Listening Part 1

You will hear people talking in eight different situations. For questions 1-8, choose the best answer A, B or C.

1   You hear a student talking to her tutor about studying history at university.

      What does the student say about studying history?

      A   It will provide her with some valuable skills.

      B   It is necessary for the career she has chosen.

      C   It wasn’t her first choice of subject.

2   You hear a man talking about poetry.

      What is he doing?

      A   describing differences between poetry and other literature

      B   persuading people to get involved in writing poetry

      C   explaining why a popular belief about poetry is incorrect

3   You hear a young woman talking about having studied abroad.

      What does she say about it?

      A   It helped her get a job in the field she wanted.

      B   It wasn’t an easy thing to have done.

      C   It gave interviewers an incorrect impression of her.

4   You hear two students talking about a lecture on choosing colours for websites.

      What do they agree about?

      A   how important it is to keep a consistent image

      B   how useful it is to adapt websites for different countries

      C   how interesting it is to study the use of colour on websites.

5   You hear a tutor discussing a student’s work with him.

      What is the purpose of their conversation?

      A   to discuss the student’s ideas for an essay he’s working on

      B   to check the student understands the point of some feedback

      C   to help the student think of ways to improve his work

6   You hear a woman talking about a hobby she has taken up.

      What does she think about it?

      A   It isn’t worth the effort required.

      B   It’s harder than she expected it to be.

      C   The teacher’s instructions aren’t always clear.

7   You hear two friends discussing a film adaptation of a book they have read.

      The students agree that the film adaptation

      A   was unnecessarily different from the book.

      B   failed to get the point of the story across.

      C   must have been disappointing for the book’s author.

8   You hear a student talking about giving a presentation to his class.

      How did he feel about it at first?

      A   determined to prepare as well as he could

      B   unwilling to use techniques people had suggested

      C   convinced he wouldn’t be able to do it well

Answer & Audioscript

1 A   2 C   3 B   4 C   5 B   6 B   7 A   8 C


1   You hear a student talking to her tutor about studying history at university.

A:   So, what are you going to study at university, then?

B:   History. I wasn’t sure whether it’d be useful for a career at first, but you can’t overlook the way history helps us gain an understanding of the world around us – and why it is the way it is today. I mean, if we understand how people have lived through the ages, we can make informed decisions about the present. That doesn’t mean I’m thinking of a career as a world leader, but I’m sure I’ll learn how to make reasoned arguments and other things like that – which is bound to help me, whatever field I work in later.

A:   Definitely!

2   You hear a man talking about poetry.

As a poet, I’m often asked what the value of poetry is. In my experience, quite a few people think it’s limiting and that ideas can be expressed much more easily in prose – you know, ordinary written language. Yet you can convey just as much feeling in poetry and address any subject in as much depth as a work of fiction. It makes no more sense to ask what the point of poetry is than to ask what the point of a story is. It’s simply another form of expression and I love the fact that I can say a lot in just a few words.

3   You hear a young woman talking about having studied abroad.

I studied abroad and when it came to job interviews, it appeared to give me an advantage over other candidates. Employers seemed to be convinced I must be more confident and self-reliant than if I hadn’t done it. I suppose everyone imagines you’re bound to be sure of yourself if you’ve done something many people wouldn’t do. Actually, I was as nervous as anyone else would have been, but I survived on my own for a year in a foreign country with all its challenges. I feel a sense of achievement about that, so perhaps the interviewers were right. I still need to find my perfect career, though!

4   You hear two students talking about a lecture on choosing colours for websites.

A:   What a fascinating lecture! The importance of choosing the right colours for a global website never crossed my mind.

B:   I already knew different colours mean different things in different cultures – so it makes sense to think about how choice of colour affects how successful a website is. I was totally absorbed in the lecturer’s arguments, though.

A:   I thought the approach some companies take was a good solution – you know, changing the colours of their site according to the country they’re marketing products in.

B:   Well, I’d use a universally-safe colour, like blue. It maintains a uniform appearance for the company.

5   You hear a tutor discussing a student’s work with him.

A:   Have you had chance to read through the comments I made on your latest essay?

B:   Yes. I thought what you said was fair, though I wasn’t sure what you meant by working on justifying my arguments.

