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IELTS Listening Diagrams Practice & Tips

Useful practice and tips for IELTS Listening Diagram Labelling Questions. IELTS listening diagrams can come in any section of the IELTS listening test. You will be presented with a visual diagram requiring you to either label parts of the diagram or complete notes in the diagram. It is important that you prepare for this type of IELTS listening question. Please note that the lessons below are not tests, they are practice lessons for IELTS listening diagrams.

Tips for IELTS Listening Diagram Labelling

  1. In your IELTS listening test, you can listen only once. There is no pause button.
  2. Different question types will have different instructions – pay attention to this! Word count!
  3. Read the questions carefully before listening. You will need to develop speed reading for this.
  4. Pay attention to keywords given in the diagram- they will help you find the answers.
  5. The information in the diagram will be presented in a logical order. Follow the order.
  6. Locate the question numbers on the diagram.
  7. The numbers will come in order in the listening test.
  8. Be ready for words to be paraphrased from the diagram.
  9. Note what kind of answer you are listening for: noun, verb, adj, number etc.
  10. When you check your answers for these lessons, always listen to the recording and read the transcript again for more practice.

IELTS Listening Practice: Mars Insight Probe

Read questions and review diagram before listening. Download pdf questions & diagram here: IELTS Listening Diagram Mars Probe

Questions 1 – 3

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

  1. The Insight probe will investigate Mars’ ………………
  2. The probe is currently situated near Mars’ …………..
  3. Scientists aim to learn about Mars’ composition from its core to its ………..

Questions 4 – 7

Complete the diagram below using no more than two words and/or numbers.

Diagram: Insight Lander

Source: Both diagram and article are from BBC NEWS

Answers & Transcript

Please click below to reveal vocabulary, transcript and answers:

  • plunge = dive, decent
  • vast = enormous
  • plain = large area of flat land without obstacles such as large rocks
  • core = centre
  • crust = hard outer layer of something
  • seismometer = an instrument that measures movement such as earthquakes
  • orbits = circles (vb)
  • pointers = clues
  • circular = round
  • deploy = move into position
Use the transcript below to check your answers, make a note of useful tips and paraphrases and also improve your pronunciation by listening to the recording and reading the transcript at the same time.

The US space agency Nasa has landed a new robot on Mars, otherwise known as the Red Planet. after a dramatic seven-minute plunge to the surface.,  The Insight probe aims to study the world’s deep interior, and make it the only planet – apart from Earth – that has been examined in this way. Insight is now sitting on a vast, flat plain, close to the Red Planet’s equator. This will be the first probe to dedicate its investigations to understanding Mars’ interior. Scientists want to know how the world is constructed – from its core to its crust.

Looking at the functions of the Insight probe shown on the diagram, we can see that at the top there is a robotic arm which places instruments such as the seismometer on the planet’s surface. Attached to the arm is an instrument monitoring camera. On the main body of the probe there are sensors for both temperature and wind as well as a rise antenna. This measures the movement of Mars’ North Pole as it orbits the sun giving pointers about the iron-rich centre of the planet and hopefully more information about the composition and size of the planet’s core. On either side of the main body of the probe are two large circular solar panels which were deployed immediately on landing to operate its systems and warm equipment in the sub-zero temperatures on the planet . To delve deep into the ground and measure the planet’s temperature, there is a heat flow probe that will penetrate to a depth of 5m or 16ft.

Answers have been written using all capital letters – this is recommended for both reading and listening answers.

  3. CRUST
    1. It is not necessary to use a comma – punctuation is not required in IELTS listening answers. Although using a comma is still acceptable.
    2. Writing the word “and” would make the answer incorrect for two reasons: 1) there is a word limit of max two words 2) the word “and” is already given in the diagram and cannot be part of the answer.
    3. Both words are necessary for one point. There are no half points.
    1. You must have the “s” on panels or the answer will be marked wrong.
    2. You cannot write “circular solar panels” because that is three words and the limit is two words. Also the word “circular” is purely descriptive to help the reader identify the solar panels on the diagram – it is not a word that makes up the compound noun.
  7.   5   16
    1. You must have both numbers for one point. If one number is wrong, the whole answer is marked wrong.
    2. See above about using commas.
    3. You should not put “m” or “ft” or use brackets () with the numbers because that is already given on the diagram. Your task is to write down what is missing.
    4. Note that the instructions for questions 1-3 and the instructions for 4-7 are not the same. Please check them again about the limit for numbers written in answers.


