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 two friends talking about a lesson on the subject of newspapers.

      What do they agree about it?

      A   Some unusual ideas were expressed.

      B   A wide range of issues were covered.

      C   It was well-planned.

2   You hear a main talking about skateboarders in the past.

      What is he doing?

      A   explaining the reputation they once had

      B   describing how attitudes towards them have changed

      C   suggesting reasons for their interest in the sport

3   You hear a girl talking about a diary she keeps.

      Her main aim is to explain

      A   her reason for starting to write a diary.

      B   the effect that keeping a diary has on her.

      C   the different functions a diary can have.

4   You hear a boy talking about a weekly video he posts online in which he expresses his opinions.

      What does he find most challenging?

      A   responding to criticism from other people

      B   producing original ideas on a regular basis

      C   copying with the amount of interest he gets

5   You hear part of a programme about sea creatures called sea dragons.

      What does the man say about the different types of sea dragon?

      A   Their sources of food are becoming scarcer.

      B   They have names which reflect their appearance.

      C   Certain differences between them have only recently been discovered.

6   You hear two friends talking about a film they’ve seen.

      What does the girl think about it?

      A   The storyline was too complicated to follow.

      B   The music was unsuitable for the subject matter.

      C   The main actor failed to live up to her expectations.

7   You hear a news item about a small town in Alaska called Whittier.

      What is unusual about the town?

      A   Children can get to school without going outdoors.

      B   There is only one shop for the people to use.

      C   All residents live and work in one tall apartment block.

8   You hear two friends talking about a dance competition.

      What do they agree about it?

      A   It should be held on another day.

      B   It will be more fun to watch than take part in.

      C   It’s bound to be a great success.

Answer & Audioscript

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



Girl:   I enjoyed the discussion about newspapers. Having to do some research before the lesson meant we all knew what we had to discuss.

Boy:   Yeah, but the discussion itself was a bit disorganised. We could’ve done with someone to lead it and make sure everyone had a chance to speak. We did get through a lot of topics though.

Girl:   Everything from how newspapers deal with social media to the way they report on celebrities’ private lives. I thought some people had some very interesting and different things to say.

Boy:   Yeah, well, they talk as if they’ve got something new and amazing to tell you. I didn’t hear anything I hadn’t heard before, though.


Man:   I remember getting my first skateboard when I was 11. In those days skateboarders were generally seen as rebels who just did whatever they wanted without considering other people. So skateboarding was disapproved of by just about everyone, and people who did it liked to show off the fact that they were different. They had to practise in the streets because there weren’t any specially built skateparks back then. But it’s difficult to understand why they were so looked down on because I’m sure they didn’t mean to get in the way of people and annoy them. It’s completely different nowadays of course – you can practise in almost every city park.


Girl:   I’ve been writing a diary ever since my mother bought one for my seventh birthday, and I don’t mean a book with dates for homework assignments and parties; for me it’s more where I jot down my thoughts and feelings, and even sketch things that catch my eye. And I really appreciate being able to look back at what I’ve written. When I first began, I was worried my life was boring and there wouldn’t be much to say, but it’s actually made me realise that I do some quite cool stuff. Some people say writing a diary makes you remember the bad times. In fact, it’s the opposite for me!


Boy:   I guess my videos have been a success, at least judging by the number of comments I get – sometimes there are so many I can’t possibly answer them all. People who leave comments don’t necessarily agree with every word I say and tell me why they think I’m wrong. I’ve learnt not to take this personally though. The thing is to get a discussion going if I can and arguing’s part of that. There’s a lot of pressure to come up with something new and fresh every week though, ‘cos there are more people doing similar things to me, and it’s important to keep everyone coming back for more.


Man:   Sea dragons may sound like mythical animals from a fairy tale, but they really do exist. They’re amazing little creatures, close cousins of seahorses, and they feed off tiny fish and plankton. They don’t have teeth or a stomach and, you know, they have to eat constantly, and they’re able to travel quite long distances to find a adequate food supply. Until recently, scientists believed that there were only two species of sea dragon: the Leafy sea dragon, which has large plant like flaps flowing out of its body, and the Weedy sea dragon, which looks similar but has smaller flaps. It turns out there’s a third type – one scientists have decided to call the Ruby sea dragon, thanks to its stunning colour.


Girl:   Well, that film was rather disappointing, wasn’t it?

Boy:   I quite enjoyed it actually. More than the book it was based on. I didn’t even manage to finish that. At least I know how the story ended now.

