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 part of a radio programme about people who can’t hear musical beats.

      What does the man say about being ‘beat deaf’?

      A   Many who believe they are beat deaf probably aren’t.

      B   Beat deafness is connected with the speed of the music.

      C   Beat deaf people don’t understand the idea of rhythm.

2   You hear two students talking about making a map of their local area.

      What do they agree about?

      A   how difficult it might be to use an online tool

      B   how helpful their geography teacher has been

      C   how important it is to do careful planning

3   You hear two friends talking about a TV programme they have seen.

      What does the woman say about the new salt product?

      A   It is not likely to be successful.

      B   It will not offer value for money.

      C   It may not taste as good as normal salt.

4   You hear a teacher telling her students about a historical novel.

      What is she doing?

      A   describing its relevance to her students

      B   providing detailed information about the plot

      C   explaining why she bought the book

5   You hear a man who is blind talking about experiencing travel through his sense of smell.

      Why is he talking about this?

      A   to persuade us to try out his technique

      B   to describe particular journeys he’s made

      C   to explain how his skill makes him feel

6   You hear a sports coach talking to a cyclist.

      What is the coach doing?

      A   praising the cyclist for her progress

      B   explaining why the cyclist feels a certain way

      C   encouraging the cyclist to eat better foods

7   You hear an author talking to a friend about launching her new book.

      How does the author feel now?

      A   surprised by her publisher’s behaviour

      B   worried about certain arrangements

      C   eager to carry out her plans

8   You hear a sea captain talking to trainees about finding the way at sea.

      What does he say sailors must do?

      A   learn from the mistakes of older sailors

      B   study relevant charts while sailing

      C   be aware of their location at all times

Answer & Audioscript

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


1   You hear part of a radio programme about people who can’t hear musical beats.

A:   What does ‘beat deafness’ mean?

B:   It’s when people can’t hear the beat in music. They can’t move in time to even the strongest beat – I’m not saying they don’t know what rhythm is, though.

A:   I’ve seen those people in my exercise class, when I do aerobics, or whatever, to music – they stop to the left when everyone else is moving to the right.

B:   Well, it’s possible that the people you’re talking about just have a problem with learning a new routine at speed. It’s pretty rare to find people who are genuinely beat deaf-though lots of people tend to think they are, when actually they’re just poor dancers!

2   You hear two students talking about making a map of their local area.

A:   So, we have to make a map of our local area for our next geography lesson.

B:   Where do we start? Our teacher told us to look at that online map-making tool, but she didn’t give too many details about it. Using it might be easier said than done, judging by how complex it looks.

A:   The teacher said it looked harder than it actually is to use but I’m not convinced, either. We need to become really familiar with the area before we start doing anything, I’d say.

B:   Walking around and sketching stuff? I’d rather just get on with it.

A:   OK. Well, I’ll meet you after class.

3   You hear two friends talking about a TV programme they have seen.

A:   Did you see that programme about new food technology?

B:   Yeah. Those hollow salt crystals they can make were amazing – they look like real grains of salt, but aren’t solid. Apparently your mind gets tricked into thinking it’s traditional salt, so you can eat more healthily but don’t notice the difference!

A:   I question whether it can really be as nice as the real thing. And it must be complicated to process …

B:   … so it’s unlikely to make it into supermarkets any time soon. It would be pretty expensive, anyway.

A:   But it might be worth it for the sake of being healthier.

4   You hear a teacher telling her students about a historical novel.

I know you’d rather bury your heads in the latest popular novels than read anything that sounds a bit serious, but I must recommend Chortown. It’s not something I’d normally pick up in a bookshop, and I wouldn’t have read it if someone hadn’t passed it on to me. It’s set 200 years ago, and follows the story of a family living in our town at that time. I won’t spoil it by saying any more, but you’ll love recognising the places that are mentioned. Lots of things have changed since then, but the characters’ lives are strikingly similar to our own.

5   You hear a man who is blind talking about experiencing travel through his sense of smell.

I’m blind, so I rely on my other senses a lot, especially when I travel. It’s all very well asking your companions to describe a scene but I was eager to find my own way of experiencing all the new places I visit. So I decided to focus on smelling them instead. It wasn’t easy focusing my attention this way at first, but now I can recall a place instantly when I smell certain things. Sea spray reminds me of South Africa, and fresh coffee of Colombia. I’m convinced this method makes my travel experiences more intense than if I could see where I was.