A:   Well, it’s never enough to make broad statements without backing up what you’re saying – with references to reading you’ve done on a subject.

B:   You mean, providing more evidence for why I think what I’m saying is right?

A:   Precisely. You’re not the only student in the class who needs to work on this a little more, so I’m going to spend a bit of time this week on helping you get your head around it.

6   You hear a woman talking about a hobby she has taken up.

A:   How’s that drumming workshop you’ve been going to?

B:   Well, I’m not that musical as you know – though I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument. I thought learning the drums would be easy enough because there’s no melody to follow and I don’t have to read music. You know what, though? I have trouble keeping up with some of the rhythms the teacher shows us. It isn’t necessarily the speed – it’s remembering the beat patterns that I struggle with, I hadn’t realised there’d be so much effort involved, but the end result is awesome – when the whole group’s in time with each other and we get it right.

A:   I can imagine.

7   You hear two friends discussing a film adaptation of a book they have read.

A:   What did you think of that film adaptation of The Silver Birds? It’s so frustrating when they take a great story and alter the ending so it’s nothing like the original.

B:   They make the film because the book’s been a bestseller. Surely that would make you question the idea of changing things. If I was the author I’d be pretty annoyed …

A:   Wasn’t he involved in writing the screenplay, though? Anyway, I don’t think the message of the book was interpreted correctly.

B:   That’s one thing I wasn’t disappointed with, actually. Anyway, I guess they change stuff to appeal to the widest audience possible.

8   You hear a student talking about giving a presentation to his class.

When we were told we had to give a presentation as part of a course I was doing, my immediate reaction was that I’d be way too nervous to make a decent job of it. But I couldn’t back out of it – not because I needed to prove anything to myself – but because the teacher gave us no option! People advise you to do all kinds of stuff like practising delivering your speech in front of a mirror and all that – some of it sounds a bit strange. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself getting ready for the presentation, so I just visualised myself making a success of it – which I did.

Listening Part 2

You will hear a weather forecaster called Laura Armstrong talking about her work. For questions 9-18, complete the sentences with a word or short phrase.

Laura Armstrong: weather forecaster

Laura currently works as a weather forecaster at a (9) ………………………… station.

Laura refers to what forecasters call weather (10) ………………………… before she makes a forecast each day.

Part of Laura’s job on ‘big weather days’ is to provide (11) ………………………… and maintain website information.

Laura’s interest in the weather grew from a fear of (12) ………………………… when she was younger.

Laura says the most important skill in weather forecasting is deciding what (13) ………………………… mean.

Laura initially did a (14) ………………………… course, unlike many other weather forecasters.

Laura says forecasters are often criticised for not being (15) ………………………… enough in their predictions.

Laura is interested in discovering more about (16) ………………………… later in her career.

Laura says it is possible to gain work experience in the (17) ………………………… section of a weather organisation.

Laura has given weather forecasts at important sports events, like a (18) ………………………… competition last year.

Answer & Audioscript

9 (local) television / TV   10 models

11 warnings   12 thunderstorms / thunder storms

13 patterns   14 business

15 accurate   16 climate change

17 membership   18 tennis


I’m a weather forecaster, which means I study what happens in the atmosphere and the weather conditions that this causes on Earth. People are always surprised to learn that forecasters aren’t just involved in weather reporting on TV – although that’s what I do on a local station – but you could work at a radio station, too, or as an advisor to transport services and so on.

On a daily basis, there’s a lot of data collection and observation involved, as well as detailed study of what are known in the field as weather models. These are sophisticated computer programs – without them, forecasters would find it much more difficult to predict the weather. After looking at these and doing a bit of maths, I’m eventually ready to make short and longer-term forecasts.

Things can get hectic on ‘big weather days’ when there’s more serious weather about. Forecasters spend most of their time putting together reports for TV or radio stations and other customers. When there’s something major going on, though, we have to be extra vigilant – I know the public will be checking the weather maps on the station’s website – and it’s vital that I issue warnings for heavy snow, or whatever, as quickly as possible.

I often get asked how I got interested in weather. Believe it or not, as a teenager I became nervous of thunderstorms and I’d often check the forecasts to see if any were coming. However, where we lived was more prone to flooding and strong winds than thunderstorms, so I should have been more nervous about those! Anyway, from there my interest developed.

