CAE Listening Practice Test 14 -
CAE Listening Practice Test 14

CAE Listening Practice Test 14

Answer Keys

Part 1
1. A | 2. C | 3. B | 4. A | 5. C | 6. A

Part 2
7. popular 8. insect 9. green gold 10. (the) storms
11. nets/netting 12. (small) holes 13. boiled 14. blankets

Part 3
15. D | 16. A | 17. B | 18. A | 19. C | 20. D

Part 4
21. H | 22. A | 23. F | 24. E | 25. C
26. D | 27. B | 28. G | 29. A | 30. H


The part of the text containing the answer is underlined with the question number given in square brackets []. If you still struggle with CAE Listening, please refer to Listening tips.

Part 1

Extract One
Woman: You’ve read this new book on competitiveness. Is it all about striving for success, or a defence of the Olympic ideal? You know – taking part is more important than winning.
Man: Well, yes, that’s a view often ridiculed certainly, as some sort of excuse for underachievement. I mean if you run a race, surely it’s because you want to win, and we’ve all got used to the belief that competition is a necessary force for good in the modern world. It’s a deeply ingrained idea. It was a bit of a shock to read that competition impoverishes people rather than enriching them [1]. There’s the mind-boggling range of convincing examples you’d expect in support of this theory, and the whole thing is so engagingly written that the most hostile opponents would have trouble refuting it.
Woman: Well my experience of competition in the business world is nothing but negative. I’d say that if you put competition at the heart of your strategy, far from achieving the desired outcome of boosting efficiency by pitting staff against each other, the effect is rather to encourage people to focus exclusively on immediate success… not on sustained growth [2]. Let’s face it, the best businesses are the ones that look ahead instead of limiting their perspective in this way.

Extract Two
Woman: You know how colours affect us, like red and yellow are often used in fast food restaurants… in the decor I mean.
Man: Yeah, yeah – they say they excite the brain, which tells you you’re hungry – that was in the papers years back.
Woman: Well, OK, but now there’s a suggestion colours may help us memorise better.
Man: Oh, come on. Influence appetites and emotions, maybe, but…
Woman: No, really – this teenager did some research.
Man: Teenager?
Woman: Yeah I know- but it does seem sound [3]. She took a page of words and printed them in so-called ‘warm colours’…
Man: How do you mean?
Woman: Well, reds, oranges, yellows, etc. – and gave people two minutes to memorise the words. She followed that with pretty complicated maths equations to stop them reciting the words in their head.
Man: Hmm… OK, sounds good so far…
Woman: And they were given a minute to record how many words they could remember. And then the same procedure with words printed in cool colours like green and blue.
Man: And?
Woman: Overall warm colours were memorised better and cool colours worse.
Man: She’s followed a thorough process, then [3]. But is there any existing published data that backs up or contradicts these claims?
Woman: Well, not as such, I grant you. Though it sounds like she’s onto something to me. But only time will tell. [4]

Extract Three
Woman: I watched ‘How Musical are you?’ on TV last night – they were saying how listening to music is a really complicated process. The scientists were really going to town on it!
Man: I thought so-called musicality meant being able to play a musical instrument, but that seemed to be just one aspect of the whole programme. It’s odd, people who’ve never set foot inside a music classroom might still have a musical ‘ear’ without realising it!
Woman: You mean, everyone has an innate ability to make sense of music? I’m not sure but it brings an enormous amount of pleasure. [6] I really don’t know how, but it changes my mood when I’m down – which never ceases to amaze me! But they missed a trick in not clarifying why some people are avid listeners to music and others not [5].
Man: They seemed more interested in the possible effect of music on musicians’ brains. I didn’t know that people who’ve had music training in childhood find long-term positive effects on their verbal memory- who’d have thought it. [6]
Woman: I don’t remember words whatever I do! You know that online quiz they mentioned – that might be worth a go. It’s about how engaged you are with music, you know, whether it’s part of your identity or not.
Man: So you might be more musical than you think!

