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 woman bringing an MP3 player back to the shop where she bought it.

      What is the problem with it?

      A   It plays tracks at the wrong speed.

      B   It jumps from one track to the next.

      C   It doesn’t switch off properly.

2   You hear a woman talking to a waiter.

      What does she want him to bring her?

      A   mineral water

      B   coffee

      C   orange juice

3   You hear a man describing a journey.

      Where did he want to go?

      A   Leeds

      B   Manchester

      C   Crewe

4   You hear an advertisement for a sale in a furniture store.

      Which items have the biggest reductions?

      A   sofas

      B   beds

      C   armchairs

5   You hear a woman talking to a car mechanic.

      What is the problem with her car?

      A   It won’t start in wet weather.

      B   The brakes don’t work properly.

      C   The engine keeps on stopping.

6   You hear a graphic designer talking about his work.

      How does he feel about the recent change in his job?

      A   He thinks his new work is boring.

      B   He regrets giving up his previous job.

      C   He thinks he’s made the right decision.

7   You hear a radio announcement about traffic on a motorway.

      Where are the longest delays expected?

      A   between junctions 10 and 11

      B   between junctions 13 and 14

      C   between junctions 17 and 18

8   You hear a man phoning his local newsagent’s shop.

      Which newspaper did he receive by mistake this morning?

      A   the Telegraph

      B   the Sun

      C   the Daily Mirror

Answer & Audioscript

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


1   You hear a woman bringing an MP3 player back to the shop where she bought it.

Well, I bought this MP3 player a few months ago, and it seems to have developed a fault. When I’m playing a track, suddenly, for no reason, it just stops. And before I can do anything about it, it goes on to the next song. I’ve tried pressing stop, but that doesn’t seem to help. When I start it up again, it goes back to the first track it was playing. I find it very frustrating. I hope you’ll be able to fix it, or if that can’t be done, then perhaps you could replace it? I’m very surprised this had happened, especially as it was so expensive!

2   You hear a woman talking to a waiter.

A:   I’m afraid this isn’t what we ordered. You must have got it mixed up with another table. We wanted a mineral water and a grapefruit juice for the children, and a white coffee, no sugar for me!

B:   I’m very sorry. I’ll be back with your order in a minute.

A:   Don’t worry about the mineral water and the juice – the kids are quite happy with what they’ve got. But I really would like my coffee!

B:   Yes of course, I’ll bring it to you straight away.

A:   Thank you! Oh, and could we have a couple more napkins, too? I think the children might need them …

3   You hear a man describing a journey.

It was awful! First of all, there was some delay on the line from London, so we were late starting, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get to Leeds in time. Well, I did miss the connection, but luckily, there was a train to Manchester, so I took that. And then there was a bus for the last part of the journey. I was really exhausted when I finally got there! It was even worse than my last train journey – you know the one where I was stuck in Crewe for an hour when my connection was cancelled?

4   You hear an advertisement for a sale in a furniture store.

Don’t you think it’s time to replace some of that old furniture you’ve had in your home for far too long? Well, this is your opportunity to do so without having to spend a fortune! Don’t miss the sensational GFI furniture sale this Monday! Incredible reductions on all items in stock. Armchairs at an amazing half price! Sofas with up to 40 per cent reductions and double beds with 35 per cent reductions! Hurry while stocks last! GFI furniture sale starts Monday at eight o’clock sharp! Don’t be late for these amazing bargains!

5   You hear a woman talking to a car mechanic.

A:   Could you please have a look at my car? Do you think you might be able to repair it by the end of the day today?

B:   It depends what’s wrong with it, doesn’t it? What seems to be the trouble?

A:   It starts OK, but then the motor just cuts out every time I stop, like at traffic lights. I mean, when I put the brakes on, it slows down OK, but then I have to start the engine again when I want to drive off.

B:   Let’s have a look at it …

6   You hear a graphic designer talking about his work.

I’ve been in this business for almost 20 years now, and I have to say it’s still very exciting for me. I don’t regret for a comment working freelance, although in the beginning I was afraid I might get bored working from home. You hear stories, don’t you, about how it just doesn’t suit some people? Of course, things are totally different now I’ve got a lovely little office in the attic, with a new computer and my favourite software. I wouldn’t dream of going back to working in a multinational company.