6   You hear a sports coach talking to a cyclist.

A:   Are you settling into your new cycling routine?

B:   I love it but it’s tough. I feel hungry all the time, though I’ve put loads of effort into making sure I eat the right things – slow-release carbohydrates and so on. But I keep waking up in the middle of the night starving!

A:   Well, you’re enjoying the training, and you’re on track food-wise, but you have significantly increased the amount of training you’re doing – your body’s bound to want more food. Eating straightaway after training will help to avoid feelings of hunger later in the day when you might be tempted to snack on the wrong things.

7   You hear an author talking to a friend about launching her new book.

A:   Hey! Congratulations on getting your book published! Are you going to have a launch party?

B:   Well, I’ve been so relieved the writing’s finally finished I haven’t given it much thought – it isn’t really my kind of thing, It’d be nice if the publisher organised something but they don’t do that unless you’re an established author …

A:   … yes, who’s making them lots of money! Have you got a decent budget for the party?

B:   It’s not bad. Maybe I could have the party at the Condor Hotel. What I’m concerned about is how to attract publicity. I don’t suppose you have any ideas about who to invite?

A:   Let’s have a think.

8   You hear a sea captain talking to trainees about finding the way at sea.

Today’s session is about navigation – finding your way on the ocean. This is a complex science and even highly experienced sailors who’ve spent years perfecting their navigation skills can still make errors of judgement. It boils down to just two things – knowing where you are and knowing how to get where you want to go. Safely. It’s easy to spend enormous amounts of time poring over maps – this is better done before you set off than during the voyage – that’s when you should be concentrating on what’s happening right now.

Listening Part 2

You will hear a man called James Perry talking about growing olives, a kind of fruit used to make oil for food. For questions 9-18, complete the sentences with a word or short phrase.

Olive farming

As James’ olives were growing, some trees were affected by an unexpected (9) ………………………… .

James says that a kind of (10) ………………………… was one creature found on his olive trees.

James decided to pick his olives by (11) ………………………… when they were ready.

James collected his olives using a (12) ………………………… rather than a traditional container.

James says he found cleaning (13) ………………………… out of the olives extremely boring.

After sorting them, James said that the olives had left (14) ………………………… over his kitchen.

At the olive press, James hadn’t expected to wait in a (15) ………………………… .

James’ wife joked they could use his first oil in (16) ………………………… as well as for cooking.

James says that the olives need to be (17) ………………………… when you pick them.

James hopes next year’s oil will have the flavour of (18) …………………………, which he likes.

Answer & Audioscript

9 frost   10 worm   11 hand

12 bucket   13 leaves   14 stains

15 line / queue   16 lamps

17 ripe   18 pepper


Thanks for inviting me to talk to you about my experiences of olive farming. I’m aware you’re thinking of doing this yourselves, so I’ll tell you about the oil production process as I’ve experienced it this year for the first time.

Growing the olives went pretty smoothly, but every crop farmer falls victim to the weather at some point. I’d been lucky to get away with a generally mild winter, and fortunately the farm wasn’t damaged in the one violent storm there was. A sudden frost did claim a number of our trees, though, so their olives didn’t mature.

I also found out that humans aren’t the only creatures which like olives! There are a few insects, such as the olive fly, which can hang around the fruit. I wasn’t bothered by them but I was by a certain species of worm. Fortunately these aren’t harmful to the olives, though.

I picked the olives with help from my wife in autumn, and it was as challenging as you’d expect. Some methods are more efficient than others – I was tempted to pick them by using an electric-powered tool. In the end I opted to collect them by hand in order to maintain quality – though they can also be collected by machine – the trees are shaken and shaken and the olives fall.

Traditionally, olives are collected straight from the tree into a basket. This keeps them in the best condition and they say it produces the best oil. Not having any, I used a bucket instead – and hoped it wouldn’t affect the olives too much!

