattern

19. The probe landed in deep and heavy fluid.                                                                True/False

20. Lakes are found in the polar regions.                                                                                    True/False

21. Enceladus is _________ the size of Titan.

22. What is the conclusion they have arrived at about the jets spewed out to outer space? Use one word

only: ___________________

23. The discovery of life in our solar system would have implications. What implications exactly? Use two

words only: ________________       _________________

24. How old is the universe?  __________________________

25. What is genesis? Explain in two words: ____________________________________

Watch the presentation and check your answers.

Our other IELTS preparation articles:

1. Reading for Keywords
2. Capitalization
3. Tips for Speaking
4. Writing on the Subject
5. Pronouncing "S" and "Z"
6. Reading to Expand Your Vocabulary
8. Grammar: Nouns and Verbs

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