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 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 2

You will hear an interview with a biology student called Gail Koch, who is spending a year in the rainforest working as a field scientist. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   What does Gail say about being a field scientist?

      A   She sometimes fears she will never be a proper one.

      B   Being so keen compensates for what she does not know.

      C   It can be difficult to do a job that is rarely understood.

25   What does Gail enjoy about her life in the rainforest?

      A   the early evenings

      B   the varied wildlife

      C   the pleasant climate

26   Gail’s research involves

      A   finding out about lizards from local guides.

      B   more excitement than other field researchers experience.

      C   moving carefully through the rainforest.

27   What does Gail find most inspiring about her work?

      A   the chance of winning an academic prize

      B   the opportunity to contribute to scientific knowledge

      C   the hope that she will make a discovery before others do

28   According to Gail, working as a field scientist is

      A   a popular career choice.

      B   well paid after people have qualified.

      C   good preparation for work in other scientific areas.

29   What does Gail say about her time at the research station?

      A   She has developed her ability to analyse statistics.

      B   It has improved her chances of doing another course.

      C   She has learned how to complete each of her projects on time.

30   What disadvantage of being at the research station does Gail mention?

      A   She sometimes feels she has too much work to get through.

      B   She has spent a lot of time trying to make herself more comfortable.

      C   She may not be keeping up to date with new developments.

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   I’m delighted to be interviewing Gail Koch, a biology student, via satellite link to the rainforest in South America. Hello Gail.

Gail Koch:   Hi!

Interviewer:   So, after nearly a year studying in the rainforest, what’s it like being a field scientist?

Gail Koch:   Well, people often imagine scientists being in laboratories wearing white coats. But they don’t all work that way – field scientists work outside, exploring and investigating, then trying to understand what they observe. That’s what I’m doing here, though I wouldn’t say I’m a real one yet, even though I’ve been out here for almost a year. But although I still lack experience and have a lot to learn, I hope my enthusiasm more than makes up for that.

Interviewer:   And what do you enjoy most about living out there?

Gail Koch:   I’m living in a typical tropical rainforest, at a small scientific research station. It’s very hot and humid, the trees grow tall and very close together, and it’s absolutely full of life – both plants and animals. But at the end of the day, before it gets dark, it finally cools down a little and the trees look stunning in the light of the setting sun. That’s what I’ll really miss when I have to go home.

Interviewer:   And what does your research involve?

Gail Koch:   I’m studying lizards, trying to find out exactly which species are here. I explore the area around the research station, helped by a local guide, or I’d soon get lost. It’s incredibly exciting when I actually see a lizard. I have to catch it, of course, and then check whether or not I’ve already found an example of this particular species. I spend most of the time, though, walking extremely slowly – and all I can see are leaves! That’s very much what it’s like for most field researchers.

Interviewer:   So what inspires you most about your work?

Gail Koch:   It’s demanding and often repetitive, but it’s rewarding too. It’s not that I want be the first person ever to discover a new species, or gain academic glory – though of course I’d like that – but that I could really add to what scientists know about the world. That’s what motivates me.

Interviewer:   That’s wonderful! How easy is it to become a field scientist?

Gail Koch:   It’s quite a hard world to break into, because so many people want to do it, even though it’s poorly paid compared to many other graduate jobs. In many cases you have to work for no salary at the beginning of your career and even pay your own expenses! That’s tough when there seem to be endless opportunities for science graduates in other careers.

Interviewer:   So would you recommend working at this research station to other biology students?

Gail Koch:   Yes, absolutely! I could be an assistant in a lab going through endless pages of numbers and results, day after day. But luckily I’m here. And I’m sure the countless skills I’ve learned over the past year will be an advantage when I apply to do further study. I can choose my own research, and it’s entirely up to me how I organise my day.

Interviewer:   That all sounds very positive. There must be some disadvantages to being there, though!

Gail Koch:   Well, sometimes I’ve got no idea what I’m supposed to do next, or how to do something, and it can be hard to get myself organised. I had all sorts of plans to improve my little living space when I arrived, but somehow I’ve never got round to it. Also, the technology I use here is fairly basic, and there is always the possibility that I’m missing out on the latest advances in zoology while I’m here. But I personally wouldn’t be anywhere else for the world!

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