TEDxIELTS: Ideas for Listening Practice

TED x IELTS Listening Practice 1

TED x IELTS Listening Practice 1: Why Videos Go Viral

Try these IELTS listening practice questions based on a popular TED talk about viral content on YouTube. Take one minute first to read through the questions. You can also download these questions as a PDF.

QUESTIONS 1-2 (Sentence completion) Write no more than three words for each answer.

Web video now means that anyone can become famous very quickly.

Over 48 hours of video appear on YouTube 1. ________________________.

Only a tiny percentage of videos goes viral and becomes a cultural moment.

The key factors in creating a viral are tastemakers, 2. ________________________ and unexpectedness.

QUESTIONS 3-10 (Note completion) Write no more than three words for each answer.


“Double rainbow” video viewed 3. ________________________ during 2010.

Video first became popular during the summer.

Creator didn’t intend to make a viral; he just wanted to 4. ________________________ a rainbow.

Video had actually been uploaded in 5. ________________________ but only became popular after tastemaker Jimmy Kimmel posted a link on Twitter.


Song “Friday” has been viewed almost 200 million times.

Viewing peaks all occurred on 6. ________________________.

Its popularity may have begun with a joke about the video on Twitter.

7. ________________________ of “Friday” have been uploaded to YouTube.

Viral videos are born when online communities spread or do something new with content.


Looped animation has been viewed nearly 50 million times.

YouTube users began creating different versions of the video.

Whole 8. ________________________ emerged that transformed “Nyan Cat” from a simple joke to a participatory movement.


Made a unique video to protest bicycle fines in New York.

Made his point using 9. ________________________ and ________________________.

Video has now been seen 10. ________________________.

Make sure you check spelling carefully before you check the answers.

Teacher’s Note

This is the kind of lecture you might hear in Section 4 of the IELTS Listening test – though this one includes visual content that you will not find in the real exam. Notice that in this example, there are no multiple choice questions. For all ten questions, you must complete the gaps in the sentences and notes with missing words. It’s very important to check not only spelling but also that the words fit the sentence grammatically. Sometimes in IELTS Listening you may need to adjust the speaker’s words to make them fit the question, for example by changing a verb to a noun.

Further Practice

Want more IELTS Listening practice? Check out similar posts here.

Using this IELTS Listening practice in a real classroom? You may want to try these follow-up questions with your students.

This is an unofficial educational use of a TED talk. For official learning materials based around TED content, please visit the TED-ed website.



Comments are closed.