IELTS Listening Practice: Building the Eiffel Tower

This IELTS listening practice is based on sentence completion questions and diagram labelling. You need to prepare all questions before listening.

For the sentence completion, check what type of answer you need for each question and underline key words that will help you identify the answer when you hear it. For the diagrams, read the instructions carefully to find the type of answer you need.

IELTS Listening: The Eiffel Tower

Questions 1-5

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

  1. In 1884, two …………… came up with the concept of building tall tower.
  2. The plan was for the tower to be ……….. feet in height.
  3. Assembly of the supports took ……………. to finish.
  4. During construction, precision of work was measured to …………. of a millimetre.
  5. The construction team has responsibility for ……………. to ………… workers.

Questions 6 – 7

Label the diagram below with the correct dates using no more than one word and/or numbers.IELTS Listening Eiffel Tower



Click below to reveal the answers:

  1. engineers / chief engineers (either answer is correct)
  2. 1000
  3. 22 months (the number can be written as a hyphenated word. The word “months” must be plural.)
  4. a tenth (“a” is needed for the answer to be correct. All sentences must be grammatically correct when completed)
  5. 150    300 (both numbers are needed for the correct answer. No punctuation is required between them)
  6. 15 March 1888 / 15th March 1888 (the full date is required)
  7. 12 March  1889 / 12th March 1889 (the full date is required)

The plan to build a tower 300 metres high was conceived as part of preparations for the World’s Fair of 1889. Two chief engineers in Eiffel’s company, had the idea for a very tall tower in June 1884. The tower project was a bold extension of this principle – equivalent to the symbolic figure of 1000 feet.

The assembly of the supports began on July 1, 1887 and was completed twenty-two months later. All the elements were prepared in Eiffel’s factory located  on the outskirts of Paris. Each of the 18,000 pieces used to construct the Eiffel Tower were specifically designed and calculated, traced out to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre and then put together forming new pieces around five metres each. A team of constructors, who had worked on the great metal viaduct projects, were responsible for the 150 to 300 workers on site assembling this gigantic set.

Photographic evidence at the time showed the four stages of the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The first photo was taken after the construction of the first floor on the 15th March 1888 and the following photos were taken over a period of about a year. The constructions were finally finished on the 12th March 1889 which is when the last photo was taken. On the narrow platform at the top, Eiffel received his decoration from the Legion of Honour.

read more about the Eiffel Tower Construction 

  • conceived = thought up / planned
  • bold = daring / courageous
  • construct = build
  • calculated = measured
  • traced = copied
  • on site – at the location of the building
  • gigantic = huge
  • finished / completed


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IELTS Listening Practice: Sports Festival

IELTS summary completion and sentence completion practice for listening about the topic of sport.


  • Spend time reading through the questions for the summary and sentence completion because the audio will cover all questions.
  • Pay attention to the title and key words in the questions.
  • Predict the type of answer you will need to listen for (grammar will help you).
  • Notice that the instructions (word count) changes as the type of question changes – pay attention to this.
  • Be ready to move from one set of questions to another. Identify a key word that will help you to know when to move questions.
  • Remember that some key words can be paraphrased.

Mongolian Sports Festival

Questions 1 – 3

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

Naadam is a festival of three sports in Mongolia: (1)……………….. horse racing and archery. This festival is traditionally for men and takes place during (2)……………….. Previously, women were unable to (3)………………. in the festival but now they can take part in two out of the three sports.

Questions 4 – 6

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

  • 4) Historically, this festival was used to generate ………………….
  • 5) People don ……………………………… for the festival.
  • 6) Each year the celebration is held between ……. and ……………….


Answers & Vocabulary

Click below to see answers:

  1. wrestling
  2. midsummer (one word)
  3. participate or compete (two possible options)
  4. warriors or skillful warriors (must be plural) or skillful men
  5. colourful clothes or traditional clothes or distinctive clothes (three possible options but no more than two words possible for the answer)
  6. 11 13 July / 11th 13th July (you must have both numbers and the month. The month does not need to start with a capital letter. See this page regarding the use of capital letters: IELTS Listening Tips)

Naadam is a traditional games festival in Mongolia comprising of three sports: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. It is otherwise known as “the three games of men” because traditionally men were the only ones who could compete.  It is held over midsummer throughout the country. Nowadays, women are able to participate in archery and horse racing but not wrestling. The name “Naadam” means “festival or feast of sports”.

In ancient times, the Mongolian great kings and military generals used to train their warriors and the warriors’ main battle tool, horses, through this competition. While competing and feasting, those three manly traditional sports have been used to create skillful men for centuries.

During the festival, Mongolians dress in colourful and distinctive traditional clothes and ride their most beautiful horses. Official festival celebrations take place throughout the country between 11th and 13th July annually.  The Naadam celebration in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is the most marvelous.