All the best


For more listening lessons and tips, go to the RED BAR at the top of the website. You will also find practice lessons for labelling maps in IELTS listening.

Listening Practice: Future of Libraries

A listening lesson about the future of libraries. This is an interesting topic that can appear in IELTS speaking, listening, reading and writing task 2. So, it’s well worth using this lesson to gain ideas and vocabulary. The questions are sentence completion which are common question types in IELTS listening.

Listening Practice: Future Libraries

Always read the questions carefully to spot keywords before listening.

Questions 1-5: No more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Libraries provide creative spaces and learning ………..
  2. Libraries can help to improve technological ……….. in society.
  3. ………… to any given book becomes possible using Library Bookmark.
  4. Patrons would be able to receive books at home using …………….
  5. Fingerlink allows the user to combine …………….. with a printed book.

Source: Information was taken from ebookfriendly.com. Their article contained more ideas for this topic so take a look.

Transcript & Answers

Click below to reveal the transcript and answers for this lesson.


Today, libraries are not only about lending books. They are creative spaces, not only for individuals, but also teams. They are economic incubators and learning hubs. Most of all, the libraries are the entry points to the digital world. They are the way to embrace technology and avoid digital exclusion. Therefore, to improve technological literacy of local communities, libraries should be equipped with relevant technologies.

Here are some suggestions for future improvements of technology in libraries:

  1. Library Bookmark: First of all, the device would be a perfect companion when navigating through the library, by giving turn-by-turn directions to the book the patron wants. The device could also keep track of all borrowed books, as well as remind the user of the return dates.
  2. Delivery Drones: To get the book from a library, you can either go and find it, or you can let it find you. The future belongs to the unmanned flying machines, and just like Amazon drones can deliver the goods to customers, libraries could deliver the books to patrons.
  3. FingerLink: It is a project currently developed by Fujitsu that will let you use digital tools to work with a printed book. It’s a stand you can put on a library desk. It includes two elements: a camera to read the information from the real world, and the projector to display digital information in the real world.

Spelling must be correct to have the answer marked correct. Using all capital letters is recommended for listening and reading answers.

  1. HUBS
    1. Brackets are used in the answer key of test books to show possible answers. In this case, it is possible to have the answer “drones” or “delivery drones”. You cannot use brackets in your test – you must choose only one answer.
    2. It is not possible to have “flying machines”. The paraphrase of drones is actually “unmanned flying machines” but it contains 3 words which goes over the word count limit.


All the best


For more IELTS preparation lessons, click on the RED BAR at the top of the website and access hundreds of free lessons, tips, model answers etc.

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IELTS Listening Multiple Choice Pictures

IELTS listening multiple choice pictures is when you need to choose the correct answer from a selection of pictures. It is one of the most difficult types of listening questions in your IELTS listening test. This particular listening lesson below is similar to the type of question you might get in Section 4 – the most difficult section in the IELTS listening test. However, picture multiple choice questions can come in any section of the listening test.

The listening practice below is mainly aimed at students who are band score 7 and above.  For students under band score 7, you can use this listening exercise to improve your vocabulary and listening technique.

Prepare both question and picture options before listening and choosing the answer. Answers are available below the audio.

Question 1

1. Which type of mammoth is this lecture going to focus on?

Choose the correct letter, A-C.

mammoth picture

 Picture from Sunday Times Magazine, 20/04/2014.


Answer & Transcript

Please click below to reveal vocabulary, transcript and answer:

mammoth = prehistoric animal now extinct similar in shape to an elephant
physiology = make-up / structure
prominent = major / outstanding
parts of an elephant and mammoth = tusks, trunk, large ears
huge / colossal = enormous / extremely large
There is evidence of much change and development in the mammoth. We can see the Ambelodon 20 million years ago, the Stegodon 12 million years ago and finally the Stegotetrabelodon which existed somewhere between 7.5 to 4.5 million years ago. There seem to have been a number of changes in the physiology of the mammoth, the most prominent were in the height, the size of the ears and the shape of the head and tusks. Today, I’m going to be focusing, on the one most of us associate with the ‘so-called’ classic shape and size of a mammoth and which is most known for its huge curving tusks and colossal size.
‘Today, I’m going to be focusing on….. which is most known for its huge curving tusks and colossal size.’


