Brain Drain Listening Practice

This listening lesson has two different types of questions: list selection and sentence completion. This will also test your ability to know when to move from one question to the next. Make sure you use this lesson to also learn useful vocabulary because the brain drain is a common topic in writing task 2.

Questions 1-3

Which three reasons are given for the brain drain? Choose the correct letters A-G.

  • A) money
  • B) promotion opportunities
  • C) working with other professionals
  • D) quality of life
  • E) state-of-the-art equipment
  • F) political advancement
  • G) unemployment

Question 4

What problem does the brain drain cause developing countries? Choose one letter.

  • A) resentment
  • B) loss of facilities
  • C) conflict between remaining professionals
  • D) loss of reputation
  • E) loss of money
  • F) loss of materials

Question 5

Complete the sentence using no more than one word and/or a number.

In 2000, …….. million people, who were living outside their country of origin for more than one year, were employed.

  1. A
  2. D
  3. E (answers to questions 1-3 can be given in any order)
  4. E
  5. 65
Brain drain is the migration of skilled human resources for trade, education, health care and other sectors. Trained health professionals are needed in every part of the world. However, better standards of living draw many of them to more developed countries. Others decide to make the move because of better remuneration or for access to advanced modern technology.  For some the stable political conditions in the developed countries attract talent from less developed areas. The majority of migration is from developing to developed countries. This is of growing concern worldwide because of its impact on the health care systems in developing countries. These countries have invested in the education and training of young health professionals. This translates into a loss of considerable resources when these people migrate, with the benefit accruing to the recipient states who have not forked out to educate them. The intellectuals of any country are some of the most expensive resources because of their training in terms of material cost and time, and most importantly, because of lost opportunity. In 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world’s population, were living outside their country of birth for more than a year. Of these, about 65 million were economically active. This form of migration has in the past involved many health professionals: nurses and physicians have sought employment abroad for many reasons including high unemployment in their home country. (read more about this)


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  1. Mohammed Ali says:

    thanks so much brilliant Liza

  2. Omme_hashmi says:

    And Can u plzzzzz tel me why u wrote the answers like
    1) A
    2) D
    3) E
    Shouldn’t it be written like that A, D, E

    • The three letters are not for one question. The three letters are for three questions (questions 1, 2 and 3). This means one letter per question = one letter in one answer box on the answer sheet. Always pay attention to this or you will get all following answers marked wrong because they are on the wrong box.

  3. hi liz,
    your lessons are really helpful. here i have doubt with the exact meaning of state-of-the-art equipment. could you please explain it for me.

    thank you so much…


  4. mehwish says:

    hey liz , i have a query regarding question 4, there is no instruction for question 4 whether we will have to choose a letter or write a full answer like for question 1-3 there is clear instruction to choose a letter but there is no such instruction for question 4, kindly help in this regard
    thanks and regards

    • Well spotted!! 🙂 That won’t happen in your IELTS test. The instructions are always written very clearly.

  5. Faraz Imam says:

    Dear Liz,

    Wonderful job done! very helpful lessons. Stay blessed and Thank you

  6. Hello Liz,
    Thank you so much for your kind works. Each of your lessons is very helpful for me.
    I’m having a problem with only one questions of this lesson.Could you please tell me why the answer “E” is right for question 3 ?
    Thanks 🙂

    • loss of money: “these people migrate, with the benefit accruing to the recipient states who have not forked out to educate them” This means that the country pays for their education but then loses the people who migrate. Also “In 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world’s population, were living outside their country of birth for more than a year. Of these, about 65 million were economically active. “. This shows that people living outside their country are economically active. Don’t look for just synonyms – look for meaning.

  7. Sri Sushma says:

    Hi Liz,

    For Question 4 I feel even loss of materials, that is F is correct(in fact it can be taken directly from the passage read) while E has to be inferred ( I guess from the line that says something like “A lot has been invested …”.). Why is the answer E and not F?

    Thank you for your time.