Part 2

Susie: This week’s edition of World Farming comes from the island of Reunion, off the south-east coast of Africa, where there are vanilla plantations as far as the eye can see. Vanilla is an exotic spice which is very nearly the most expensive in the world – second only to saffron – and certainly the most popular. [7] We’re used to tasting it in sweet dishes, but people are now beginning to use it in savoury ones as well. In fact, there’s a restaurant near where I live in London, called Fresh Tastes, where chef Antonio Meltini adds vanilla to almost all the dishes, and quite delicious they are too!

These days vanilla is grown in the Caribbean, East Asia and Africa, but it originated in Mexico, where there is a particular insect which can pollinate the plant. [8] This morning, I visited a vanilla plantation here on Reunion. I heard local people referring to the plants as ‘green gold’ [9] – which isn’t surprising when you think of all the money they represent. Good vanilla is always in great demand and the price at the moment is between ?150 and ?180 a kilo for top quality. In fact there’s been a problem with supplying customers recently, as storms have had a detrimental effect on the harvest [10] – all the more unfortunate, now the various diseases which used to decimate the crop have been eradicated.

I’m told that some of the earlier producers had their vanilla growing in the shelter of trees, but on modern plantations the plants are grown under nets [11], which can easily be removed when it’s time to harvest the vanilla seed pods, which are the valuable part of the plant. After three or four years of growth the first flowers appear, but they only bloom for a day – they need to be pollinated then, either naturally or artificially. Later on, the pods – they’re a kind of shell or case which holds the seeds – are harvested. The pickers often make small holes at one end of the pods, as a means of identifying their farm or plantation. [12] Any pods with black marks on them will probably be rejected at this stage. Healthy-looking pods are dried outside in the sun, then they are boiled for about three minutes [13] – which surprised me rather – but if this isn’t done, the pods wil l open and all the seeds will be lost. So it’s a very important part of the process. Then the pods are put in boxes which have blankets wrapped round them to retain the heat [14]. Materials like polystyrene have been experimented with, and found unsatisfactory apparently. Finally, when the pods have dried out enough, they’re put into new boxes, to allow their characteristic aroma to develop. I was allowed to open up one of these boxes – they’re really just like treasure

Part 3

Interviewer: Today I’m talking to two young journalists -Angus Brown, a news reporter on a national daily, and Yolanda Zouche, a features writer on a London evening paper. You’re both not only successful in your careers, but enthusiastic about them too. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your work. Yolanda?
Yolanda: I’m tempted to say nothing really- I like it all, some things more, some less. Our features are a mix of things that have been thought of and researched and written in advance, and more urgent, topical pieces with a quick turnaround. I’m sometimes sent out on a story that’s needed for the next day. It’s pretty scary when you know you’ve got just a few hours [15] – and it can involve finding people whose addresses you don’t know. That’s the same with any story, of course. You’ll have to think up ideas for pictures to go with it and, write your piece to a fixed word count – but you soon find yourself doing this automatically.
Interviewer: And what do you both enjoy about your work?
Yolanda: Well, I suppose I’m quite a nosy kind of person, so I love digging out stories that haven’t been reported – I’ll go from interviewing a singer about a forthcoming tour to investigating some crime, all in one day perhaps. [16] I’d be bored otherwise, I think, and then it’s all got to be presented in a way that will make people want to read it.
Interviewer: And you, Angus?
Angus: There’s no way I could describe ‘my typical working day’ – that’s the sort of question people often ask. And that’s really why I enjoy it so much I suppose – so many fascinating people to talk to, and so much to learn. [16]
Interviewer: Like several other papers nowadays, Angus, yours has an online version. What do you think is the greatest significance of the change to digital?
Angus: It’s completely altered the way we think about the news. Things move so very quickly, and we really do need to stay receptive to all the opportunities the medium has opened up. I think maybe more people are better informed these days. We’ve certainly become a rolling news operation – I can now file a story as soon as it breaks, early and then update digitally as I find out more. [17] And if I get anything wrong, people are all too quick to point this out on social media.
Interviewer: Finding a job is not easy for anyone – what was it like for you Angus?
Angus: It certainly wasn’t easy. People continually told me that print journalism was dead, and there was no money in it, but in fact I had to beat 1,800 applicants to get on the graduate scheme. [18] Before that I’d been on a couple of temporary work experience placements with a local paper – you can do these to get a taster of the work, but there’s no salary… I managed financially because I was doing some part-time teaching at the same time. You really need some sort of support network of people with influence too – luckily the work experience provided that.
Interviewer: Tell us what qualities you think a would-be journalist needs, Yolanda.
Yolanda: There’s no straightforward answer to that – I’ve got an English degree and Angus is a historian, I believe… that’s his academic background. There are plenty of good courses around, and eventually you’ll have to get to grips with some of the technical stuff – like media law, and so on. But remember no one is ever going to employ a shy retiring type with no ideas [19]. Being able to write clearly and quickly, and think through a tangle of information is obviously helpful – but these are things you can develop with practice.
Interviewer: And what would you say, Angus, is a good preparation for an aspiring journalist?
Angus: I’m wary of long periods of unpaid work experience – you can easily end up doing someone else’s job for free, but some is pretty well essential. Listen to people’s conversations. It’s a great way to get ideas for stories – everything you see and hear is copy for articles. [20] Being a good writer is obviously an advantage as I’ve said, but it’s more important to have something to write about. You don’t need to be, and probably won’t ever become, an expert in anything, but you’ll have the chance to engage with a huge variety of different issues and topics.
Interviewer: Thank you both for sharing your ideas and experience.

