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 an office manager talking about someone in her team.

      What does she say about him?

      A   He appreciates the advice she offers.

      B   He produces work of a high standard.

      C   He enjoys taking on challenging work.

2   You hear two people in a university swimming team talking about a recent training session.

      How does the woman feel now?

      A   pleased with her performance during training

      B   relieved she has been selected for a competition

      C   keen to increase the time she spends training

3   You hear a scientist talking on the radio about a medical development.

      What is he doing?

      A   criticising others in his field

      B   announcing a new discovery

      C   explaining a misunderstanding

4   You hear two psychology students talking about people who are famous.

      They agree that famous people

      A   prefer socialising with other celebrities.

      B   dislike being recognised everywhere.

      C   often become bored with their lifestyle.

5   You hear a shop assistant talking to a store detective about a customer.

      The shop assistant says the customer

      A   was polite.

      B   talked a great deal.

      C   had expert knowledge.

6   You hear two university students talking about their new football kit.

      What is the woman’s opinion?

      A   It should have been less heavy.

      B   It should have been provided free of charge.

      C   It should have been a different colour.

7   You hear a maths teacher talking about what makes his job enjoyable.

      He says his job is enjoyable because

      A   his pupils are motivated.

      B   he has pleasant colleagues.

      C   the school is well-equipped.

8   You hear two tourist information officers talking about a tourist attraction.

      What does the man say about it?

      A   It needs advertising more widely.

      B   There are few places to buy food.

      C   Tourists consider it old-fashioned.

Answer & Audioscript

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


1   You hear an office manager talking about someone in her team.

Now Jim, in my team at work, you know – now he’s an interesting character. Whenever he thinks something looks as if it’s going to be rather demanding, he just doesn’t want to know about it. And yet what he actually does is always really good – it’s top quality in fact. And you know how some people are always asking for help – not that I mind giving it, of course – but I do like the way he just gets on with the things he does feel are within his capabilities. I’ll just have to think of ways to encourage him to be a bit more willing to stretch himself, I suppose.

2   You hear two people in a university swimming team talking about a recent training session.

A:   That was a tough training session, wasn’t it?

B:   Yes, I’m glad it’s over! It’s always worse when they’re picking people for competitions, the coaches push us to the limit.

A:   How do you think you did?

B:   I don’t know if I’ll be in Saturday’s competition, but I think I did pretty well today, to be honest.

A:   I’m not sure I did. I doubt I’ll be selected this time. We should train a bit longer every day. That would do us good, I think.

B:   I really don’t think I could manage any more training than we’re already doing. It’s the effort we put in during the training that counts, I reckon.

3   You hear a scientist talking on the radio about a medical development.

It’s always an amazing feeling whenever there’s a scientific breakthrough, and the excitement about the new drug a few months ago was huge. What often happens immediately after something like that is that the news media report on it without getting all the details right. And then the general public imagine that the benefits of the research will become available far sooner than they actually will. This is what seems to have happened in this case: people are disappointed that things haven’t moved faster. In fact it usually takes a few years to be sure that a new drug or treatment is safe for everyone to use.

4   You hear two psychology students talking about people who are famous.

A:   I’m doing some research on celebrity lifestyles for my project.

B:   Sounds interesting!

A:   Yeah, though I kind of know what I’m going to find … I mean they get sick of all the luxury after a while, don’t they? It’s all the same, day after day …

B:   Really? Lots of them can’t have enough of it, I think! But I’d say they do get tired of never being able to leave home without people pointing at them and staring.

A:   I can’t disagree with you there. And I’m sure that’s why they tend to mix with other famous people in their free time.

B:   They probably like that less than we think.

5   You hear a shop assistant talking to a store detective about a customer.

The customer came in and asked to look at the watches. He asked a few questions, but spent most of the time looking at the ones I showed him in silence. He wasn’t exactly rude, but I wouldn’t say his manners were the best, either. Saying hello when you come up to the counter, and goodbye when you leave, is what most people do and he didn’t bother with any of that. The impression I got was that compared to the average customer he knew a fair amount – more like someone in the business themselves, actually. Anyway, he eventually left without buying anything.

6   You hear two university students talking about their new football kit.

A:   What do you think about the new university football kit? I like the way the men’s and women’s versions are so similar, and I love the orange they chose. I think it’s cool!

B:   Well, apart from the colour, I’m not particularly impressed.

A:   Really? What’s wrong with it?

B:   Well for one thing, the material. There are so many better ones that weigh next to nothing, and still keep the wind out. Why couldn’t we have had something like that?

A:   Yes, that’s true. But I suppose they didn’t want it to be too expensive.

B:   Yes, you’re probably right, but I wouldn’t have minded paying just a bit more for something better.

7   You hear a maths teacher talking about what makes his job enjoyable.

Like any job, teaching maths has downsides as well as upsides. But what job doesn’t? For every morning I wake up and feel it might be preferable just to stay in bed, there are at least ten when I don’t. I know maths isn’t everyone’s favourite subject, and lots of my pupils can’t wait for the lesson to be over. But the atmosphere at the school’s good, partly because the kids are OK really, and also because I couldn’t have more supportive workmates. The school’s hardly the best-equipped as far as smart whiteboards and things like that are concerned, but I don’t really mind about that.

