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IELTS Listening Section 4 Practice

This is an IELTS listening section 4 practice test. This is the most difficult part of the test and is a lecture.


You are going to hear a talk on alternative medicine. Before you start the audio, as in the test, give yourself about 40 seconds to look through the questions. 

Questions 31 - 32

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.

31. According to the definition, alternative medicine:

A Can be considered a subset of conventional medicine
B Seeks to draw in part on the natural sciences
C Has not been shown to be effective through scientific methods

32. It’s difficult to define because:

A The theories and practices it includes often change
B It involves a variety of ideas and methods
C It’s more limited in scope than conventional medicine

Questions 33 - 40

Complete the notes below


Types of Alternative Medicine

  • Diverse - can be classified by their cultural origins or beliefs systems

  • Methods include or are based on such things as medicinal practices, knowledge of folklore, and 33  

  • May be developed over over thousands of years.

a) Chinese medicine and Ayurveda:

  • They are practices commonly based on traditional ethnic systems

  • Seen as ‘alternative’ abroad, but it may not be viewed this way in the country it 34  from 

b) Herbal remedies and other substances:

  • Common in alternative medicine.

  • Such substances are found in nature but this does not only include 35  - also animal and mineral products. 

  • commercially very successful

c) Religion, faith healing, and prayer:

  • Also related to alternative therapies.

  • For example, Shamans alter their state of 36  to interact with the spirit world in order to heal.

Safety of Alternative Medicine

a) Concerns:

  • Those from the scientific community do not think alternative therapies have been proved effective

  • Research is often not of good 37  and has flawed methods

  • The SRAM journal notes that an ineffective therapy may be seen to provide symptomatic relief.

  • This is the placebo effect – when a person will 38 because of the belief that a substance has helped

  • Recovery is mistakenly attributed to the alternative medicine being taken.

  • Alternative medicine has not traditionally had access to research funding, sympathetic press coverage or 39  in curriculums for medical courses.

b) Changes:

  • In the US, Conventional doctors now offering alternative medical treatments - courses available at University

  • Taught in medical schools and US 40  are starting to offer reimbursement for alternative therapies.

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