IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8


Before the lesson, think about these questions and revise the vocabulary

  • Why do you think people can be fascinated with astronomy?
  • What are the differences between professional and amateur astronomers?


1. conjure up

2. dazzle

3. celestial

4. let off

5. further

6. undertake


  • Why are humans interested in space exploration?
  • Is it more important to explore the space or to protect the Earth?


1. allocate

2. intrinsic

3. extraterrestrial

4. fieldwork

5. ingenuity

6. longevity

7. foster

8. dichotomous

  • Why would someone want to be a space tourist?
  • Do you think space tourism will become affordable to everyone in the future?
  • How will space tourism affect space exploration?

Useful language

  • to push the boundaries
  • to have a natural tendency to
  • to satisfy a general desire for
  • to enjoy the thrilling sight
  • to set one’s sights on something

How has space exploration changed since last century?


1. since

Useful language

  • It goes right back to
  • It’s like the time when
  • Over the centuries
  • Back in the 1960s
  • We’ve reached the point now where
  • It’s unlikely that
  • There’s little point in
  • They may well continue because
  • So, there are


Read the grammar rules for using emphasising


We often place information at or near the beginning of a sentence to emphasise it. To do this, we have to alter the normal word order of the sentence. We can do this by:

🔹placing the complement or direct object of a verb before the subject. Compare these sentences:

We know quite a lot about the Moon and Mars. We have less information about Venus.

We know quite a lot about the Moon and Mars. Venus, we have less information about.

🔹placing the subordinate clause before the main clause. Compare these sentences:

NASA has sent a spacecraft to Mars because they want to find out if there is life there.

Because they want to find out if there is life on Mars, NASA has sent a spacecraft there.

🔹placing preposition and adverb phrases that are not part of another phrase before the subject of the sentence. Compare these sentences:

There is a lot of interest in space exploration despite its cost.

Despite its cost, there is a lot of interest in space exploration.

Cleft sentences

There are some ways of forming cleft sentences:

🔹What + subject + auxiliary verb + «is»/»was» + infinitive with/without «to»:

The Chinese sent a probe to the Moon. → What the Chinese did was to send a probe to the Moon.

People don’t think about the level of planning that is involved. → What people don’t think about is the level of planning that is involved.

🔹What + subject + main verb + «is»/»was» + infinitive with «to»:

Space explorers want to find water on other planets. → What space explorers want is to find water on other planets.

🔹It + «is»/»was» + noun/noun phrase + («that» / «which» (for things) / «who» (for people)):

The astronauts enjoyed the spacewalk most. →

It was the spacewalk that astronauts enjoyed the most.

🔹All («that») + subject + verb + «is»/»was»:

We only require political will to set up a permanent base on the Moon. →

«All (that)» we require to set up a permanent base on the Moon is political will.

pic1_IELTS|Upper-Int|Revision 6

Read the information to get ready for the test

  • You will do the tasks in the exam format.
  • Read the instruction carefully before doing the task.
  • Remember that you don’t have to answer all the questions correctly to get a good result.
  • Try to relax and deal with easier questions first. Then come back and think about the difficult ones.

Read the exam task below and complete Questions 1-7


Listen and complete the sentences. Use no more than two words for each answer.

OK, everyone, let’s start. Today, I’m going to be talking to you about the European Space Agency mission Rosetta, more popularly known as the «comet chaser». The aim of the mission is to orbit, and eventually land on, a small comet in our solar system. This is something that clearly has never been done before.

Actually, the ESA had a bit of bad luck. Rosetta was originally going to be launched in 2003, but the mission had to be postponed due to a malfunction of the launch rocket. This in turn meant that the ESA had to find another comet, because the one they first chose, called 46P Wirtanen, will have travelled far beyond Rosetta’s flight path by now!

Rosetta was launched on 2nd March, 2004, and will be tracking a comet known as Churyumov-Gerasimenko, let’s call it C-G for short during this lecture. Under the revised flight plan, Rosetta will make one flyby of Mars and three of the Earth before heading for C-G. This circuitous route will enable Rosetta to make two excursions into the main asteroid belt before its rendezvous with our fast-moving cosmic iceberg in August 2014.

Rosetta will slow down and go into orbit around C-G and from an altitude of just a few kilometres, its cameras will be able to map the entire surface of the comet at high resolution. This mapping exercise will enable a safe landing site to be selected and, once this has been done, the Rosetta lander will separate from the orbiter and slowly descend to the icy surface. If everything goes according to plan, the lander will anchor itself to C-G’s crust and begin a detailed survey of its surroundings.

Over a period of several weeks, data from the nine instruments on the lander will be sent back to Earth via the Rosetta orbiter. The lander will dispatch close-up pictures of the comet’s nucleus, drill into the dark organic crust, and sample the primordial ices and gases. Meanwhile, the orbiter will have been transmitting radio signals through the nucleus to the lander in order to analyse the internal structure of the comet.