Once they were picked, the next step was cleaning the olives. I knew I’d have to select only the best ones for pressing – that’s the process where they’re squeezed to produce oil. Any with bruises I threw on the fire, and picking out leaves was possibly the most uninteresting job I’ve ever done – I was glad I didn’t need to take the olive stones out as well.

I remember standing there after I’d finished sorting the olives. It was as though the kitchen had turned into a kind of temporary factory. There were boxes and trays everywhere. Everything was covered in stains – not just the tables but our clothes and skin, too.

The next step was getting the olives to the busy press outside the village. I’d booked the first time slot, so we loaded up at dawn. I arrived on time but then confusingly had to sit in a line while trucks got waved in ahead of me. Whatever the system was, I clearly didn’t understand it.

After only half an hour the old was bottled. The taste was disappointing to say the least. Olive oil is often used to pour over salads, but you wouldn’t have wanted to put my oil on anything! I knew it would be OK to use for cooking and my wife laughingly said we’d be able to burn it in lamps. My first attempt at oil production had not been the great success I’d imagined!

What had gone wrong? I concluded that it must have been choosing the wrong time to pick the olives. We say that fruit becomes ripe when it’s ready to be picked, and this word is used to describe olives, too. But many of the olives in our first batch had gone past that point. We’d been waiting for them to grow bigger, and so picked them too late. That’s why there was so little flavour to my first oil.

Hopefully next year, I’ll be much more successful! I’d like my oil to have that delicious pepper taste it should have. If that works, then the following year I might even try making some flavoured oils – chilli, garlic and herbs are great ingredients. I can’t wait!

Now, are there any questions?

Listening Part 3

You will hear five short extracts in which people are talking about why they studied astronomy, the scientific study of stars and planets. For questions 19-23, choose from the list A-H the reason each speaker gives for choosing to study the subject. Use the letters only once. There are three extra letters which you do not need to use.

A   to gain access to the latest equipment

B   to follow a family tradition

C   to earn a good salary

D   to improve career opportunities

E   to prove something to other people

F   to apply knowledge of another subject

G   to increase the opportunity to travel

H   to satisfy a childhood ambition

19   Speaker 1

20   Speaker 2

21   Speaker 3

22   Speaker 4

23   Speaker 5

Answer & Audioscript

19 F   20 D   21 H   22 A   23 B


Speaker 1

When I was six, my granddad bought me a telescope. It was only a kids’ one and wasn’t particularly powerful but it sparked my fascination with space. I’d spend hours gazing up at the dark night sky. As I grew up and became interested in other stuff, I forgot about the stars for a while, but when I did a postgraduate degree I ended up doing astronomy so I could put my maths and physics degree to use in an interesting way. My parents didn’t think there’d be many well-paid job opportunities in the field and they were right – but I only studied it because I liked it.

Speaker 2

As a kid I used to visit my dad at the observatory where he worked. I remember looking through fancy telescopes there. He was so enthusiastic about his work that he wanted me to follow in his footsteps. That was his dream – I wanted to be a racing driver. I only got as far as working as a mechanic on a team, though, which I didn’t want to do forever. In order to get ahead I knew I’d have to have a certificate or two. I turned to astronomy simply because I already knew so much about it. Dad still thinks I did it for him!

Speaker 3

My family moved around a lot when I was a child, and even when I felt a bit unsettled being in yet another country, the one thing I could rely on was the stars above me. They made me feel safe. So, from being a kid, studying astronomy was the only way forward for me. I can’t imagine what I’d have done if I hadn’t become an astronomer. I had to work pretty hard at the theoretical side of things – my knowledge of physics and maths was weak. But I was determined, and now I’m doing a job I love.

Speaker 4

I didn’t go to university straight after school. Instead, I worked for an organisation which developed computer software for interpreting satellite images. It was specialist work and although I started off as the office junior, I picked up quite a lot of knowledge in a very specific field. I did occasionally get to do a bit of practical stuff, which got me interested in astronomy. If I’m honest, I just wanted to play with the big new telescopes I knew were available to students at the university I chose to study at. I passed the course and now travel around the world making observations.