    • The answer is found:
      The intellectuals of any country are some of the most expensive resources because of their training in terms of material cost and time, and most importantly, because of lost opportunity. In 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world’s population, were living outside their country of birth for more than a year. Of these, about 65 million were economically active.
      It does not mention anything about materials losses – they didn’t lose equipment or anything material. They only refer to material costs.

  8. Dear Liz, I love your lessons, especially the listening or reading parts which you professionally connect to the writing tasks. It’s awesome. I am learning many things. Thank you so much!

  9. ANKITPAREKH says:

    HI LIZ,


    • “political advancement” means someone who wants to advance their own political career, such as a politician.

  10. Geetika says:

    Hi Liz
    U r amazingly great!! Ur method of explaing makes u different from others. I always look for ur lesson firstly in case of need.
    God bless
    Thank n regards

  11. sheetal bob srikant says:

    Hi Liz
    Amazing practise sessions. I have benefitted greatly. Thank you so much.
    God bless.

    Warm regards

  12. Hi liz I would like to know which is the best way to score 8 in all band. What would be your advice?

    • 1. Develop band scores for each type of question in listening, reading, speaking and writing. This means going through each type very carefully.
      2. Develop paraphrasing skills for listening and reading. This means making a list of all paraphrases used in all exercises you do.
      3. Understand vocabulary more deeply. This means learn more about collocations and when words can or can’t be used.
      4. Learn about the requirements for band scores 5 to 8 in writing and speaking. You need to learn why band scores go down and why they go up. Learn what the examiner is looking for:
      5. The key to band 8 in speaking and writing is not only an excellent range of grammar and vocabulary but also a lack of errors. The majority of your sentences need to be error free.
      This will start you on the right track.

  13. Hello Mrs Liz, Thank you so much for everything you do to help us improve our English level.
    I noticed that some people were confused about some answers but the one that caused me trouble is G. I wonder if this sentence ” Nurses and physicians have sought employment abroad for many reasons including high unemplyment in their home country” doesn’t mean that unemployment is one of the reasons for the brain drain?
    Many thanks

    • Hi, Liz!

      Thanks a lot for nice tips and for your lessons. You do a great job for us who wants to improve the IELTS scores. Honestly, this lesson was a little bit difficult for me but could manage it.
      Just one request is it possible to underline the key words, phrases,sentences in the transcript. I think it helps to understand the right answers for those who cannot get it. Or just a brief explanation for each answer.

      Thanks in advance.
      Kind regards,

  14. Hey Liz
    I have found this website very helpful!!
    Liz , loss of concentration has become my difficulty while I listen…what will be your advise on “concentration ”

    Stay Blessed !!!

    • The only option is practice and more practice until you are accustomed to concentrating for longer periods of time. Remember that the tst is 2 hour 40 mins without a break. So make sure you do a full test and develop your concentration before your test.
      All the best

  15. Hello Miss.Liz ,

    thank u so much 4 useful lessons , but I have a note : u said before that we should not understand every thing just looking for the answers , I agree with u , but I think in this station 2 & 4 , I think we will not answer well if we don’t understand all the passage , because there is just a keys answers , Am I aright ?

    thank u again

  16. Liz, could you please explain why answer to 5th question is ’65’ and not ‘about 65’.
    In the record and transcript it is read/said “about 65 million”.

    In other materials on your site, in similar questions proper answer almost always includes additional word, usually “about”.
    In my opinion, when we talk about people it’s very unlikely that the number was exactly 65,000,000, so the “about” shall be used there.

    What do you think?

  17. mohamed ahmed besha says:

    in question 1 , why E is correct , i didn’t find it in transcript
    also , i why answer for Q4 is E , in the audio ” loss of considerable resources” that means the correct answer is B

    • Question 1 E: “for access to advanced modern technology”. This shows that state of the art equipment is a reason. In question 4, the word resources does not mean facilities. You can see what the countries lose: “The intellectuals of any country are some of the most expensive resources because of their training in terms of material cost and time”.
      All the best

  18. Sorry for bothering you again, but I have another question which I cannot find the satisfied answer on the internet. I, therefore, ask you for another favor. Could you explain why the phrase “… their country of birth…” is used instead of “…their countries of birth…”?