Useful Vocabulary
  • comprising of = made up of / consisting of
  • wrestling – a sport of holding and throwing an opponent to the ground
    • mongolia_naadam_10
  • archery – using a bow and arrow to hit a target
    • Naadam_women_archery
  • compete = participate / take part in
  • to be held / to take place
  • in ancient times = historically
  • manly = activities suited to a man
  • generate = create
  • to dress = to don (this is formal verb)
  • marvelous = spectacular (this synonym is used only in this context)


Naadam Festival Information

Watch a great video about this wonderful festival in Mongolia. The person giving the information is Mongolian and does make mistakes with English but she still has a wide range of interesting vocabulary and can explain her ideas clearly.

Below is some excellent vocabulary that was used in this video:

  • delighted
  • preparing warriors for combat
  • huge
  • great noise / shouting
  • rush
  • testing not only speed but endurance
  • bare feet
  • saddle
  • cheering
  • sharpness
  • brings the community together
  • harsh weather
  • lifts the spirits of everyone

You may consider her accent difficult to understand in parts but her vocabulary, as you can see above, is very strong and flexible. She is able to explain her ideas and concepts very clearly.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if there any special customs or celebrations in your country that you wish me to make a lesson for. Liz

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IELTS Listening: Filling in the Missing Word

Filling in the missing word is a common task for IELTS listening. This is mainly known as sentence completion or summary completion. The lesson below gives you some practice with how to fill in the gaps.

Practice completing sentences for IELTS listening by filling in the sentences below with a missing word. Read through the sentences carefully before you listen. Predict what type of word you need to listen for and also plan any possible paraphrases for words in the sentences. These types of listening questions are called sentence completion. Your answ

IELTS Listening: Fireworks

Questions 1- 8

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Specialists in fireworks include ……….. to create special effects.
  2. Fireworks are made by putting all materials in a ………
  3. Fireworks were invented by the ……………
  4. The first firework created a loud ……….
  5. Fireworks appeared in Europe by the ………………
  6. The ………… firework launches high into the air and explodes at a certain height.
  7. The long tube fireworks are called ……………..
  8. …………… is used to create a bright white light.



The original fireworks were made from gunpowder, which is a mixture of ingredients including saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal. Today experts at handling explosives, called pyrotechnicians, add chemicals for special effects. There are many different kinds of fireworks but they are all made in a similar way. The ingredients are placed in a shell, it is then wrapped up and a fuse is added. In factories, where the fireworks are made, safety precautions are used to make sure a single static electric shock does not create an explosion.

Fireworks have been around for centuries and are believed to have been first made by the Chinese. A Chinese document, dated about 1040AD, showed how to wrap gunpowder in paper to make a “fire pill”. This small firecracker made a very loud bang which was thought to ward off evil spirits. By the 13th century, fireworks had made their way to Europe where their popularity grew. By the 1500’s, fireworks were used in celebrations and special events. The Italians were the masters of fireworks by the 17th century.

There are a number of different types of fireworks these days and each of them works in a particular way. The rocket firework has a substance which explodes and shoots the firework into the air. When the rocket reaches a particular height, another spark causes it to blow up, releasing fine metal powders into the air. Roman candles are long tubes which shoot balls of chemicals from one end creating a series of flaming stars. Fountains are cone shaped and a small hole allows gases to escape, shooting coloured sparks into the air. Adding magnesium gives off a bright white light. Other ingredients give off different types of light when they become hot which is how colours are created.

  1. chemicals
  2. shell
  3. Chinese (You do not need a capital letter at the beginning for this to be correct)
  4. bang
  5. 13th century
  6. rocket
  7. Roman candles (If your spelling is wrong, the answer is incorrect. The capital letter is not important.)
  8. Magnesium (if your spelling is wrong, your answer is incorrect – you don’t need a capital letter even if it is at the beginning of the word. See my tips for info about this: IELTS Listening Tips)

Information from cbbc news

  • add = include
  • put in = placed in
  • invented by = first made by
  • made = created
  • appeared in = made their way to
  • launches into the air = shoots into the air
  • particular = certain
  • used to create = gives off

You will see that the paraphrases are not difficult. The main difficulty is all the extra information that is given which can be confusing to hear. Keep your mind focused on listening for answers and try not to be distracted by extra information.



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Sentence Completion Questions in IELTS Reading

When you get sentence completion questions you must fill in the miss word or words with an appropriate word(s) taken from the reading passage. The completed sentence must be grammatically correct. This is a common type of question in IELTS reading. Below is a reading exercise for these types of questions, it is not an IELTS test paper. The passage is a similar level to academic reading.

Skim read the passage below and then spend time reading through the sentences in each question. Preparing paraphrased for words and think about what type of word you need to find to fill in the gap. Remember that answers do come in order.