Girl:   Well, actually the film totally changed the ending to the story, and I couldn’t really understand why. And also, the boy who played the lead wasn’t like I’d imagined – a bit too self-confident, you know?

Boy:   But what did you think of the soundtrack? I found it a bit annoying and repetitive at times.

Girl:   It’s not the sort of thing you’d normally associate with that types of film – it seemed to work though.


Woman:   Whittier is a port in the US state of Alaska. When you get there you realize that there’s something quite unusual about it. There are no picturesque little homes scattered around. Almost the only building you can see is the Begich Tower. This 14-storey complex is home to the majority of Whittier’s 200 residents.

As well as providing accommodating, the Tower also houses Whittier’s police station, supermarket and local government office. The school, which caters for kids of all ages, isn’t too far from the building’s west tower and is accessible via an underground tunnel. This means they’ve no excuse not to go even during Whittier’s extremely severe winters.


Boy:   Are you looking forward to the dance competition on Saturday?

Girl:   Yes. Are you going to go in for it?

Boy:   No way. I’ll buy a ticket and go and watch, though. What about you?

Girl:   I’m actually competing in it – I’ll probably be a bit nervous so I expect you’ll have a better time than me.

Boy:   Well, I’m sure you’ll be fine and the audience will love it. But the people in charge really should’ve put it off until everyone knew what they were doing.

Girl:   I could’ve done with more time to learn my steps, that’s for sure!

Listening Part 2

You will hear an astronomer called Steve Mitchell talking about his work.

For questions 9-18, complete the sentences with a word or short phrase.

Working as an astronomer

Steve first became interested in astronomy after watching a (9) …………………………………… on TV.

Steve says that as a teenager he particularly appreciated the (10) …………………………………… of the night sky.

Steve describes how excited he felt when he saw a (11) …………………………………… through his telescope.

Steve finds it surprising that the (12) …………………………………… in the universe are so varied.

Steve’s ambition is to go on a trip to (13) …………………………………… one day.

Steve says that (14) …………………………………… can cause unexpected problems for inexperienced astronomers living in built-up areas.

Steve thinks finding a (15) …………………………………… is the best thing that beginners interested in astronomy could do.

Steve thinks the many (16) …………………………………… surrounding one planet would be easy for young astronomers to identify.

Steve says that amateur astronomers’ important (17) …………………………………… include finding new stars.

Steve explains that (18) …………………………………… is the most important quality astronomers need to have.

Answer & Audioscript

9 documentary   10 beauty   11 comet   12 moons

13 a space station   14 light (pollution)   15 (local) club

16 rings   17 discoveries   18 discipline


Steve:   Hi. I’m Steve Mitchell and I work as an astronomer. I’ve been invited here today to tell you about my work.

I became keen on astronomy when I was a kid. I read science magazines intended for adults – anything about maths and physics – I didn’t fully understand them but I loved the challenge. I watched a lot of TV – I loved nature programmes and I was also interested in a documentary that was popular then – that’s what opened my eyes to the possibility of astronomy as a career.

As a teenager I went stargazing whenever I could. I didn’t understand the complexity of everything I saw in the night sky at that stage – it was the beauty of it which appealed to me. It’s easy to get excited by the mystery of the universe – there’s still so much we don’t know about it.

Every night felt like an adventure – I used to stay up late hoping to catch a glimpse of another galaxy through my telescope or to see a shooting star – what astronomers call a meteor. I didn’t manage to spot one, unfortunately. I saw my first comet when I was sixteen though – that was thrilling, even for my family who weren’t into astronomy.

Then I started studying the wide range of stars in the universe. Their different colours reflect how old they are. Recently I’ve taken a particular interest in all the different moons out there. There are millions of them orbiting the planets and it’s astonishing that some are intensely hot and have volcanoes on their surface while others have an icy surface with oceans underneath.

I’ve recently been to a research centre in the USA and met other astronomers, which was something I’d always wanted to do. I also attended the launch of a spacecraft bound for Mars, which was awesome. One day it might be possible to live on a base there and lots of young scientists dream of doing that. Visiting a space station is definitely on the list of things I hope to do. And there are a couple orbiting the Earth right now!

Now, if you’re thinking of taking up astronomy, don’t worry about equipment. A good beginners’ telescope isn’t as expensive as you’d imagine. The weather can spoil things at times – you don’t see stars in a sky covered with clouds, and light pollution is becoming an issue in cities. It may mean you see nothing, even on a cloudless night, which is often something people don’t realise when they’re starting out.