For more listening lessons, click here: IELTS Listening Practice and Tips

All the best



Listening Practice Blue-Footed Boobie Birds

Listening Practice for IELTS preparation. This topic was actually reported in the IELTS Reading Test. But, I have used it to create a listening exercise for you. There’s a funny video if you want to see these birds in action at the bottom of this article.

Blue-Footed Boobies Listening Exercise

Questions 1-8

No more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Strutting and showing off feet is part of the mating …………
  2. When a male boobie has very blue feet, he is considered ……………..
  3. Their name comes from the Spanish word for …………..
  4. On land, blue-footed boobies move  in a ………. manner.
  5. Blue-footed boobies fish in ……………….
  6. They eat small fish, for example ………….
  7. Their bodies are ………..  which is advantageous when diving.
  8. Adult boobies warm their chicks with their ……………….
  9. They usually have a maximum of ………. chicks.

Notice: Based on Article from National Geographic


The answers are now available for this lesson.



All the best


The Blue-Footed Boobie Video

Sorry this is not an educational video, but it is great fun to watch 🙂



Map Listening Practice: Farm Layout

Below you will find a map listening practice lesson which has been created to help you practise for your IELTS listening test. This is based on the layout of a farm.

Instructions for map listening

  • Review the map
  • Pay attention to the position of the answers
  • Note words already given on the map
  • Locate north
  • Listen to key words and follow the order of information
  • Questions come in order

Please note, these are not IELTS tests. These are free listening lessons which I have created for you.

Map Listening: Farm Layout

Recording Audio

In the IELTS listening test, you can listen only once.

Answers & Transcript

Click to reveal the transcript, answers and a list of keywords. I suggest you use the transcript first to listen and read before checking your answers.

Click below:


As you drive up the driveway you will immediately arrive in the parking area. You will see to your left the farmhouse where the farmer lives as you drive up and directly to the left of the parking area is the main shed. There are a number of smaller sheds located around the main shed which are not currently labelled on the map. In the northwest corner of the farm is a pasture area which is a wide grassy expanse. It provides rich organic grass for our cows and, along with other types of feed, gives us our organic status and key selling point.  From the parking area, you go east through the milk house, which is used daily, and then into the barn. This is where the cows are often sheltered. On the other side of the barn is the manure storage. To the north you will find the calf hutches which are located just beyond the maternity pens. Only 30% of our cows are used for breeding. In the bottom left corner of the barn is the loading chute. To the south are two circular areas, one of which is the feed storage and the other the deadstock area. We hope you will enjoy looking around our farm and learning about how we manage our cows.

  1. pasture area
  2. milk house
  3. maternity pens
  4. feed storage

Knowing keywords for maps and building plans is essential for success in IELTS listening.

  • You will see to your left…
  • directly to the left of ….
  • located around
  • which are not currently labelled on the map
  • In the northwest corner
  • From the parking area, you go east
  • On the other side
  • To the north you will find
  • which are located just beyond….
  • In the bottom left corner of the barn
  • To the south are two circular areas

Adapted from royal.gov.uk


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Listening Practice: Royal Wedding

This listening practice is based on the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Megan Markle in the UK.

Royal Wedding Listening Practice

Listening Questions 1-8

This listening practice is designed to check your ability to listen for numbers.

  • Always read through the questions before listening.
  • Get your pencil and paper ready to make notes!!
  • It’s quite an easy listening exercise, but there are a lot of numbers to note down 🙂


Answers should be no more than one word and/or a number.

  1. When did Queen Victoria get married?
  2. Which date in May did Prince Harry and Megan get married?
  3. How many people were invited to their wedding?
  4. How old is Prince Philip?
  5. What is the approximate cost of the wedding?
  6. How long was the bride’s veil?
  7. How many people watched the wedding worldwide?
  8. What year was Anne Boleyn executed?

Recording Audio

Listen only once.


The answers are available to this lesson. Click below to see the answers:


All the best


For more listening practice, click here: Listening Practice & Tips for IELTS

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Listening for Paraphrases

This is a new lesson which focuses on your ability to listen for paraphrases and synonyms. This is a skill which you need to do well in your IELTS listening test. This is a short listening practice to help you improve your vocabulary and listening ability. The topic of salt was in the IELTS listening test this month.

In the IELTS listening test, you can listening only once. However, with this practice lesson, you can listen twice if you need to.

The History of Salt: Listening Practice

Questions 1 – 7

Which words can you hear in the recording that have the same meaning as the words below?

Answers will come in order. Answers might be one word or more.

