Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today’s episode is jam-packed with IELTS Listening practice!

We’re doing a Listening section 4 practice exercise for you to complete.

Complete the summary below and then check your answers in the comments!

You’ll also hear fantastic native ways to compare education in the past and now for Speaking and Writing.

Where can you use these practice answers on the IELTS exam?

  • Speaking Part 3

You will often be asked questions that ask you to compare the past to now.

Students struggle with this.

Listen to our model answers for high level phrases.

  • Speaking Part 2

You may be asked to describe a memory from your past.

It’s also likely you’ll be asked about your education experience.

You need to be able to tell a story so you can speak for the full 2 minutes!

  • Writing Task 2

Topic questions for Writing Task 2 often deal with education.

You need to be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of educational systems.

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How can you use today’s episode for IELTS Listening practice?

Listen to the podcast when you’re driving, cleaning, running or whatever you do while listening to podcasts!

Then listen closely to our practice answers and complete the summary completion questions below.

After filling in the blanks, check your answers in the comments.

What do you hear in IELTS Listening Section 4?

You hear a monologue, with one speaker talking.

The topics are academic.

They are more formal than what you hear in the other Speaking sections.

Monologue #1: Jessica

Speaking from________________ experience, as, of course, a pupil, but also nowadays as a_________________, elementary schools today, here in Portland, are vastly different in comparison to the institution I attended. Take for _____________________ the after school programs on offer. When I was a mere tyke, there were no after school programs! My parents were forced to enroll me in expensive options for _________________ at the community center, or in __________________ athletic activities. Now, let’s contrast this with my 8 year old son’s experience. He gets to choose from a __________- swath of options each semester, from Dungeons and Dragons Club, to Strategy Game Club, to Ukulele ____________. He, of course, chose ukulele, and is now learning the Beatles’ classic Yellow Submarine. The enrichment offered to these _______________ minds is frankly mind-blowing and, while I’m ecstatic that my son can experience this, I am also, frankly, just a tad bit ________________.

Monologue #2: Aubrey

Registering my children for junior high and high school has been crazy – it’s a whole different ______________! For instance, when my parents signed me up for __________, that was it. I didn’t have electives to choose from. For my 11-year-old daughter Penelope, we chose _________________ for her and I was stunned by the options she had. One was called mini computers, which are short classes including coding and 3D printing. She has a myriad of other ________________ as well, including drama, choir and _____________________, where she can choose ______________ strings or brass instruments. Even more _________________ is the experience I’ve had recently with my daughter Adeline, who starts high school next ________________. We went to a school orientation last week and I couldn’t believe the list of electives! She is interested in culinary arts, so we _______________ the classroom and they had _______ mini kitchens with everything they would need for a hands-on class. She also was interested in an elective called biomed, describing every _________________ in the medical industry. They also were offering choir, drama, volleyball, Spanish, French, and ASL, among others. She could only choose 3 of these, which was difficult! It was ____________ different from when I was a child.

Which phrases from these monologues would be useful on IELTS?

  • vastly different: higher level way of saying very different
  • tyke: young child
  • stunned: surprised; something unexpected; floored by
  • myriad: many, plentitude
  • electives: optional courses that are separate from core curriculum

Pay attention to intonation!

Mimic these sample answers to improve your Speaking scores.


The more practice exercises you complete, the better prepared you will be on test day!

These summary completions can be filled out as practice for the Listening exam.

In addition, these practice answers are full of vocabulary you can use on the Speaking and Writing exams.

Add this vocabulary to your notebook, along with sentences for context.

For more practice exercises along with the strategies you need to get high scores, join the 3 Keys IELTS Success System!

And if you want to know what score you would get if you took the IELTS exam today, click here for our 2 minute quiz!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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