To get started in astronomy, you can learn the basics from a website – there are plenty to choose from. But that means you don’t get to meet people and share ideas. You could consider taking a course, but a good one can be expensive. Joining a club is another option, and if you’ve got one locally that’s be the ideal thing.

So what should you try to spot first? Well, the planet Saturn is fascinating with its rings round it, which are clearly visible with a telescope, so it’d be good to look out for them. Jupiter has remarkably colourful clouds surrounding it, but they’re not so easily seen. Another feature of Jupiter is what’s known as its red spot, which is actually a huge storm in its atmosphere, but even experts struggle to locate it.

Astronomy, at a professional level, requires specialist knowledge and skills. Astronomers need to make calculations, for example, about the distance between stars. But amateur astronomers have a real part to play – teenagers have made significant discoveries including new stars, and there are certainly more to be made. So it’s a worthwhile hobby!

To be a professional astronomer, you’ll need a passion for the subject. Curiosity matters too – the ability to keep asking questions. And astronomy’s a competitive career – so you’ll need ambition. More than anything else, though, discipline is what’s needed because all scientist have to be prepared to work hard.

Listening Part 3

You will hear five short extracts in which teenagers are talking about a favourite book

For questions 19-23, choose from the list (A-H) what each speaker says about the book.

Use the letters only once. There is one extra letter which you do not need to use.

A   I was drawn into it from the beginning.

B   It’s more humorous than other books by the same author.

C   One of the characters reminds me of someone I know well.

D   It used to belong to a relative of mine.

E   It’s set in a place I’ve visited.

F   I was inspired to read it by a TV programme.

G   It helped me to deal with a situation in my own life.

H   There are interesting descriptions of people in it.

19   Speaker 1

20   Speaker 2

21   Speaker 3

22   Speaker 4

23   Speaker 5

Answer & Audioscript

19 H   20 A   21 G   22 C   23 D


Speaker 1

Girl:   My favourite book’s called ‘Think Twice’. It’s quite an old-fashioned book in some ways, but that’s partly why it appeals to me, and also because my grandmother gave it to me. She said she used to love it when she was my age and she was so pleased when she found a copy of it for me. I haven’t read anything else by the same writer but I’d like to. She presents the characters to you in a fascinating way which really brings them to life – and once you get into the plot, it keeps you guessing right to the end. It was adapted for television recently and they did it much better than I’d expected. But I still prefer the book.

Speaker 2

Boy:   I really love a book my brother gave me for my last birthday called ‘Henry’s Adventures’. He said the main character was just like me, which I think’s a bit unfair because that guy, Henry, is always doing ridiculous things, getting into all sorts of trouble. The author’s done a great job though, writing about the different places where Henry goes – I could almost see them! It’s really hilarious – I just couldn’t stop laughing, and I literally couldn’t put the book down from the moment I picked it up. It’d make a great TV series. I’ve finished it now and I’m definitely going to read some other stuff by her.

Speaker 3

Girl:   I read lots when I’m on family holidays. We go to my grandparents who live near the sea, and I love lying on the beach with a good book. I particularly like books about other kids. The best one I read last summer was about a girl and her brother who suddenly had to move to the other end of the country. I could relate to it because we were just about to go through the same thing, so reading the book was good preparation for that. I have to say that it took me a little while to get into it, but I’m really glad I kept going.

Speaker 4

Boy:   There’s a great series on TV at the moment about a boy who travels into space. I’d read the book that the series is based on and love it. It’s a lot funnier than the TV version, but they’re both good in different ways. The hero’s so like a friend of mine that the story could’ve been written about him, even down to the way the writer describes his appearance. My cousin asked to borrow it when I was staying at his place on a family holiday. He read the first page and didn’t seem to be able to put it down again until he’d finished the whole thing.

Speaker 5

Girl:   I like stories about characters I can relate to. My favourite book’s about a girl who lived in Ancient Rome. Although she lived at a very different time from me, many of the experiences she had are like ones that I’ve had too. It’s an old book – my grandmother’s name’s in the front with the date 1950. She must’ve been about my age when she read it and it’s great to think of her getting as much out of it back then as I do now. I love it even though it’s quite a serious book – actually the writer’s other books are much funnier.

Listening Part 4

You will hear an interview with a man called Josh Reed, who teaches people how to climb trees.

