Listening 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 man talking about planting flower seeds in his garden.

      When does he expect them to grow?

      A   June

      B   May

      C   April

2   You hear two friends talking about when they last met.

      What was the occasion?

      A   a birthday party

      B   a wedding

      C   a Christmas party

3   You hear a woman talking about the kind of book she currently enjoys reading.

      What kind of book is it?

      A   romance

      B   detective novel

      C   fairytale

4   You hear two friends discussing the sports they play.

      Which sport do they most enjoy playing?

      A   basketball

      B   tennis

      C   volleyball

5   You hear a shop assistant talking to a customer.

      What is the customer looking for?

      A   a shirt

      B   a suit

      C   a sweater

6   You hear a man talking about his job as a lighting technician in a theatre.

      How does he feel about tonight’s performance?

      A   concerned about making mistakes

      B   surprised to be so nervous about the experience

      C   excited about working in live theatre

7   You hear a boy talking about school.

      Which subject does he like best?

      A   maths

      B   art

      C   history

8   You hear a travel agent talking about a journey.

      What is the customer’s final destination?

      A   Houston

      B   New York

      C   Los Angeles

Answer & Audioscript

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


1   You hear a man talking about planting flower seeds in his garden.

I’m a keen gardener and there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing everything I’ve planted coming up in spring. I think it’s nice to put in some early-flowering seeds as soon as winter’s properly over – maybe in April so there’s less chance of a late frost that you sometimes get in the earlier months of the year. You wouldn’t want to leave it as late as May to do any planting if you want to see the results by June, though. You should have a lovely splash of colour in the flower beds by then. You may find they’re a little later, depending on whether we get any warmer weather …

2   You hear two friends talking about when they last met.

A:   George! It’s so lovely to see you again! It must be ages since we last met.

B:   Oh, I suppose it is. But weren’t you at Michael’s twenty-first party last August?

A:   No, I wasn’t. I got the flu at the last minute. I think the last time I saw you was three years ago in December, when we all had dinner together in that Indian restaurant …

B:   No, surely we’ve met since then … Wait a minute … it was at Peter’s place. When he and Jenny got married.

A:   Yes, of course it was! Wasn’t it a fantastic reception?

B:   One of the best I’ve ever been to.

3   You hear a woman talking about the kind of book she currently enjoys reading.

I suppose the books I’ve tended to pick up most often are somehow romantic – not in the traditional sense but like Time to Go which I’ve read recently. It’s about the lonely individual against the world, about a man’s relationship with nature – it’s a moving story. I used to be into mysteries in a big way – I just loved the thrill of trying to work out who’d done the crime before the detective did. I started to find the themes repetitive after a while, though. I’ve actually gone back to my childhood favourite recently. Simple fairy tales may not seem very grown-up, but some of them are real classics.

4   You hear two friends discussing the sports they play.

A:   I haven’t played tennis for ages. I’m sure you’ll beat me easily.

B:   We can practise for a while first, if you prefer. We shouldn’t leave it so long until we play next time, since it’s our strongest sport.

A:   Sure. I’m not as fit as I should be either … as you no doubt picked up when we played volleyball at college yesterday.

B:   Well, I guess no one puts their best efforts into sports they aren’t so keen on. By the way, are you playing in the basketball match on Saturday?

A:   No. To be honest I’m thinking of giving it up. It’s something I’d much rather watch than play.

B:   That’s a pity.

5   You hear a shop assistant talking to a customer.

A:   How did that sweater fit?

B:   Not bad, actually, though I’m not sure about the colour. Anyway, I think I may abandon my search until another day and concentrate on what I really came in for! I’m going to an important business event next week and need a shirt to go with my suit as nothing I have really seems suitable. Do you have formalwear in stock?

A:   Indeed we do. In fact, we have a very wide selection of formal garments, in addition to our casual range. If you follow me over to the formalwear section, I’m sure we’ll be able to sort you out with just the right thing.

6   You hear a man talking about his job as a lighting technician in a theatre.

A:   How’s your new job, Michael? You’re part of the theatre lighting team, aren’t you?

B:   Yeah. Tonight’s the first performance I’ll be involved with. I expected to be nervous about it, in case I get something wrong. Fortunately, though, the whole responsibility doesn’t lie with me to get everything right, and once everything’s up and running, I’ll be able to enjoy it. Even if I do make one or two errors – the audience probably won’t realise. I’m sure I’ll be pretty tired by the end of it with all the concentration and so on. It’ll be a real buzz, though – I’ve wanted to work in theatre for so long.

7   You hear a boy talking about school.

I’m pretty good at maths, and I’ve had some good results in homework projects lately. I just find it … I don’t know … fairly easy really, which means there isn’t much challenge in it for me. My teacher says I’m talented – unlike history, where I struggle to remember all the dates and stuff. I know I should take more interest in it – it just doesn’t do it for me. I guess the highlight of the school day is art. That’s where I really seem able to let my imagination take over – it takes my attention away from all the serious stuff we have to study for a while.

