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 talking about her driving instructor.

      What does she say about him?

      A   He sometimes talks too much.

      B   He has improved her confidence.

      C   He is good at explaining things.

2   You hear two friends talking about online learning.

      They agree that

      A   it is becoming very popular.

      B   it is an option some people can benefit from.

      C   it is not as good as other ways of learning.

3   You hear two colleagues talking about body language in job interviews.

      The man thinks that body language

      A   should be taken into account.

      B   can sometimes be misleading.

      C   is more important than people realise.

4   You hear a woman talking on the radio about a local chess club.

      What is she doing?

      A   reassuring potential new members

      B   explaining how competitions are run

      C   announcing a change of venue

5   You hear two friends discussing recycling.

      What opinion does the man express about recycling?

      A   People should make more of an effort to recycle things.

      B   It does not make sense to recycle most materials.

      C   There might be better ways to be environmentally friendly.

6   You hear a student talking about his English literature course.

      How does he feel now?

      A   relieved to have got onto the course he originally chose

      B   pleased to be in a seminar group with nice students

      C   eager to get feedback on his written work

7   You hear a woman talking about a new fabric her company is producing.

      What does she say about the fabric?

      A   It is remarkably cheap.

      B   It has taken a long time to develop.

      C   It will be used in many different ways.

8   You hear two friends talking about a problem caused by some plants.

      What does the man think about the problem?

      A   It will be impossible to solve.

      B   Its extent has been exaggerated.

      C   It is entirely caused by birds.

Answer & Audioscript

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


1   You hear a woman talking about her driving instructor.

My driving instructor has always said I was very motivated, and I am. He says that’s why I’ve made such rapid progress, but in fact I’ve always been quite a fast learner, and pretty sure of myself whatever I do. Driving isn’t easy, though, and there’s a lot to take in when you start. My instructor puts across new concepts very clearly, which has helped me enormously. He repeats things a lot sometimes and that makes things stick in my head better – I find it very helpful. When I’m driving on my own in the future, I’m sure I’ll hear his voice in my head!

2   You hear two friends talking about online learning.

A:   I’ve heard that most university courses will soon be held online. People won’t sit together in large lecture halls any more – they’ll just watch recorded lectures online.

B:   Yeah, I’ve heard that too, but do you really believe that’s what people want? I think there’s no substitute for actually being in a lecture hall with other people. You really miss out, otherwise.

A:   Well a lot of people wouldn’t agree with that – though I do. And you must admit there are some people for whom it’s the perfect solution!

B:   I’d say everyone benefits from being able to attend traditional lectures in person.

3   You hear two colleagues talking about body language in job interviews.

A:   I’m interviewing candidates for the office manager position tomorrow. I’m going to watch their body language carefully – it can tell you so much!

B:   Really? After all, there are so many other more relevant things to consider – like their qualifications and experience.

A:   I think the way people sit and speak can give away important clues, without them even realising it.

B:   I can’t say I’m convinced. There are people who just present themselves well – that doesn’t mean they’re actually competent. You need to listen to their answers and think about what they’re saying, not how they’re saying it.

4   You hear a woman talking on the radio about a local chess club.

Flyerdale Chess Club was set up 35 years ago, and it’s still going strong. In fact there’s a waiting list now for some evening sessions. Our teams take part in national tournaments, and we’ve won our fair share of cups over the years. You may wonder if you’ll be made welcome if you come along never having played chess before, but I can guarantee you will. We’ve met in a number of places in the past, but now our regular meetings are held in a pleasant room in the central library building. It’s very easy to find.

5   You hear two friends discussing recycling.

A:   I’ve been reading some interesting stuff about recycling. Apparently some things, like aluminium drinks cans, are a lot cheaper to produce from recycled materials than from raw materials.

B:   Is that so? I thought it was relatively expensive to recycle things.

A:   Apparently not. I always try to recycle as much as I can, and so do most people I know – glass, paper, textiles, that sort of thing – though I sometimes wonder

B:   What?

A:   Well, we’re putting all this time and energy into recycling, but maybe we’d be doing more for the planet if we focused on something else.

B:   Yeah, maybe.

6   You hear a student talking about his English literature course.

A:   How are your courses this year?

B:   My English literature course has turned out to be really good. Initially, I wasn’t sure it would be, because I’d put my name down for something else instead. I’d not got on that one, and at first I was pretty disappointed. Anyway, it’s all fine now because my tutors are fantastic, though apparently very demanding – I wrote my best essay ever for the first assignment and they said there was room for improvement! The seminars are fascinating, and though the other students there seemed a bit unfriendly at first, I’ve got to know them and actually they’re great.

7   You hear a woman talking about a new fabric her company is producing.

We’re very excited about this new fabric, and think it’ll be very popular with sportspeople. We’ve been concentrating on sportswear rather than promoting a range of uses for it because it’s the obvious thing to do. Like similar fabrics that have come onto the market in recent years, it keeps the wearer cool and dry as the fabric absorbs moisture from the skin and then allows it to evaporate off the surface. What will give our fabric a particular advantage is that it’s amazingly competitive on price. And all this has happened so rapidly, giving us great hopes for the future!

8   You hear two friends talking about a problem caused by some plants.

A:   That talk was interesting, wasn’t it? I didn’t realise that bringing in plants from other parts of the world could cause so many problems for native species when they spread.

B:   I didn’t either.

A:   And the way people think birds are responsible, moving seeds from place to place, but they aren’t – it’s humans letting them grow in gardens and parks – we just don’t think, do we?

B:   No, we don’t!

A:   And I know some people think we’ll never sort it out, but I don’t believe it’s actually as bad as some people say it is. I think now we’re more aware of the issues, we can do something about it.

Listening 2

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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