TED IELTS: IELTS Listening Practice #1

I’m going to make a series of IELTS listening activities based around popular TED Talks. TED Talks are short talks (around 15 minutes long) based around a range of topics, including technology, education, science and health, given by some of the best speakers in the world. They’re great to watch!

They’re also great for practising your IELTS listening skills, especially if you want to reach the higher band levels (7.0 and above). Each TED Talk is a monologue, exactly the kind of listening you must do in Part 4 of the IELTS Listening test, and the topics are often very similar. So if you want to do well in part 4, listen to TED Talks.

Here’s a talk given by Michael Specter, an American science journalist. In this talk, he warns about recent science-denial trends, especially as it relates to vaccines.

Below the video are some IELTS Listening Part 4 practice questions. The questions relate to the section of the talk from 6:10 to 10:50. Try to answer the questions as you listen to the talk. The answers are at the bottom of the page, so you can check yourself. Good luck!

Questions 1 to 3: complete the sentences below with no more than two words:

  1. Just over a decade ago, a story was published which connected the _________ of autism to the MMR vaccine.
  1. The USA is only one of the nations on earth where the ________________ for measles is declining.
  1. Around the world, about _________ people die of measles every hour.

Questions 4 to 6: match the individual with what they did or do:

4. Jenny McCarthy

5. Jonas Salk

6. Paul Offit

A. Created a vaccine for polio

B. Lectures about the benefits of vaccines

C. Lectures about the dangers of vaccines

Questions 7 to 9: complete the sentences below with no more than two words:

7. A college classmate of Michael Specter told him she thought he was rather _________.

8. The only major effect of taking antioxidants is that they __________ your urine.

9. People are rejecting the traditional healthcare system and turning to ____________

Scroll down for the answers:











  1. epidemic
  2. vaccine rate
  3. 20
  4. C
  5. A
  6. B
  7. strident
  8. darken
  9. Big Placebo

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

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