If you are thinking of going into weather forecasting there are some important skills you’ll need. You have to be good at science, of course, though the key thing is having an ability to interpret patterns. You won’t go too far wrong with that. Another useful skill is being able to translate a forecast into something people at home can understand.

Most weather experts study physics and maths before going on to do a more specialised course in forecasting. My own way in was somewhat different as I did a business degree before getting into television as a researcher. I moved around quite a lot at the station and eventually ended up in the weather department, where I did my training.

People often complain that weather reports aren’t totally accurate – but we aren’t usually too far out on short-term forecasts. Longer-term ones are trickier and that’s where we get criticism. We can only make predictions based on the data available. And no one complains when the weather is better than we predicted!

Besides being reporters, some weather experts carve out a career in research – something I’d like to get involved in later. There are lots of possibilities, such as ocean forecasting, climate change – which is an area I’d like to focus on – investigating specific types of weather and so on.

It’s tough getting a position without experience. If you’re lucky you might get a work experience placement at a weather organisation. The central weather office tends to offer placements in their membership department. Even doing basic administration for them will improve your chances.

I love my work and have been lucky enough to do some interesting things. My team’s often asked to advise on likely weather conditions for things like major sports competitions such as golf or sailing. Twelve months ago I presented the weather forecast during a tennis tournament! The weather’s different every day, so it’s a rewarding job.

Any questions?

Listening Part 3

You will hear five short extracts in which people are talking about the benefits of volunteering. For questions 19-23, choose from the list A-H what each speaker says. Use the letters only once. There are three extra letters which you do not need to use.

A   I developed leadership skills.

B   I discovered a natural talent.

C   It made me feel part of the wider community.

D   It opened up a new career opportunity for me.

E   It increased my confidence.

F   It motivated me to improve my own life.

G   I made great friends for life.

H   I understood the importance of teamwork for the first time.

19   Speaker 1

20   Speaker 2

21   Speaker 3

22   Speaker 4

23   Speaker 5

Answer & Audioscript

19 D   20 H   21 B   22 A   23 F


Speaker 1

I used to volunteer at a community theatre, where I helped out making costumes and preparing scenery. I’d been into sewing all my life and spent most of my spare time making cool clothes for myself and my friends. It’s important to keep your skills up to date and working at the theatre helped me do more of what I already loved. I guess what I didn’t expect was the chance that arose out of it to set myself up as a theatre costume designer. Simply through talking to other professionals in the team, it came to light that there was a real need for someone with my talents in the region.

Speaker 2

Volunteering at an animal sanctuary during my student holidays was unforgettable. Not only did I love spending time caring for the animals, which I’d never done before, but I also met people from all walks of life. Sharing tasks and responsibility for the animals made me suddenly grasp the value of pulling together with my new friends to reach a common goal – I hadn’t considered that before. It’s something that I’ll take with me into the professional community after I finish my studies. I’m unlikely to take up an animal-related career or see those people again, but it was a fabulous experience.

Speaker 3

It was a childhood friend who got me into volunteering. She loves children and asked me to go and help out at a day nursery with a small team of other volunteers in our town. Although I wouldn’t have said dealing with kids was where my own skills lay, I found that I seemed to instinctively know what they wanted. I wouldn’t say I felt confident enough to do anything professionally in that field, like teaching or whatever, but it got me thinking about what else I could try that I might be good at, and it was a good life skill to learn.

Speaker 4

I’ve always thought of myself as a good team player and I enjoy working with others. Since studying psychology at university, I’ve become interested in how different personalities complement and inspire each other within a group. I suppose that’s what made me take on a role guiding others when I volunteered at a sports charity. I can’t say I was a natural and I’d always thought you needed to be a really confident person to direct other people, but I think I chose to do it so I could get involved in something I truly cared about. I’m glad I did, ‘cause I’m pretty good at it now!

Speaker 5

I have strong maths skills and when I heard about a student mentoring scheme I had to give it a go. I helped school students in my town who were struggling with the subject. It was fantastic to see how they gained confidence in something they weren’t enjoying. I identified with them because I felt the same about foreign languages. I’d always wanted to work abroad but without a language I knew it’d be difficult. On the back of volunteering I got a French tutor. I’m still not that sure of myself when I speak in French but I thought, if I can help other people, I can help myself, too.