The orbiter will monitor the changes that take place in the comet as it hurtles on its way towards our Sun. As the comet is increasingly warmed, bright jets will appear, creating distinctive tails, as gas and dust are ejected into space. In fact, C-G is probably a much better choice of comet than the original one, in that it typically becomes much more active than Wirtanen does as it approaches the Sun. Scientists certainly won’t get bored studying this comet!

The enormous amount of data that will be returned during Rosetta’s voyage is likely to change our understanding of comets fundamentally. In addition, it will provide new insights into such basic mysteries as the formation of our oceans and even the origins of life. Thirdly, it is expected that Rosetta will give scientists vital insights about how to respond should there ever be a comet on a collision course with our planet.

OK, so that’s the Rosetta mission, which will terminate in December 2015. Try to find out more about it over the next few weeks. Why not check out the official website …

Match the statements (A-I) to the names

For thousands of years, people have been fascinated by streaks of light flashing across the night sky. These «shooting stars» are actually tiny grains of dust from space that burn up in Earth’s atmosphere before reaching the ground. But hundreds of times a year, a rock called a meteorite survives the fiery trip from space and lands on Earth. The vast majority are pieces of asteroids, the small rocky bodies that orbit the Sun.

One November morning in 1492, a young boy saw a large stone plummet from the sky and land near the town of Ensisheim in Alsace, France. This fall is the earliest one witnessed in the Western world from which meteorite samples have been preserved. Immediately after it fell, people began chipping off pieces as souvenirs, and fragments of the Ensisheim meteorite can be found in museum collections all over the world.

When the Krasnoyarsk meteorite was found in 1749, no one believed that rocks came from space. But a German physicist analysed this meteorite’s unusual mixture of stone and iron and began to convince sceptics that meteorites did indeed originate far from Earth.

Antarctica is an ideal place to find meteorites because the dark specimens are easy to see against the snow and ice. As the ice sheets move, they push older ice to the surface. Powerful winds remove the ice, exposing the meteorites buried underneath.

The largest meteorite on display in any museum is a 34-ton piece of iron that’s just part of a much larger meteorite, called Cape York. This landed in Greenland thousands of years ago, before any people lived there. Cape York originally weighed around 200 tons before it broke apart in the atmosphere.

In 1947, people in eastern Siberia saw a huge fireball that exploded as it streaked across the sky, bursting into tens of thousands of fragments that made cracking and roaring noises as they fell to Earth. These iron fragments crashed into thick woodland, tearing apart and uprooting many of the trees, and creating thousands of craters.

Although countless meteorites have crashed onto the planet, most of the craters that they left have been erased or hidden by natural forces. Only about 200 meteorite-impact craters have been found, of various sizes. Vredefort Crater, in South Africa, is a ring of mountains with a diameter of 300 kilometres, which seems to be a record.

One of Earth’s largest intact meteorite craters, Wolf Creek Crater, was long known only to the local population of native Australians. Their legend describes a rainbow snake that emerged from the crater and formed a nearby watercourse as it slithered away. In 1947, oil company geologists spotted the stunning crater during an airplane survey of some of Australia’s most remote desert. Now let’s consider what we can learn from meteorites …

Read the article and match the people’s names with the appropriate descriptions


Understanding the Milky Way

The Solar System in which the Earth is situated is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, the pale band of light crossing the night sky. This is one of a vast number of galaxies in the universe, each consisting of billions of stars (such as our Sun) bound together by gravity. The ancient Greek philosophers speculated on the nature of the Milky Way, and around 2,500 years ago Pythagoras appears to have believed that it was composed of a vast number of faint stars. The astronomer Hipparchus is thought to have created the earliest known catalogue of the stars in the 2nd century BC. But it was only with the development of the telescope in the 17th century, making far more stars visible, that the nature of the Milky Way could really begin to be understood. When Galileo first turned his telecope on the sky, in 1609, he found proof that, as Pythagoras had suggested, the Milky Way indeed consisted of innumerable stars.

The idea that the Milky Way is a vast disc-shaped aggregation of stars comprising all the stars seen by the naked eye or with a telescope was first put forward by Thomas Wright in 1750. William Herschel and his sister Caroline set out to map the structure of the Milky Way by counting the numbers of stars they could see in different directions. Their efforts were severely hampered by the dimming effect of the dust between the stars. William Herschel at first believed that there were other galaxies besides the Milky Way, a theory that had been advanced earlier by Christopher Wren. However, he later came round to the view that the universe consisted solely of the Milky Way system, and by the end of the 19th century this was the prevailing view.