7   You hear a radio announcement about traffic on a motorway.

Good morning, this is Radio Kent with the latest traffic news for the M2 heading into London. Traffic is pretty heavy, especially between junctions 17 and 18, due to roadworks on the A229 which is causing a bottleneck here. Last week road widening was causing long delays between junctions 13 and 14, though I’m glad to say it has now been completed, and we’re getting reports of a steady flow right up to junction 11. And this is where you should expect the longest delays. Delays up to two hours are expected between junctions 10 and 11, lasting right through until evening …

8   You hear a man phoning his local newsagent’s shop.

Good morning, this is George MacPherson, at number 50 Regent Avenue. It’s about my morning newspaper. I’ve been getting my Telegraph delivered from your shop for the last 25 years, and I really think that entitles me to a bit of service! I came downstairs first thing this morning, looking forward to having my first cup of tea and reading the paper – and what do I find on the doormat? The Sun! And a few days ago it was the Daily Mirror! This is unacceptable! I expect you to send someone round with my newspaper now!

Listening 2

You will hear part of a radio interview with a woman called Alice Barker, who has a rare condition called synaesthesia.  For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   Alice describes her ability as

      A   connecting emotions and words.

      B   linking colours and emotions.

      C   connecting colours with words.

25   We are told that Alice developed this condition

      A   because it is in her family.

      B   when she was a child.

      C   when she had children.

26   When she was younger, Alice and her brother

      A   used to think they were going mad.

      B   would argue about the colours connected with words.

      C   saw the same colours for certain words.

27   Alice says that this ability

      A   is directly associated with her moods.

      B   can make her feel depressed.

      C   makes her feelings more intense.

28   What is the effect of Alice’s condition on her reading?

      A   It makes her read more descriptions of colours.

      B   It can encourage her to reread a sentence.

      C   It makes her avoid sentences with bright descriptions.

29   Alice feels that having this condition

      A   is very unpleasant at times.

      B   is generally not a problem.

      C   is not pleasant at all, on the whole.

30   Doctors used to believe that this condition

      A   made people insane.

      B   only affected the insane.

      C   indicated the person was going mad.

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   My guest today is Alice Barker, who has a very unusual ability. Alice, thank you for coming into the studio. What kind of unusual ability are we talking about here?

Alice Barker:   Well, it’s quite easy to describe. Basically, when I read a word or even think of a particular word, such as Tuesday, I see a colour connected with it. It’s not that I imagine a colour – I really see it floating in front of my eyes. People think it sounds really weird, but it feels perfectly normal to me!

Interviewer:   How interesting! Is it a sort of medical condition?

Alice Barker:   Yes, and just recently doctors have begun to understand it more. They call it synaesthesia, and it means that somewhere in my brain there are links between sections that should really be separate. Synaesthesia affects different people in different ways. Some people experience tastes or smells when they hear a word, for example. Apparently, it’s generally passed on from parents to their children, which is the case with me. That means if I have kids, I could pass it on to them.

Interviewer:   And do you have brothers or sisters with the same ability?

Alice Barker:   Yes, my brother is the same as me. If we start talking about it, people think we’re completely crazy – in a funny way, of course! When we were younger, we used to have arguments about things like what colour the word Friday was. It turns out that everyone with this condition sees different colours for different things. I haven’t met anyone else with synaesthesia yet, but I think we’ll have some fascinating conversations if I ever do!

Interviewer:   It sounds as though it could make life quite exhausting.

Alice Barker:   I suppose it does, but you see, if you’ve never known anything different, you don’t think of it like that. It does make you aware of your moods, though. I know if I’m starting to feel depressed because things begin to look grey. That’s pretty useful actually, as it means I can do something to cheer myself up before I feel too bad!

Interviewer:   Are there any other advantages to having synaesthesia, do you find?

Alice Barker:   Well, it seems that quite a lot of artists and musicians have this condition, so I guess it can be beneficial if it’s combined with some sort of gift or natural talent. Which is not the case with me, unfortunately! But I do find it makes reading very interesting, because sometimes a sentence has a very nice range of colours, so you want to read it again just to experience that. Of course, this makes me quite a slow reader.

Interviewer:   When you’re listening to someone, do you also see colours connected to that person’s words?

Alice Barker:   Yes, and that can be pretty distracting! Sometimes I hardly listen to what the other person is saying, because I’m concentrating on the colours I can see. But on the whole, having this condition is not at all unpleasant. At least, now I understand it. I think other people have more difficulty trying to get their heads round it than I do experiencing it.

Interviewer:   Did you use to think it could be a dangerous condition?

Alice Barker:   When I was a child, yes, but that was because doctors used to think it was a sign of approaching mental illness, so the first doctor I saw, when I was about ten, told my parents I would probably grow up to be insane! At the time there was no name for what we experienced. Now research has shown that synaesthesia is not that uncommon and it may affect one in 25,000 people. It’s interesting that for some people smells, tastes or even sounds can have colours!

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