Water Pollution

Clean and plentiful water provides the foundation for prosperous communities. We rely on clean water to survive, yet right now we are heading towards a water crisis. Changing climate patterns are threatening lakes and rivers, and key sources that we tap for drinking water are being overdrawn or tainted with pollution. NRDC experts are helping to secure safe and sufficient water for people and the environment by:

  • Promoting water efficiency strategies to help decrease the amount of water wasted;
  • Protecting our water from pollution by defending the Clean Water Act and advocating for solutions like green infrastructure;
  • Helping prepare cities, counties and states for water-related challenges they will face as a result of climate change; and
  • Ensuring that waterways have enough water to support vibrant aquatic ecosystems. Qs
    Complete the sentences below with the correct word(s) taken from the passage. Use no more than three words and/or a number.
    1. The keystone to any thriving society is to have ………………. water.
    2. It can be said that a ………………. is currently imminent.
    3. One way to help keep water clean is by the construction of …………………..
    4. Dirty water can be a ………………. as chemicals and other pollutants enter the water supply.
    5. Due to a lack of ……………….., some of our water resources are at risk of pollution.

Dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk, and continues to threaten both quality of life and public health in the United States. When water from rain and melting snow runs off roofs and roads into our rivers, it picks up toxic chemicals, dirt, trash and disease-carrying organisms along the way. Many of our water resources also lack basic protection, making them vulnerable to pollution from factory farms, industrial plants, and activities like fracking. This can lead to drinking water contamination, habitat degradation and beach closures. NRDC is working to protect our water from pollution by:

  • Drawing on existing protections in the Clean Water Act, and working to ensure that the law’s pollution control programs apply to all important waterways, including headwater streams and wetlands, which provide drinking water for 117 million Americans;
  • Improving protections to reduce pollutants like bacteria and viruses, which threaten Americans’ health and well being; and
  • Establishing new pollution limits for top problem areas, such as sources of runoff and sewage overflows.

Questions 1-5

Complete the sentences below with the correct word(s) taken from the passage. Use no more than three words and/or a number.

  1. The keystone to any thriving society is to have ………………. water.
  2. With the increase in water pollution a ………………. is imminent.
  3. One way to help keep water clean is by the construction of …………………..
  4. Dirty water can be a ………………. as chemicals and other pollutants enter the water supply.
  5. Due to a lack of ……………….., some of our water resources are at risk of pollution.


Click to reveal the answers below:

  1. clean and plentiful
  2. water crisis
  3. green infrastructure
  4. health risk
  5. basic protection (protection)

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


Vocab Builder
  • foundation = keystone / bedrock
  • prosperous = thriving / flourishing
  • key = vital / critical / major
  • tainted = contaminated / polluted  / fouled / spoiled
  • advocating = backing / supporting
  • vibrant = alive / energetic
  • toxic = lethal / deadly / poisonous



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IELTS Listening Practice: Sentence Completion

Sentence Completion for IELTS Listening

This IELTS listening practice is based on sentence completion or gap fill questions. Read through the sentences, predict what types of answers you need for each gap and then listen to complete the sentences. Pay attention to the number of words possible for each answer. This is similar to listening in section 2.

Why we have festivals

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Festivals are useful to ……………… the cultural traditions of different countries.
  2. The majority of festivals can be traced back to a cultural ………..
  3. Festivals are a time when …………….. are put aside.
  4. Although countries have different festivals, their ……………. is often the same.


A festival is an event which is celebrated collectively. Festivals are mostly celebrated to propagate the cultural heritage of nations. Most festivals have their origins in a cultural belief which has been passed down through the generations. Festivals help to promote solidarity and the patriotic spirit in society by bring people closer together in harmony as they celebrate the festival. During this time, differences are forgotten and the national cultural identity predominates. By celebrating international festivals, it helps to promote tolerance, reduce racial conflict and encourages the acceptance of cultural diversity in a country. While there are marked differences in the way festivals are celebrated all over the world, there is a similarity in the purpose that the festival serves.

  1. propagate
  2. belief
  3. differences (the answer must be plural)
  4. purpose


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IELTS Listening Practice: Sentence Completion

This IELTS listening practice exercise is a gap fill (sentence completion) question and the level of this lesson is similar to section 4 of the real IELTS listening test – it is an academic lecture with one speaker using academic language.

Sentence Completion Question

Complete the following sentences uses no more than two words and/or a number.

Comet Landing

1.1. Philae’s goal is to collect information about the makeup of the comet’s surface and also to capture ………….. of the surface.
2. Philae could have missed the landing because of an ………………. in Rosetta’s orbit.
3. The time delay between Rosetta and the controllers on Earth was ……………….
4. The lander found its own way down to the comet after release as there was no ………… on the lander.
5. There is an element of ………. in landing in a good location on the comet.
6. The lander can drill ……………… into the exterior of the comet for stability.