  1. acquired
  2. familiar with
  3. thousands of years
  4. animal skins
  5. limited
  6. originates
  7. world

Listening Practice: Recording

Let me know if you think this is a useful lesson – I’ll make more if it helps you 🙂


Click below to see the answers for this lesson:

Click here: Answers for Salt Listening Paraphrases

All the best



How Nilay Scored IELTS 8.5 Overall

Nilay scored 8.5 Overall in the IELTS Academic test this month. Below are his tips for his great score in IELTS.

Nilay’s Scores: Overall 8.5

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking: 8

Nilay’s Tips for IELTS 8.5

Nilay here. I am an orthopedic surgeon from India and currently trying to specialize in spine surgery. I appeared for the IELTS to register with the Canadian medical boards for which I needed minimum 7 in each of the four categories. This was the academic version.

To summarize the prep, I gave it around 12-14 days part time. I had been aware of your videos and thought to just concentrate on that during last 3 to 4 days and I attribute a large part of my writing score to your tips. I didn’t opt for paid tutorials but I feel that the content you generously provide is more than enough in most cases. Having said that, I was planning to get your paid tutorials if I couldn’t cross the required threshold of 7/9 in writing; I was reasonably certain I would cross 7 in RW and S. My tips are summarized here.
Reading Tips- As a compulsive reader, I was a bit overconfident when I started out the prep and expected to score a perfect 9 each time. My behind was handed back to me promptly by the No/Not Given dilemma. Your tips on that cleared out the webs and I highly recommend that video to polish the reading score. One thing I realized in the exam is that the reading paragraphs can be difficult and must not be underestimated even if you are good at reading to begin with. I consider myself a very fast reader and still had only 8-10 mins left at the end. I would advise underlining key words and phrases as it makes it easier to fish out the answers.  I wrote in all caps as advised.
Listening Tips – Tricky proposition. I feel that IELTS listening section doesn’t evaluate your listening capability but rather evaluates your presence of mind and multi-tasking ability to listen, note and paraphrase at the same time. I am very well versed with major accents and still made mistakes in answers due to missing plurals, not catching the exact words and sometimes missing paraphrases at the end of tests. I would really advise going through Cambridge practice tests to refine this. They are the real counterparts to the exam. I can’t stress enough on scanning the questions in advance, predicting answers and using the 30 seconds given to go over your last batch of answers to scan the questions ahead instead.  Presence of mind is really important or you would make a mess of it. Also, all caps again.
Speaking Tips –  Didn’t prepare much for it except for going through your tips and speaking to a local instructor I knew. I am fluent but I speak too fast and maybe that reflected on what I consider a lower score on my speaking test. Also, this is a live interaction test and your score will depend upon your rapport with and impression upon the examiner even if they are trained to disregard those factors. I more or less had  a friendly conversation and was asked questions about skilled and unskilled jobs in last part. I think the trick here is to fill up the time allotted and keep on speaking. I attribute the shavings in my score to speed and my roundabout answer to a bizarre question about soft and hard skills. I could have done better here.
Writing Tips – Last but not the least. I have BAD handwriting which live up to all the cliches about illegibility of doctors. This was a big issue for me with IELTS being a written exam. I realized that all my writing skills would be for naught if it looked like someone dipped ants in ink pot and let them loose on the paper. So I ditched the cursive, zoomed in the fonts and increased the space between words and made several people go through it till their satisfaction. I was confident about my vocabulary and grammar, so that helped but this exam is all about sticking to the format.  I can not stress enough how helpful your writing section videos are. I stuck to the outline stressed upon by you for both the tasks and I was rewarded. I made sure to follow the cite-support-example format for body paragraphs on task two; it really eased the though organization process. Task one is straightforward but it’s important not to get mired into details and just focus on major trends and data points. I didn’t have problem with time and word count. But even if you do, I really suggest taking 2 minutes to read the task and then a minute or so to jot down writing points on paper; paragraph wise. Also keep a minute or two at the end to go over your writing. Do not try to correct or improve large sections of a sentence but concentrate on spell check, grammatical gaffes and punctuation marks.
  To conclude [the format ,the format!], I am satisfied with my result and would thank you for your generous online help. I really stress upon test takers to go through your videos which I consider the best resource available online for this test. I hope my experience helps future test takers. Best of luck to you all!
Message to Nilay: Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I know students will be inspired by your results and also grateful for the experiences you have shared. Well done again with your excellent score 🙂