Listening Test Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

This is Section 4 Part 1 of our Listening Test. Make sure you have completed the other listening test parts before you start this one:

Listening Test Section 1
Listening Test Section 2
Listening Test Section 3

Remember that section 4 of the IELTS listening test is a monologue, typically a lecture in an academic context. This section of our test will begin with a Summary Completion Question Type.


Completing a Summary

IELTSTutors Tips

  • Make sure you read and understand the summary of the text before you listen.
  • Predict what kind of information is missing in each gap. Could it be a name/place/date/time/verb/adjective? etc.
  • If you miss an answer, just move on to the next gap. When the recording has finished, you can go back and guess any answers that you missed.

Before we begin to listen, let’s practice these tips with some tasks.


Practice Task 1 | Understand the Summary

​It is important to understand the summary before you write any answers. Read the summary below.
Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town in the West Midlands of England roughly _____ miles from Birmingham. The town was first settled in the _____ by Anglo Saxon people. The first written mention of the town dates to after the Norman _____. Lord John Courtances redesigned the settlement in the 12th century. Many _____ and tradesmen moved to the town to take advantage of the weekly market. Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564 and later attended the _____ in the town. Tourism in Stratford began to take off after David Garrick, an _____, held a Shakespeare festival in the town in 1769, and tourism is now the town’s main source of visitors and income.

Are the following statements about the summary true or false?

1. The summary is about the life and work of William Shakespeare.
2. Six pieces of information are missing from the summary.
3. Stratford-upon-Avon is in the south of England.
4. Stratford-upon-Avon was rebuilt by Lord John Courtances.
5. We are not told when the town was redesigned.
6. The town was the birthplace of Shakespeare.
7. The summary provides a brief history of the town of Stratford.
8. Tourism is important to the town.


Practice Task 2 | What Information is Missing?

​Read the summary again. What type of information is missing form each gap? Click on an option in the box and then click on to the gap. You may use each option in the box more than once.
Click or touch a word above
Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town in the West Midlands of England around 1. miles from Birmingham. The town was first settled in the 2. by Anglo Saxon people. The first written mention of the town dates to after the Norman 3. . Lord John Courtances redesigned the settlement in the 12th century. Many 4. and tradesmen moved to the town to take advantage of the weekly market. Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564 and later attended the 5. in the town. Tourism in Stratford began to take off after David Garrick, an 6. , held a Shakespeare festival in the town in 1769, and tourism is now the town’s main source of visitors and income.

Now that we understand the summary and know what kind of information is missing, we are ready to listen.


Questions 31 – 36

Complete the summary below by writing NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS in the spaces provided. 

Listening Practice Test 41.mp3
File Size: 1728 kb
File Type: mp3

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Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town in the West Midlands of England around 31) miles from Birmingham. The town was first settled in the 32) by Anglo Saxon people. The first written mention of the town dates to after the Norman 33) . Lord John Courtances redesigned the settlement in the 12th century. Many 34) and tradesmen moved to the town to take advantage of the weekly market. Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564 and later attended the 35) in the town. Tourism in Stratford began to take off after David Garrick, an 36) , held a Shakespeare festival in the town in 1769, and tourism is now the town’s main source of visitors and income.

Not sure about the answers? Have a look at the answer guide below.


Answer Guide

31

‘The town is roughly 22 miles South East of Birmingham and 100 miles North West of London’.
We see that ‘roughly’ is a synonym of ‘around’. The mention of Birmingham makes this question simpler.

32

‘After the fall of the Roman Empire, the invading Anglo Saxons built the first settlement at what would one day become known as Stratford-upon-Avon in the seventh century’.
We know we are looking for a time period here, and the words ‘settlement’ and ‘Anglo Saxons’ prepares us for the answer. 

33

‘Stratford’s first mention in the written records was after the Norman conquest in the twelfth century’.
We hear a synonym of ‘written mention’ with ‘written records’. 

34

‘(Local) merchants rented buildings in the town in order to trade and do business.’ Later we hear ‘Lord John’s plans to develop Stratford into a town meant Stratford became a place of work for tradesmen and merchants’. 
When we hear the name Lord John Courtances we should be prepared to write the answer. ‘(merchants) moved to the town…’ is paraphrased here with ‘merchants rented buildings’ and later ‘…became a place of work for…merchants’.

35

‘He attended King’s New School in the town, which to this day, is still a functioning school, however, these days, both boys and girls can attend the institution’.
This question is made simpler by both the audio and summary using the word ‘attended’. We should be ready for this answer as soon as we hear Shakespeare’s name.

36

‘In 1769, the actor David Garrick staged a major Shakespeare festival over three days which saw the construction of a theatre and the influx of many visitors’.
We know that 36 contains information about David Garrick, and the only extra information we are provided about him is that he is an actor. 

Before we move on to the last question set of the test, we should go through the audio and the script to identify new vocabulary and practice our pronunciation by copying the phrases of the speaker. 

Press play below to listen again and read the script. Write down new words and find their meanings in a dictionary. Also memorize their pronunciation and the context they are used in.

The Audio Script

Lecturer:​
Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town of roughly 25,000 inhabitants which is found in the county of Warwickshire in the West Midlands of England. The town is roughly 22 miles South East of Birmingham and 100 miles North West of London. The pretty town is most famous for being the home of England’s most beloved playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, and for this reason it receives 2.5 million visitors a year. The town is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company which is based in Stratford’s very own Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
 
Although most people only know about Stratford because of Shakespeare, the history of the town actually goes back much farther. The very name of the town, Stratford-upon-Avon, is derived from the old English words for street and ford, or river crossing and this gives an indication of the age of the settlement. The street referred to is of Roman origin and is known as the Fosse Way. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the invading Anglo Saxons built the first settlement at what would one day become known as Stratford-upon-Avon in the seventh century. However, very little is known about the early history of the town.
 
Stratford’s first mention in the written records was after the Norman conquest in the twelfth century. At this time, it seems that the village of Stratford belonged to the church of Worcester. By the late twelfth century a local aristocrat, Lord John Courtances, had control of the village and decided to develop it in to a market town. A new town was designed and laid out on a grid system in the year 1196. Local merchants rented buildings in the town in order to trade and do business. At this time, markets could only be held if the king granted a market permit. King Richard I granted a permit for a weekly market to be held in Stratford and this lead to Stratford’s development as a prosperous small market town.
 
Lord John’s plans to develop Stratford into a town meant Stratford became a place of work for tradesmen and merchants. By 1252 the town had approximately 240 properties for rent, as well as shops, stalls and other buildings.
 
Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford. In fact, the house he is believed to have been born in, little changed from the sixteenth century, can still be visited. He attended King’s New School in the town, which to this day, is still a functioning school, however, these days, both boys and girls can attend the institution. Shakespeare made his name in London, but later retired to Stratford in his old age, where he bought property and later died of unknown causes. Some sources attribute his death to an ‘overly merry night’ drinking with Ben Jonson in 1616.
 
In 1769, the actor David Garrick staged a major Shakespeare festival over three days which saw the construction of a theatre and the influx of many visitors. This really started the modern tourist trade in Stratford which is still booming year on year with ever growing numbers of visitors fascinated by the life and the work of Stratford’s great playwright.

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