For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

24   When Josh tells people what he does, they are usually

      A   confused about what his job involves.

      B   surprised that there is such a job.

      C   critical of his choice of job.

25   What appealed to Josh as a child about climbing trees?

      A   the excitement of doing something his parents disapproved of

      B   the chance to face up to a physical challenge

      C   the contrast with his other daily activities

26   What does Josh think now about the job he had looking after trees in public places?

      A   He continued doing it for too long.

      B   It was the obvious work for him to go into.

      C   The training he received for it was limited.

27   Josh says his main aim in offering his tree-climbing course was to

      A   make people more knowledgeable about trees.

      B   show people the health benefits of this activity.

      C   change people’s attitude to the environment.

28   Why is Josh against climbing very tall trees?

      A   It’s dangerous for ordinary people to try it.

      B   It’s unfair to disturb the wildlife in them.

      C   It’s wrong to run the risk of damaging them.

29   What impressed Josh about the group he recently taught?

      A   how effectively they dealt with a problem

      B   how carefully they listened to his advice

      C   how quickly they learnt climbing skills

30   What does Josh look forward to doing in the future?

      A   developing new tree-climbing techniques

      B   having the chance to climb trees in different parts of the world

      C   spending more time promoting tree climbing as a leisure activity

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   Today Josh Reed, who runs courses teaching people to climb trees, will answer questions sent in by our listeners. But first Josh, how do people respond when you tell them what your job is?

Josh:   They say things like: ‘How can anyone do that?’ It is a weird career choice, so I can understand why they don’t believe anyone actually does it for a living. And it’s certainly not the sort of work that would suit everyone.

Interviewer:   Now, Ben, who’s twelve, asks how old you were when you started climbing trees.

Josh:   Well, I was about Ben’s age actually. There were lots of trees where I lived, and I used to climb them after school. The world felt different from up there and it was an escape for me from all the homework and stuff I was expected to do. I began with the smaller trees, but soon progressed to the bigger, more difficult ones. I even climbed neighbours’ trees. I’m sure my parents wouldn’t have been very happy about that, but I just couldn’t resist it.

Interviewer:   Right. Chris, who’s fifteen, asks if you’ve ever had any other jobs.

Josh:   Well, I studied engineering at college, but there weren’t many jobs in that field at the time. I saw an advert for an assistant tree surgeon, which involved making sure trees in parks and other public places were healthy and in good condition. So I went for the job and ended up doing it for fifteen years. I never had any formal qualifications, but I worked with people who knew a lot and passed their knowledge on to me. I should’ve given it up sooner than I did, though – I needed a new challenge.

Interviewer:   That takes us to Elena’s question: What made you want to start organising tree-climbing courses?

Josh:   Well, working as a tree surgeon, you get to know a lot about things like different types of wood, how trees develop, and also their importance to us. It made me think about what we’re doing to trees and nature generally. I reckoned if I encouraged people to climb trees, they might see the world from a different perspective and then become interested in protecting nature. Tree climbing makes you fit too, and I thought people might be attracted by that as well.

Interviewer:   OK. Lucy asks if she could learn how to climb really tall trees.

Josh:   There’s lots of interest in them – like the Giant Redwoods which can be over a hundred metres high. With the safety equipment and methods, experts can get up them without injuring themselves. Their trunks tend to be quite plain, but there are birds, insects and small plants living at the top of them which, of course, people would like to get close to. But extremely tall trees are also extremely old and can be fragile, and they should be left alone as much as possible. There are plenty of others worth climbing.

Interviewer:   Maria asks what sort of people you teach.

Josh:   Well, the majority are just ordinary people. Actually, I’ve recently finished a course for some 15-year-olds. Teenagers sometimes get criticised for not paying attention to what instructors like me say. But this group were very attentive. Like younger people often do, they picked up the basic skills quite easily. The only real issue was when they climbed a tree with a huge ants’ nest in it. Some of them got really worked up about that, but generally they were much more confident by the end.

Interviewer:   Right. A final question from Peter. What are your plans for the future?

Josh:   Actually, I’d like to continue to do interviews like this – they’re a good way to get across the message about tree climbing. The gear we use is much better than it was and there are good techniques that can be passed on. Tree climbing doesn’t have to be restricted to this country either. The idea that tree climbing is a good leisure activity to take up has plenty of potential in other places too, I’m sure.

Interviewer:   OK Josh. Thanks very much.

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