8   You hear two tourist information officers talking about a tourist attraction.

A:   Have you read the report on increasing numbers at the amusement park?

B:   Yes, it makes some good points. How can we persuade tourists to stay there all day if there are only two small cafés? People have to eat!

A:   Yeah – lots of people take their own food, but many don’t.

B:   It also says the park should be better advertised, though you see posters up about it all over the place.

A:   Maybe TV ads about all the new rides this year would help?

B:   Possibly. TV advertising seems a little out-of-date now. But visitors always say they love the new rides, don’t they?

A:   Well, some like to stick with the old favourites.

Listening 2

You will hear a psychologist called Sheena Smith talking about studying human behaviour. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer A, B or C.

24   What does Sheena like about studying behaviour now?

      A   noting the differences between people

      B   getting to understand herself more

      C   learning about human emotion

25   When Sheena talks about her father’s ‘telephone voice’, she remembers

      A   the excitement she felt about a discovery.

      B   the pride she felt in the way her father spoke.

      C   the amusement she felt at her mother’s reaction.

26   During her time at university, Sheena wrote about how we

      A   aren’t as intelligent as we like to think.

      B   don’t like to question our cultural habits.

      C   are unable to change the way we behave.

27   When Sheena took part in an experiment in a lift she felt

      A   surprised by people’s lack of interest in conversation.

      B   disappointed by how awkwardly others behaved.

      C   concerned about doing the wrong thing.

28   What does Sheena think about the work she is currently doing?

      A   It isn’t as interesting as her previous projects.

      B   It isn’t as useful as she thought it might be.

      C   It isn’t as easy to do as she had assumed.

29   The project Sheena has most enjoyed working on

      A   had an unexpected outcome.

      B   helped her to progress in her career.

      C   changed her opinion about the value of research.

30   Sheena says that what she’d like to study in the future will be

      A   unlike anything she’s tried before.

      B   rewarding for the participants.

      C   difficult to achieve.

Answer & Audioscript

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


Interviewer:   Sheena, you’re a behavioural psychologist, which means you study the way people behave. What’s so interesting about human behaviour for you?

Sheena Smith:   Everyone’s a psychologist really, aren’t they? I mean, we’re all fascinated by what other people do, especially when it isn’t what we do ourselves. I guess that’s the heart of the matter for me these days. I’ve always been pretty good at reading people’s faces and understanding how they really feel and that’s what first got me interested in psychology.

Interviewer:   One of your earliest experiences of observing behaviour was seeing what your father did when he answered the phone. Tell us about that.

Sheena Smith:   Well, he had quite a strong local accent but whenever he picked up the phone he’d speak in what I used to call his ‘telephone voice’ – he sort of became a bit more posh. My mum and I would exchange secret smiles when we heard him. What sticks in my mind is the thrill of realising that once he knew who was calling he’d either carry on with the posh voice or relax into his normal way of speaking, if he felt comfortable with them.

Interviewer:   What kind of things did you study during your psychology degree?

Sheena Smith:   I enjoyed writing about how we’re affected by social norms. We like to think we’re complex and individual – and yet we all tend to behave in similar ways when faced with the same situation! It isn’t that we couldn’t do something differently if we felt like it, but we do what’s expected of us – people rarely challenge fixed ideas, even if they like to think of themselves as different. Sooner or later, we realise it’s easier to go with the crowd.

Interviewer:   One of your first projects was studying how people behave in lifts, wasn’t it?

Sheena Smith:   Yes! At the beginning of the project I assumed that if I started a conversation in a lift, people would join in. But they just nodded politely and went back to staring at their phones – I couldn’t believe it! It’s the lack of space in lefts that makes people worry about appearing strange or threatening. So people do nothing at all!

Interviewer:   What are you working on at the moment?

Sheena Smith:   I’m looking at behaviour that seems irrational – that appears to make little sense – like waiting in a long queue, because we think there must be something worth waiting for. But if we see an empty restaurant we won’t go in! It’s not difficult to understand why. I thought I could put an original slant on the work, but I’ve realised this research isn’t going to change the world of psychology – that doesn’t make it any less interesting than other research, though.

Interviewer:   What’s been your favourite project so far?

Sheena Smith:   I did some research about the psychology of giving gifts. People are as happy to receive small gifts as larger ones – except when they learn the cost of the item. Then they start judging it. That was news to me – I’d imagined people wouldn’t be bothered. That was the first article I had published in my professional career, so it was a very satisfying piece of research.

Interviewer:   What would you like to study that you haven’t yet?

Sheena Smith:   I’m interested in people’s behaviour ‘behind closed doors’. The way we behave publicly and in private can be enormously different. You can’t observe people without their knowledge, so studies like this require careful setting up. It isn’t that it can’t be done – you have to observe people for long enough until they forget they’re being observed – video cameras are the best way to do this. It’s easy to find participants for this kind of study – though people don’t always like what they see of themselves!

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