Click below:

Rosetta spacecraft released Philae lander which landed successfully on a comet on 12 November 2014 at 08:35 GMT. The Philae lander achieved the first-ever controlled touchdown on a comet nucleus. The aim of Philae is to obtain the first images of the surface of the comet as well as make the first in situ analysis to determine the composition of the comet.
An inaccuracy of a few millimetres per second in Rosetta’s orbit could have resulted in Philae completely missing the comet. The descent, monitored from Esa’s mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, lasted about seven hours. Because the comet is about 510 million km from Earth, communication between Rosetta and controllers takes about 28 minutes each way. As a consequence, confirmation of the landing came through just after 16:04 GMT.
There was no steering of the lander down to the comet’s surface. Once released, it was on a path of its own. A certain amount of luck was needed for Philae to land in a nice spot. When the lander hit the surface, harpoons were fired to be used as anchors, although they do not appear to have anchored the craft as intended. The lander also has footscrews to drill into the surface of the comet to keep it secure. Now it’s on the surface of the comet, Philae can get to work. Drills, ovens, cameras and sensors onboard Philae will analyse everything from the surface composition and temperature to the presence of amino acids – essential building blocks in the chemistry of life. (from BBC news)
  1. images
  2. inaccuracy
  3. about 28 minutes / about 28 min
  4. steering
  5. luck
  6. footscrews
  • nucleus = center / core
  • in situ = in position
  • to determine = establish / conclude / decide
  • composition = makeup / consistancy
  • an inaccuracy = mistake / error
  • to release = liberate / let go
  • to anchor = fasten / secure
  • to fire = to discharge / shoot
  • intended = planned


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IELTS Reading Practice: Sentence Completion

An exercise for IELTS Reading Sentence Completion. Read the passage below and then answer the questions.

The War on Smoking

Make no mistake, the move to introduce plain packaging is just the latest front in the war against smoking. Over the past decade, there has been a ban on smoking in public places and moves to restrict displays in shops. But one of the issues that has been concerning health experts and ministers is the number of people who continue to take up smoking, particularly young people.
More than 200,000 under-16’s start in the UK each year – helping ensure a viable market remains for manufacturers once the number of people quitting and dying is taken into account. In countries like the UK where there is a ban on advertising, the pack remains the last major vehicle for promotion. Hence the detail and care taken in the design of the packets with their laminated and special print effects, foil decorations and slide openings and bevelled edges. It should come as no surprise therefore to learn that they have become known as the “silent salesman” and “mobile billboard” within the industry. They are that important. (Passage from here)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences. Choose no more than two words and / or a number from the passage for each answer.

  1. …………………… is the most recent strategy to tackle the problem of smoking.
  2. The large number of new smokers, particularly under 16’s, makes certain that cigarette companies will always have a ……………………………….. .
  3. In some countries, packaging is the only method that cigarette companies have for ………………….
  4. Packets are seen as being the ………………………………….. in the cigarette industry.


Click below to reveal the answers.

1. plain packaging
2. viable market
3. promotion
4. silent salesman / mobile billboard (you should choose one answer. If you put both, it is an incorrect answer

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


  • the latest front = the most recent development
  • to establish = to introduce
  • makes certain = helps ensure
  • only method of = the last vehicle for
  • edge = side
  • are seen as being = have become known as
  • come as no surprise = be expected


IELTS Reading: Sentence Completion

IELTS sentence completion questions are very common in IELTS reading. This practice is to help you understand about the importance of paraphrasing. You need to learn which words can and cannot be paraphrased. Read the passage below and then answer the questions.

Penguin Facts

Penguins are one of about 40 species of flightless birds, a category that also includes the ostrich, emu and kiwi. Penguins are neither the smallest nor the largest of the lot, but some may think of them as the most interesting.
These waddling birds are known for their white bellies and dark-colored backs and wings, resembling a tuxedo. This distinct coloring is thought to hide penguins from predators in the sea. Besides its coloring, a penguin’s body is designed for swimming, and includes tapering at both ends of the body for hydrodynamics, paddle-like wings and web-shaped feet.

Questions 1-2
Complete the sentences. Choose no more than two words and / or a number from the passage for each answer.
1. The ostrich, emu, kiwi and penguin are from the same group of ……….… birds.
2. Penguins can conceal themselves from predators with their ……………………..


Click to reveal the answers.


1. flightless
‘flightless’ is the only adjective that can possibly fit into the sentence from the first paragraph
2. distinct colouring

Passage take from – here.

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


  • resemble = look like, similar to
  • distinct = clear, well-defined
  • belly (bellies) = stomach
  • hide = conceal
  • predators = killers (in this reading passage it refers to sharks and seals etc
  • tapering = narrowing


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