[Listening] Summary Completion Practice

Watch the following video and fill in the blanks in this summary. Make sure to listen carefully and take your best guess for each answer. Don’t leave any blank spaces. Answers below.

Fill the gaps in the summary below with one word only.

I don’t think we have a great ___1___ idea of happiness. Many people imagine that happiness comes from something ___2___; if you get a new car, a better job, a bigger house, you’ll be happy. Whenever I hear the phrase ‘the ___3___ of happiness’, the image that comes to my mind is of racing dogs chasing a mechanical rabbit that’s always just out of ___4___. I think a much better goal of life is to be content. Contentment is an inner feeling of satisfaction that’s not dependent on external factors. I argue that the goal is to enhance contentment, comfort, serenity and ___5___ so that you can roll with the ups and ___6___ of life and not get thrown off too much. I think it is not realistic to try to be happy all the time; we’re ___7___ to be sad or blue some of the time; I think that’s part of the ___8___ experience.


This passage relates to the topic of happiness, which is common in the IELTS exam. For more practice on this topic, see our TED Talk lesson, Can Money Buy Happiness?






  1. cultural
  2. external
  3. pursuit
  4. reach
  5. resilience
  6. downs
  7. supposed
  8. human

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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