8   You hear a travel agent talking about a journey.

Now, Mr Birch, the good news is that I’ve been able to arrange a flight for you, getting you to Houston by Wednesday morning for the price you wanted to pay, but the bad news is that it does involve a few stopovers. You see, you first fly to Amsterdam, arriving late Tuesday morning, and then take the transatlantic flight to JFK Airport in New York, where you have to wait for about three hours for your connecting flight to your final destination, which will be coming from Los Angeles …

Listening 2

You will hear part of a radio interview with Laura Bartlett, who works as a florist (someone who sells and arranges flowers). For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   Laura’s parents

      A   were professional gardeners.

      B   had a successful florist’s shop.

      C   loved cultivating plants.

25   Laura originally wanted

      A   to work as a graphic designer.

      B   to become an artist.

      C   to write articles for a magazine.

26   She became a florist

      A   because she didn’t know what else to do.

      B   as soon as she resigned from the magazine.

      C   as the result of an accident.

27   In the beginning, Laura

      A   wasn’t skilled at working with flowers.

      B   didn’t work with flowers at all.

      C   only delivered flowers to customers.

28   Laura had to learn

      A   the names of different species of flowers.

      B   which flowers florists could use in their work.

      C   how to prepare flowers for arrangements.

29   Laura suggests that a young person who wants to be a florist must be prepared

      A   to send flowers to people who are ill.

      B   to work long hours at certain times of the year.

      C   to spend a lot of time at the flower market.

30   Laura advises young people who would like to become florists

      A   to work at a florist’s while they are attending courses in floristry.

      B   to study floristry full time at a college before they get a job.

      C   to learn how to program a computer.

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   Welcome to this week’s edition of Careers for You. My guest on today’s programme is Laura Bartlett, a successful florist. I’m sure there are many young people out there who’ve never considered floristry as a career. Who knows, they might be inspired by Laura’s example! Laura, how did you become interested in floristry?

Laura Bartlett:   My parents were keen gardeners. My father used to grow rare varieties of vegetables and my mother grew orchids very successfully. But it was my mother’s sister who was the professional. She had a florist’s shop, and when I was a kid, I’d help out at weekends. I grew up knowing quite a lot about the business.

Interviewer:   So being a florist was something you’d always wanted?

Laura Bartlett:   Not exactly! When I was at school, I wanted to be an artist but my art teacher persuaded me to train as a graphic designer instead. After college I got a job working for a magazine, but I hated being in an office all day, so I resigned. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a number of temporary jobs. And then one day, my aunt fell and broke her arm. She asked me to help out in the shop until she got better. But I liked it so much that I stayed on, and eventually took over from her when she retired.

Interviewer:   What exactly did you do?

Laura Bartlett:   At first, I did the jobs I’d done as a kid: cleaning, delivering flowers to customers, things like that.

Interviewer:   Didn’t you work with flowers at all?

Laura Bartlett:   Well, that’s a skilled job. My aunt’s assistant would do the creative stuff and I’d put together simple bouquets – following her instructions.

Interviewer:   What kinds of skills did you need to learn?

Laura Bartlett:   Lots! Fortunately, I already knew a lot about the different species and varieties of flowers available, but I now had to learn how to look after them, prepare them so they lasted, wire them if necessary.

Interviewer:   Wire them?

Laura Bartlett:   Yes. In some arrangements, flowers have to keep a certain position, and one of the ways you can make sure they do this is by twisting fine wire round their stems.

Interviewer:   Oh, I see. Would you say that being a florist is a good career for a young person?

Laura Bartlett:   That depends. You have to love flowers, but you must also be good with people. You see, people come into a florist’s for many reasons – often they want some flowers as a gift for a birthday, perhaps they want to apologise to someone, a family member could be ill. They depend on you to help them make the right choice, so you have to take an interest. And it’s not all pretty flowers. You have to get up before dawn to buy good quality flowers from the market; it’s not much fun when you have to put your hands into freezing water in winter; you stand most of the day; you have to lift heavy containers; and before special occasions like Mother’s Day, you need to work through the night to prepare orders.

Interviewer:   So if any of our listeners would like to become florists, how should they go about it?

Laura Bartlett:   Well, they could try getting a job at a florist’s and learn the business on the job. Or they could take a course at a college. My advice would be to look for a part-time job and attend courses in floristry at the same time. That way you get a good knowledge of all aspects of the business. Because it is a business. If you want to run your own shop one day, you must learn how to manage a budget, run a website and keep accounts. No matter how talented you are, you will fail unless you can do all the other boring things!

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