Listening Part 4

You will hear part of an interview with a language expert called Rod Chambers, who is talking about languages which are at risk of disappearing. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   How did Rob become interested in saving endangered languages?

      A   He studied endangered languages during his time at university.

      B   He met a group of people whose language was endangered.

      C   He saw the effects of the issue on his own family.

25   When talking about why languages become extinct, Rod says that

      A   parents tend not to consider the language choices they make.

      B   people recognise the need to be able to communicate widely.

      C   some schools refuse to continue teaching minority languages.

26   What does Rob say about the ways in which languages can be saved?

      A   Some of the ideas are less helpful than others.

      B   Promoting a minority language is easier than people think.

      C   The methods won’t be successful without public support.

27   When talking about the importance of keeping languages alive, Rod says that

      A   languages can be compared to living creatures.

      B   there are more important global issues to deal with.

      C   the matter of culture loss isn’t taken seriously enough.

28   What does Rod say about working on his current project?

      A   He likes listening to people’s life stories.

      B   He prefers to focus on examples of natural speech.

      C   He doesn’t enjoy examining grammatical forms.

29   Rod says that data collected as part of language-saving projects can

      A   inform youngsters about their own family history.

      B   be used in teacher training courses.

      C   help a language come back into use.

30   What does Rod say listeners can do to help save languages?

      A   Encourage native speakers to use their language more.

      B   Attend foreign language classes in their local area.

      C   Approach experts to help on recording languages.

Answer & Audioscript

24 B   25 B   26 C   27 A   28 B   29 C   30 A


Interviewer:   Rod, you work in the field of saving endangered languages. What does that mean and how did you become involved in it?

Rod Chambers:   An endangered language is one at risk of disappearing – nobody’s learning it as a first language. I did a degree in communication – though decided against doing a course on the theme of endangered languages at that point. The issue had actually been staring me in the face my whole life – my grandparents speak a language with a limited population of speakers. Yet it was only when I visited an isolated community while I was travelling the world after university that I realised the importance of the matter. I could see that the younger people had moved away for work, so who would the language be passed on to?

Interviewer:   Why do languages stop being spoken?

Rod Chambers:   As technology’s spread, communication across the world has improved, and schools have focused on teaching international languages like English – rather than minority languages. It’s a pity but it’s understandable. People, such as those in the business world, are aware that they have to be able to speak to others in the global society, and parents may just stop using the minority language at home because they want their children to succeed in communicating in an international language.

Interviewer:   Is it possible to save a language?

Rod Chambers:   Yes – with a lot of determination from the whole community – including those who speak the majority language. Some simple measures can be taken. For example, putting up road signs or launching a local TV station in the minority language, or printing official literature in that language can help people recognise it as a part of their community. These options aren’t without their challenges – but there’s plenty that can be done, provided communities are willing.

Interviewer:   Is it really worth all that effort, though?

Rod Chambers:   Of course! It’s tempting to think there are greater concerns, such as saving our rainforests or protecting endangered animal species. In a way, though, these are quite similar to a minority language! A lot of identity and culture is bound up in a language – so if you lose a language, you risk losing what may be thousands of years’ worth of tradition and knowledge along with it.

Interviewer:   And you’re currently recording a language that’s becoming extinct?

Rod Chambers:   Right – there’re only a handful of speakers left and I’ve been recording some of them speaking the language. I focus on capturing as much natural language as possible, so I might get the person to talk about their childhood, for example. Questions about grammar can be difficult for interviewees to answer and not particularly helpful for me. Later, I listen carefully to the recordings and analyse the structures and vocabulary.

Interviewer:   What happens with the data you’ve collected?

Rod Chambers:   The material can be used as an important teaching tool. This means that current and future generations of children can listen to and learn about their ancestors’ language. In some cases languages are revived – brought back to life in other words – and taught as a second language in schools, which is an attempt to maintain that connection with the past.

Interviewer:   What can listeners do if they’re interested in language-saving projects?

Rod Chambers:   Several things. If your relatives or people in your local community speak an endangered language, persuade them to talk to you in it, so you can learn it and pass it on to your own children. Being surrounded by it will be enough without the need to ask for lessons. Or you can make your own recordings of people speaking and upload them onto an online database – don’t worry about doing any analysis – the experts will do that. That’s it really.

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