In the early 20th century, the Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kapteyn used star counts to derive a model of the Milky Way in which the sun lay close to the centre of a huge disc, a mistake that Herschel had also made. This work, like Herschel’s, was flawed by neglect of the role of interstellar dust, which Edward Barnard was beginning to uncover. In a 1922 debate in the USA, Harlow Shapley argued that the Milky Way included all known structures in the universe, while Heber Curtis advocated the theory that other galaxies existed. The core of the debate was the issue of the size of the Milky Way system. Shapley arrived at a size about three times too great. Curtis, on the other hand, used Kapteyn’s star counts to derive a size about three times too small. In both cases, it was interstellar dust which caused the error.

An important development in our understanding of the galaxy came in 1933, when Karl Jansky detected radio waves from the Milky Way. He was working for Bell Telephone Labs on the problem of the hiss on transatlantic telephone lines. He built an antenna to try to locate the origin of this noise and found, to his surprise, that it arose from the Milky Way. Radio astronomy made a new start in 1942, during World War II, when John Hey started monitoring German jamming of British radar. For two days, there was a remarkably intense episode of radar jamming which knocked out all the coastal radar stations. Hey realised that the direction of the jamming followed the sun, and learnt from the Royal Greenwich Observatory that an exceptionally active sunspot had crossed the solar disc at that time. Hey had discovered radio emission from the sun.

Choose the correct options

Read the task and plan your 2-minute answer. You have 1 minute for preparation

pic6_T|Grammar act|L10

IELTS Speaking Part 2 task

Describe the most important benefit of space exploration.

You should say:

🔹what it is,

🔹how mankind can take advantage of it,

and explain how it can benefit your country.

Be aware of the 🔗IELTS Speaking band descriptors.

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

Read the task and record your speech

Be aware of the 🔗IELTS Speaking band descriptors.

radio programme teenagers

IELTS Speaking Part 3 task

  • How will space exploration develop in the future?
  • Will space travel ever be available to everyone?
  • What is your opinion on space tourism?
  • Why do people become amateur scientists?


1. Speak on the topic no longer than 2 minutes.

2. You have 3 attempts to answer this question.

3. Cover all the points and provide a relevant answer.

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

[h 5 p id=»10612″]


Read the task and write your answer in about 40 minutes. Your answer should be at least 250 words long

IELTS Exam Writing Task 2

Some people think that space programs can promote better relationships between countries. Others say that governments are not interested in collaboration and space research only increases competition and animosity between individual countries.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Exam tips

Writing Task 2

  1. Analyse the task carefully.
  2. Allocate some time to write a plan before you start writing the essay.
  3. The first sentence in the body paragraphs (topic sentence) should express the main idea in the paragraph.
  4. Use synonyms throughout the essay.


1. Read the exam task carefully. If necessary, make use of the exam tips.

2. Plan what you are going to write about.

3. Write the text according to your plan.

4. Check your writing.

5. Please use 🔗Grammarly to avoid spelling and some grammar mistakes.

6. Be aware of the 🔗IELTS Task 2 Writing band descriptors.

If you open the lesson plan you will be able to assign separate pages as homework or all the homework pages at once.

  • Revise the vocabulary
  • Revise the grammar
  • Test overview
  • Rosetta mission
  • Understanding the Milky Way
  • Space exploration benefits
  • Space questions
  • Collaboration or competition
  • Homework
  • Homework
  1. 1. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|1. Being a high achiever
  2. 2. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|2. University life
  3. 3. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|3. Getting a qualification
  4. 4. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|4. Career plans
  5. 5. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  6. 6. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|5. Perceiving colours
  7. 7. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour
  8. 8. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour
  9. 9. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|8. Adding colour
  10. 10. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
  11. 11. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|9. In therapy
  12. 12. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|10. Placebo effect
  13. 13. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|11. Changing life expectancy
  14. 14. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|12. Leading a healthy life
  15. 15. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
  16. 16. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|13. Works of art
  17. 17. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|14. Aboriginal art
  18. 18. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|15. Being good at arts
  19. 19. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|16. What is a masterpiece?
  20. 20. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
  21. 21. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|17. Collecting fossils
  22. 22. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|18. Evolution and survival
  23. 23. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|19. The Earth's interior
  24. 24. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|20. A valuable possession
  25. 25. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
  26. 26. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|21. The role of technology
  27. 27. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|22. Film making and technology
  28. 28. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|23. The impact of IT on society
  29. 29. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|24. Number one website
  30. 30. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  31. 31. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|25. Environmental issues
  32. 32. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|26. Wildlife wonders
  33. 33. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|27. Endangered species
  34. 34. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|28. A symbol of a nation
  35. 35. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 7
  36. 36. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|29. Exploring space
  37. 37. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|30. Observing the stars
  38. 38. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|31. Space tourism prospects
  39. 39. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|32. Extraterrestrial phenomena
  40. 40. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8
  41. 41. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 1
  42. 42. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 2