  19. Would you please review the structure: “This is of growing concern…”? As I heard in the audio, the sentence is “This is a growing concern…”. I am not sure I heard it right but I think the second one is more reasonable. Could you clarify it, please?

  20. this is so much confusing, all the answers are different, I heard the audio two times and then read the transcript but still confuse with the options given. Because in audio, I didn’t hear any of the words which are in answer list.

    Please explain this Teacher liz

    • Sorry but it means that you need to to find a teacher to help you. The answer key and transcript should be enough. The issue probably lies with your level of English which might be too limited for this level of listening.

  21. Hi Liz,

    In one of my practice listing test,which Is NOT MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER,one question was date of birth and recording said 31st March 1972.
    So it it correct if write answer as 31-March-1972 all attached with ‘ -‘.


    • If it states “and/or a number” you can’t have two numbers. If it states “and/or numbers” you can have both.

    • Hi Liz!

      My question is about the IELTS Listening

      when i listened the answer from recording it was 4th of NOVEMBER
      I WROTE THE ANSWER as i listen,i.e 4th November

      but when i checked my answer from the answer key it was 4 NOVEMBER


      • It is still right.

        • THX

        • Hi Liz i hope u will b fine !

          My Question is about the listening part while i attempting the Cambridge IELTS 3 WRITE NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS!

          When i listened the recording then i wrote the answer as “house wives”
          but when i checked it from the answer key that was there as aggregated one word .i.e housewives

          whether it would b wrong or right?

          if wrong then what is the criteria to know about when tow difference words will use as one word in aggregation ?

          • Please google information about compound nouns with and without hyphens. Some compound nouns are written as one word and some as two words and some with a hyphen joining them. This is an English test and it is testing your understanding of this. You need to google this information and learn it.
            All the best

  22. Whoaaaaa haha

    I could get 2 answers correct from 1-4 and that too because of my accounting/finance mind. 😀

    Question 5 is easy if we listen attentively.

    Thanks a lot Liz. Be Blessed !

  23. Mayur Kathiriya says:

    In question 1-3 , If i got two right of three, how much marks i will get? I mean it is required to have all answer right to get marks in this type of questions?


    • Each question is worth one point. So questions 1 to 3 – 3 points. If you only got 2 correct out of 3, you will get 2 points.
      All the best

  24. Muhammed Shamsuddin says:

    Hi Liz . It’s a little bit difficult for me as i could not guess any answer first time after hearing several times . After all you a excellent teachers . Many many thanks for helping us . I am so great full to you .

  25. I’m disappointed, My exam is on 12th of September and I need 6.5
    I’m a good speaker and I got band 7 in speaking section last exam,but 🙁
    I don’t have time to study the rest I do not know wt to do
    For instance, why it is 65 not 175 in Q5 ? I can’t catch such questions 🙁

    • Q5 is 65 because “65 million were economically active” which is about being employed. Read the information in the sentence and underline key words before you listen.

  26. hii Liz,
    I did not understand why the answer E for the 3rd question. In between, thanks a lot for such a wonderful site to learn IELTS.

    • See this sentence: Others decide to make the move because of better remuneration or for access to advanced modern technology.
      All the best

  27. hi liz, why the ans of Q.4 is E not B (loss of oportunities )

    • Because there is no mention of facilities. Opportunities means chance, it does not mean equipment. But it does clearly show that there is a loss of money.
      All the best

  28. Daniel Jaime says:

    Hi Liz!

    You’re an angel sent from heaven!

    You are making IELTS easier for us. We hope to get our realistic score with all your help!

    Many thanks and more power!

