IELTS Listening Practice Test – Exercise 120

Questions 1-4  Listen from here

Answer the questions below.

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

1    Where was a Stone Age rubbish dump found? 

2    In Medieval times, what type of waste was most common? 

3    What did science link with waste? 

4    Which invention is the biggest problem for the environment? 


Tips: Short-answer questions 

Task guide

►    This task requires you to write answers to separate questions by using information you hear on the recording.

►    The questions follow the order of the recording.

►    Read the instructions carefully. Notice how many words you can use to answer each question. If you use more words than you are told, your answer will be wrong.

►    You must write the exact words that you hear on the recording. Do not try to use other words or to change the form of words.

►    Remember that the wording used in the questions is not likely to be exactly the same as the wording you hear on the recording. It is likely to be paraphrased or to use synonyms.

►    Sometimes you may think you know the answer to a question from your general knowledge. But remember that these questions are about what the speaker says. You must answer the question according to what information the speaker gives on the recording.


Step-by-step Guide

►    Step 1 – Think first

Look at Questions 1-4, and think about the kinds of answers you are required to write. Questions 1-4 are about facts. Questions 1, 3 and 4 will need to be answered with nouns. Question 2 will need to be answered with an adjective.

While multiple-choice questions often test your understanding of opinion rather than plain fact, in short-answer questions you need to listen for and extract facts.

►    Step 2 – Identify the correct answer

This task is likely, particularly when used in Section 4, to involve dealing with more than one apparently possible answer. It’s important to distinguish between what is apparently possible and what is correct.

Look at the tapescript for Questions 1 and 2 and answer the questions below.


We have evidence that in ancient Greece and Rome governments operated municipal waste collection, and a huge Stone Age mound was identified some years ago in Norway as waste disposal, so we can see that people have been generating waste for a very long time indeed. However, during the Dark Ages, sophisticated municipal waste processing disappeared.

The medieval answer to waste was to throw it out of the window. But this waste, apart from broken pottery and a few metal objects, was largely organic.

Question 1

  • This question asks ‘where‘: which three places are mentioned in the script?
  • Which words in the tapescript mean the same as ‘rubbish dump‘?
  • Which words in the tapescript mean the same as ‘was … found‘?
  • What is the correct answer to Question 1?

Question 2

  • Can the words ‘throw it out of the window‘ be an answer to Question 2?
  • Which three types of waste in medieval times are mentioned in the tapescript?
  • What word is the tapescript means the same as ‘most common‘?
  • What is the correct answer to Question 2?

► Step 3 – Listen and do the task

Show workspace

Questions 5-7  Listen from here

List THREE factors which led to the increase in waste.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.


Short-answer questions 

Task guide

►    This task requires you to answer the same question with a list of two or more things.

►    The instructions tell you the maximum number of words you can use. Do not use more words than this.

►    You can write your answers in any order.

►    It is important that what you write in the list answers the question.

Step-by-step guide

Step 1 – Think first

The question asks you to list ‘factors which led to the increase in waste‘.

  • Think of words which mean the same as ‘factor‘.
  • Think of words which mean the same as ‘lead to‘.
  • Think of words which mean the same as ‘increase‘.
  • Think of words which mean the same as ‘waste‘.

► Step 2 – Select what to write

Look at the tapescript for Question 5. The correct answer is ‘mass manufacturing‘.


As many countries became industrialised, we saw the advent of mass manufacturing. This has been enormously damaging as it has greatly increased the amount of things on the planet’s surface which don’t go away by themselves.

Why are these answers not correct?

  • industrialised
  • the advent of manufacturing
  • damaging
  • amount of things 

► Step 3 – Listen and do the task

Show workspace

Questions 8-0  Listen from here

Which country uses the highest proportion of each method of waste disposal?

Choose your answers from the box and write the letters A-F next to questions 8-10.

A Denmark

B Germany 

C Japan 

D Switzerland 



 ABCDEF    incineration

 ABCDEF    landfill

10  ABCDEF    recycling


Tips: Matching

Task guide

►    This task requires you choose an answer for each question from the same list of possible answers.

►    The options are usually listed alphabetically or similarly. For example, if the options are dates, they will be listed with the earliest first.

►    The questions follow the order of the recording.

►    You must read the question very carefully, as the possible answers will be mentioned several times in different ways.

Step-by-step guide

►    Step 1 – Read the question

The question asks you to listen for the country ‘which uses the highest proportion of each method of waste disposal‘.

It is very likely that all the six countries listed will use all three waste disposal methods.

It is possible that a large country such as the US could incinerate ‘a low proportion‘ of its waste, but this waste could be ‘a higher quantity‘ of waste than that incinerated by another smaller country that incinerates ‘a high proportion‘ of its waste.

Such questions will not depend on mathematics.

You need to read the question very carefully.

►    Step 2 – Check what you will hear

Look at the tapescript for Question 8.


One of the main ways of dealing with MSW is incineration -burning it. This is adopted variously around the world. The UK burns relatively little waste, as does the US, while Denmark burns about half of all waste, and Japan uses this method for as much as three quarters.

You hear four countries, the UK, the USDenmark and Japan, mentioned very closely together. The possible answers, A, C, E and F, are all heard, and you must be able to distinguish C as the only correct one.

►    Step 3 – Listen and do the task



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