Speaker 5

As a teenager I wanted to travel all over the world studying volcanoes – something exciting that very few people knew about. That idea didn’t last long as I realised it would be more satisfying to do what generations of my relatives had done before me and study the universe. Now I’m involved in theoretical astronomy – making observations and testing theories. It’s as fascinating as I’d hoped, though the salary could be better – maybe it will be when I make a major discovery about space.

Listening Part 4

You will hear an interview with a life coach called Mel Candy, who helps people to achieve a work-life balance. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   Mel says that people who complain to her about being too busy

      A   usually work in management positions.

      B   want her to tell them precisely what to do.

      C   enjoy the fact that it makes them seem important.

25   Mel thinks that people who live and work alone

      A   tend to lose track of time.

      B   worry about being isolated.

      C   can lose their social skills.

26   What does Mel think about trying to do more than one task at a time?

      A   She believes it’s possible to learn to do it well.

      B   She sees why people think it’s a good technique.

      C   She thinks it’s important to research the idea.

27   According to Mel, the expert answer to gaining work-life balance is to

      A   change your work routine.

      B   achieve goals more quickly.

      C   look ahead at forthcoming events.

28   Mel says it’s difficult to achieve a work-life balance when people feel

      A   concerned that others may judge them.

      B   worried they’ll miss something important.

      C   scared of trying out new activities.

29   What does Mel say about the advice a client gave her?

      A   It made a difference to her own life.

      B   It confirmed why she likes to help people.

      C   It’s something she shares with other clients.

30   What does achieving a work-life balance mean for Mel?

      A   feeling in control of her workload

      B   having more time for social activities

      C   achieving a state of physical relaxation

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   Mel, you’re a life coach, which means you help people improve the way they live their lives. You specialise in achieving a work-life balance, don’t you?

Mel Candy:   Right. The most frequent complaint from clients is that they’re ‘too busy’. Some high-powered managers love that, and they’re successful at making free time too, but for others, no matter what their position, it’s a problem. They recognise there must be something they can do about it – that’s why they approach me. I think they expect me to pick a number and say ‘you should only be spending X number of hours at work,’ but it depends what’s best for the individual.

Interviewer:   Do people who work from home find it more difficult to switch off?

Mel Candy:   Definitely – especially those who live alone, because it’s tempting to work late. For these people it’s essential to get out and have some contact with others every day. The more time you spend on your own, the harder it becomes to hold a conversation when you do see someone. You can spend too much time inside your own head without realising it, and that isn’t healthy.

Interviewer:   What’s your opinion of multi-tasking?

Mel Candy:   Trying to do more than one thing at a time? Sounds great, doesn’t it, saving time by making a business call while you’re eating your lunch at your desk? I used to think I was really good at this, but when I read some ground-breaking research I realised it was actually counter-productive – my brain couldn’t cope with constant switching between activities. It’s better to do one task at a time.

Interviewer:   So, what’s the expert solution to achieving work-life balance?

Mel Candy:   Work can become all-important. I get clients to turn that around – let life become the important thing. I know you can’t necessarily get work done faster, but those who successfully achieve a work-life balance put family occasions and important dates in a diary and stick to them. That’s where I come in, sitting down and getting people to consider not just what they’ve got to do today, but in the next few weeks or months.

Interviewer:   What do people find most difficult when they’re trying to achieve a balance?

Mel Candy:   Putting the fear of losing out to one side – thinking exciting things are happening and they aren’t there to experience them. And people feel guilty if they don’t respond to an email straightaway, even though people don’t usually expect you to answer immediately.

Interviewer:   Have you picked up any good tips from clients?

Mel Candy:   Yes, I have. I never used to leave the house if everything wasn’t in its rightful place. Then a client I was helping told me she’s realised it wasn’t a sign of failure if she left the house a little untidy when she went out to work. She said she’d rather spend her free time on the golf course than tidying up. I adopted her approach – and although I can’t exactly advise other people not to do their cleaning, it saved me half an hour a day.

Interviewer:   How do you know when you’ve achieved work-life balance?

Mel Candy:   I feel energetic and I want to get out there and do things – both personally and professionally. I don’t sit there at my desk wishing I was in front of the TV chilling out. As long as I don’t feel overwhelmed by work and am comfortable with the amount I have to do, that’s balance for me.

Interviewer:   Thanks, Mel.

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