  29. Hi Liz,
    GOD BLESS YOU HEART!Thank you very much ! I will for sure.

  30. Hi Liz,
    I could not find any information in the text supporting for the choice A in question 1-3. Please help me clear!
    Thanks a lot!

    • The key is in these words “because of better remuneration…”
      All the best

      • kristina pamela says:

        Hi liz! this is a very good type of listening practice though i find it difficult but it is very realistic because we should be prepared for this kind of questions in Ielts, Please post more of this kind so we can study and practice more. Please please.
        Thank you! Your website is very helpful.

        • Yes, this is a challenging listening practice. Check my listening page for more listening exercises and I’ll post more over time.
          Glad my site is useful 🙂

  31. Hi Liz,
    I need a score of 7 to be admitted to University.Please any suggestions…Do I have to enroll in a class base?

    • You can practice your skills on this blog or find more in-depth training. I have just opened my IELTS online course but there is only one lesson on writing task 2 available at present. More will be added this summer: Alternatively, you can find a local teacher to help you.
      All the best

  32. Hi,
    My name is Azam i am from India.
    Your practice topics are fantastic and support me lot to impro my listening.But in some topic cannot find audio,i onlyu get to see souncloud which i cannot play.


    • Sorry, unfortunately, the audio for some lessons are sound cloud audios. I don’t have them available in other forms.
      All the best

  33. Farooqui says:

    excellent practice site

  34. very very very nice topic and questions but little difficult thanks Liz

  35. Hi, I am writing to share my experience which I have gained after listening to this task. I would like to say I have noticed that you Liz, speak much faster and less coherent than you do it on your IELTS lessons. I am not complaining about that, because I know that on IELTS speakers sound similar. The point that I am going to is the key that would help us, IELTS takers, understanding real native speaker. There are a lot of lessons of the one American on youtube who shows the way in which words are pronounced by native speaker. He presents this by writing down the sentences on the board and drawing colorful signs which for instance illustrate how some words are connected on pronunciating. For example if there is letter T in the end of the word, and it is followed by next T (this one is the first letter of next word), you do not pronounce both Ts, but only one T. Advices like that really help, unfortunately American accent is noticeable different than British ‘BBC’ so I would need lessons specially prepared for this accent.
    Not to elongate, I want to show one example from your speech: “Others decide to make THE move’ you pronounced like it was “Others decide to make A move’. The word ‘the’ was pronounced really ‘smoothly’. What is more, you are used to do something ‘magical’ that makes the words sounding like they were one word, some linkings are used by you.
    My question to you Liz is: could you prepare some lessons in which you would illustrate how native speakers you link words and how do they shorten them ? Thank you for attention and I am hoping for reply, thank you. Cheers 🙂

    • My IELTS lessons are when I speak as a teacher to students – so it’s slower and clearer. My IELTS listening exercises are when I speak as a native speaker at the same speed as in the IELTS listening test. Native speakers use linking in pronunciation. Words and sounds are linked together. This is also what is being tested in your speaking test for pronunciation. Only higher level students are good at linking in pronunciation.

      I hope to make some lessons about linking sounds in the future. Unfortunately, it will take some time.
      All the best

  36. answer 5 is why 65 with number instead of 175 please explain

    • Because the sentence completion question is about people who work or, in other words, who are “economically active”.

      • Tanisha says:

        Dear Liz,
        Your website if really tremendous. One clarification for me- answer of Q5 was the number of people who were unemployed. From the recording, we found that 65 million was economically active (Opposite of unemployed). So, I thought the answer would be 175-65=110 million. Could you please clarify?


  37. Anandita Rizki says:

    Hahaha. I was trapped in ‘political advancement’. Thanks, Liz! 🙂

  38. Hi Liz;

    I understood and agreed with your answer. However, I am wondering if “stable political conditions” could no be a paraphrase to “political advancement” in question 1-3?

    Kind regards

    • Hi Leo,

      Good question. “Stable political conditions” is about living in a country which is not at war and does not have political problems. “Political advancement” is about someone wanting to get promotion for their political career. We talk about someone advancing in their career. So, it is a completely different meaning but the words look similar. That is a common type of trap used by IELTS.