Part 4

Speaker 1
Having a part in a long-running play might seem glamorous but there are drawbacks. My fellow actors and I share pretty cramped accommodation, for one thing – tolerance can be stretched to the limit. But I was determined to create my own hideaway, somewhere I could escape to and read quietly [21], so I squirreled myself away in a hidden corner under the stage only to find two other fresh-faced cast members already there, thoroughly at home, drinking tea. [26] We looked at each other in stunned silence – then giggled uncontrollably. What else could we do? Now we gather there before every performance for a bit of quiet, so there’s a strict no talking rule!

Speaker 2
A hospital doctor’s life isn’t the easiest, but I love my job. A couple of months ago though, I made a drastic decision – I changed hospital, so now my commute is just a 12-minute walk from home. I hadn’t foreseen how much more involved in the local community I’d become thanks to swapping my daily drive for a brisk walk – knowing local shopkeepers by name and so on [27]. I can’t get enough of it. And it means I can play with my three-year-old son at both ends of the day, which let’s face it is what drove me to act in the first place [22]. It compensates enormously for the stress and long hours.

Speaker 3
I’ve been the manager at several football clubs, and it doesn’t get any easier. The work itself is varied and complicated, but it’s the garbage the media comes up with that really gets on my nerves. Half of it’s invented, and on occasion it impacts on my kids and friends too, which makes my blood boil. So two seasons ago, I implemented a self-imposed ban – I won’t go on social media or message boards, or read newspaper articles. [23] That’s why I hadn’t a clue why the players were applauding me into the dressing room one morning [28] – turned out they’d seen a press photograph of me doing my charity work at a local school the weekend before.

Speaker 4
Working as a TV presenter, live on air, brings its own set of challenges. To be honest I never quite know what’s going to happen, even now. The system I drew up after the first couple of hectic shows – having a number of back-up plans – was aimed at helping the situation [24] but I confess I still regularly tear my hair out at producers forgetting to tell me of last minute changes to the guest list. [29] It throws my elaborate system into complete disarray. I try to bear in mind however, that there’s another show tomorrow, and the day after – there’s no point getting too worked up.

Speaker 5
As school principal, I’m very conscious of how many people are in my carenot only students and teachers but also ancillary staff and, indirectly, parents. I need to have my act together, which means getting to work early, and am often the last to leave. So last year I hit on the idea of going running – fifteen kilometres, three nights a week. I’d give anything to swap my slow and clumsy running style with the streamlined joggers gliding effortlessly past me [30], but as hoped, I’m finding that if there’s something I need to deal with in school, I can usually find a solution while running [25], and arrive home relaxed – much to my wife’s relief.