How to Listen Actively
In the IELTS listening test, you need to listen actively, it’s not a passive activity. This article explains what ‘active listening’ involves. Read the article and answer the questions below.
Worksheet: by Pauline Cullen
1. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· prompted · noticed
· sensory · concentration
· perceived · connected to hearing
· auditory · caused
· attention · affecting the senses
2. In the second paragraph, the writer’s aim is to
A trick the reader into believing something.
B point out the difference between two verbs.
C give a detailed description of his surroundings.
D demonstrate how difficult it is to ignore background noises.
3. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· underrated · connecting with
· interacting · proportion (½; ⅓; ¼ etc.)
· significant · measurably
· fraction · not appreciated
· quantitatively · considerable
4. In the third paragraph, the writer makes the point that
A we are able to hear things more quickly than we can see them.
B we use our eyesight more than any of our other senses.
C we tend to take our eyesight for granted.
D we actually use our whole body to listen.
5. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· evolved · level of sound
· operates · hear
· volume · works
· cognitive · concerning the mind
· detect · developed over time
6. According to the writer, an important function of our auditory system is to
A help us wake up in the morning.
B alert us to unusual sounds.
C block out very loud noises.
D help us to navigate.
7. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· activates · protective
· startle · starts; sets off
· defensive · lifting up or raising
· response · surprise
· elevating · reaction; answer
8. The writer suggest that the ‘startle’ response is
A only shown in intelligent creatures.
B a very complex process.
C important for survival.
D damaging to the heart.
9. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· complex · not altered, uncooked
· stimulus · involved or complicated
· inferior · method
· process · lower; less important; less valuable
· raw · something that sets off a reaction
10. According to the sixth paragraph, when you hear your name called, your brain
A initially thinks it is mistaken.
B may react oddly in different locations.
C immediately begins to work out who is calling and why.
D reacts in a similar way to when you hear an unexpected sound.
11. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· pay attention to · ignore
· come into play · communicated
· conveyed · begin to work
· tune out · calculation
· computation · concentrate on
12. A ‘top down’ response is one that
A you need to use in the IELTS listening test.
B originates in your brain.
C separates pleasant and unpleasant sounds.
D allows us to hear a broad range of sounds.
13. Match the words from the text with the correct paraphrase on the right.
· distraction · something that stops you concentrating
· information overload · too much information
· intellectual · academic
· richness · fullness and beauty
· discern · observe
14. What point does the writer make in the final paragraphs?
A Our modern world is too noisy.
B Our use of headphones is damaging our hearing.
C It is possible to teach yourself to listen well.
D We can learn a lot from animals when it comes to our hearing.
(NB The paraphrases are based on the context of this particular reading passage)
1 prompted = caused // sensory = affecting the senses // perceived = noticed // auditory = connected to hearing // attention = concentration
2 B – He tries to show the difference between ‘listen’ and ‘hear’ by asking the reader to listen carefully to the background noises around them.
3 underrated = not appreciated // interacting = connecting with // significant = considerable // fraction = proportion (½; ⅓; ¼ etc) // quantitatively = measurably
4 A – He says that we process sounds 10 times faster than things we see and it is our hearing we take for granted.
5 evolved = developed over time // operates = works // volume = level of sound // cognitive = concerning the mind // detect = hear
6 B – We are told that the auditory system helps us shut out most background noises (not only loud ones) unless they are a sign of something either good or bad.
7 activates = starts or sets off // startle = surprise // defensive = protective // response = reaction or answer // elevating = lifting up or raising
8 C – The writer says that the startle response occurs in all creatures and is a basic, automatic response when we sense something that might be dangerous
9 complex = involved or complicated // stimulus = something that sets off a reaction // inferior = lower; less important; less valuable // process = method // raw = not altered, uncooked
10 D – We’re told that your brain reacts in the same way as if you hear a noise that seems out of place (e.g. a birdcall in a subway)
11 pay attention to = concentrate on // come into play = begin to work // conveyed = communicated // tune out = ignore // computation = calculation
12 A – a ‘top down’ response is one where you deliberately focus on sounds and listen carefully. It helps you shut out background noises.
13 distraction = something that stops you concentrating // information overload = too much information // intellectual = academic // richness = fullness and beauty // discern = observe
14 C – The writer gives several examples of how you can practise concentrating on different sounds, including listening carefully to noises your pet makes.