      • I see, now! Tks!

        • Hi Liz ,i am still not on why stable political condition is not an option here because it is stated that it attracts talents. I actual did not chose that option because A,D,E options out weighs it ,but its on a shaky ground.

          • Hi Magnus,

            Stable political conditions is one of the reasons for brain drain but there is no option for it in the answer list. In the list, there is “political aspirations” which is about a person hoping to develop their political career. So, that option is about someone’s work aims as a politician which is unrelated to the topic and isn’t a paraphrase for “political conditions”.
            All the best

  39. Thank you Liz

    I will try to attend all of your lessons

  40. Hi Liz
    i’m ilkhom from Uzbekistan i need speaking samples. Please, help me.
    Thank you for replying

  41. Hello Liz

    Would you please suggest me how can I improve my level of English?
    I need your help. Your website is the best I ever seen for IELTS.

    Thank you!


    • Hi Karish,

      It depends on how much you need to improve your English for IELTS. If you only need to improve your English a little, you can study from free websites to improve your grammar and vocabulary accuracy. You can also improve by doing wider reading. But don’t forget that improving your English is not just about learning the meaning of new words, it’s also about understand how and when you can and can’t use them. Here’s a link to my page which has a list of useful links at the bottom:

      If you need to improve your English a lot. You will need an English language teacher to help you. You will need to go to a good language school that helps you integrate new language into your speaking and writing.
      All the best

  42. Thank you
    I am from Bangladesh .I am so much glad with that . It’s really helpful for practice . Would I get another listening exercise because my exam is close at my door .Thanks again

  43. Thank you!!

    I’ve been following your blog. I really appreciate the effort that you put into teaching. I’m really learning. I’ll be taking the exam this month, and this is very helpful!

  44. Really a good and relevant topic to practice. Anser are not dHirec in the audion. We need a little bit an6alysong power to make all correct.
    Practive is exact as of real IELTS.
    Thank you liz for your generosity. Lots of people are taking advantage of your lesson. Reall

  45. kyumsun says:

    Excellent~!Good listening practice for multiple answers, though it wasn’t easy one. Thanks again~!

  46. hi Liz
    please share the link where is ans match with the topic and i dont understand the ans

    • Hi,

      The answers and transcript are under the audio. Just look down the page.

      • i check but dont understand

        • You will need to read through the transcript to find the answers if you can’t hear them in the audio recording. You will clearly see three reasons for brain drain. Question 4 is more difficult but is explained by countries “forking out [money] to educate” people. Question 5 is a simple number answer.

          Make sure your level of English is appropriate for the band score you want. This website focuses on IELTS skills rather than language development. So, you might need to find an English language website to improve your English level.
          All the best

          • money mean because better of remuneration………..
            quality of life mean better standards of living draw ………..
            state of equipment mean…………
            please check my ans

  47. What a nice essay! Thanks for those ideas for brain drain. I have some comments or query if you don’t mind:

    – What is the difference between ‘migration’ and ‘immigration’?
    – I think it’d be preferable to make the transcript segregated in paragraphs, so it’s easy to take advantages from the same lesson for writing as well. I think the second paragraph starts from ‘ The majority of migration..’, doesn’t it?

    All the best

  48. Abhijit Ekatpure says:

    Hi liz,
    Listening test is for academic or general specify but good to do the practice

    • Hi,

      There is only one listening test in IELTS. Both academic and GT students take the same test.

  49. Thank you
    i read in one essay
    it is written (red meat has been connected with heart disease)
    pls give
    Grammar tips for writting task 2
    thank you

    • Hi,

      This means it has been linked – there is a connection between eating red meat and heart disease.

  50. Hi liz
    It is ok to say he has been connected
    when we can use it

    • Hi,

      What do you mean? Did you see this in a reading or listening transcript? You will need to produce the whole sentence.

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