CAE Listening Practice Test 21 -
CAE Listening Practice Test 21

CAE Listening Practice Test 21

Part 3

Interviewer: Today I’m talking to two professional kayakers Glenda Beachley and Declan Speight, who’s now making a name for himself in the spin-off sport of wild-water racing. Glenda, first of all, why kayaking? What do you get out of the sport?
Glenda: Well I started at six, when my dad let me paddle his boat in the practice pool; we’d do drills. I’ve been at a professional level for six years, recently going full-time. Kayaking’s a very addictive sport. It’s something you want to get better at, no matter how good you are. But what really appeals to me about kayaking is that it calls for several different skills to be used simultaneously [15]. It requires not only physical strength, but mental tolerance. You have to train your brain not to panic when you roll over: to think instead of the process needed to roll your boat back up. Then an added bonus is that when you’re on the water, it’s you and the river. You control the boat and plan your line through.
Interviewer: So what would you say to anyone interested in taking up kayaking?
Glenda: Hopefully, if you join a club, there’ll be people to train with and share vital advice gained from years of experience. But, however much training you decide to do, keep it up. I started by going paddling once a week, slowly building up to several times a day over many years. But most importantly, when you first start kayaking, just have fun [16]. Don’t make it about racing and being the best kayaker in the world, just learn as much as you can. My friends and I used to keep each other progressing. What I mean by that is, when one of your friends learns a trick that you can’t do, that’s all the more reason to train harder and learn the trick faster. And it works both ways, so we all advanced in the sport.
Interviewer: So tell us about wild-water racing, Declan.
Declan: It’s a race on a predetermined section of river. You set off at sixty-second intervals; it’s just you and the river. You don’t have to follow a particular route; it’s up to you to figure out which line is fastest! Training can be hard, physically and psychologically, especially when the weather’s bad and there aren’t many competitions coming up, but it’s worth it in the summer when the big ones come around [17]. Training for me involves being on the water, gym sessions and running to help maintain aerobic fitness. I have to ensure I eat enough of the right things to keep myself in the best shape possible, but paddling definitely builds up an appetite!
Interviewer: So, is kayaking dangerous?
Glenda: White-water kayaking can be, often a small mistake can push you off the right line and you end up paying for it! When I first started out, I felt intimidated by certain stretches of river. I’d weigh up the risks and only have a go once I felt up to the challenge. And I’m still doing that. Sure, you feel exhilarated by that challenge, but you shouldn’t actually be scared. Later, when you start progressing and trying new things, you still get that rush of adrenalin. But you do need to avoid taking unnecessary chances [18]. Things can still go wrong, of course. I’ve had a few nasty spills where I got beaten about a bit, but I‘ve been lucky enough not to sustain a serious injury.
Interviewer: What about equipment, Declan?
Glenda: I always go back to the gear I didn’t have to replace over the course of a full year on the water. A good many bits of costly equipment didn’t make it to any reasonable expectation of a useful lifespan. Kit’s a very personal thing, though; what suits one person might not suit the next. It’s great that there’s a huge range on offer but it’s tough doing the research yourself. As a beginner, I’d say get some insider tips from someone in the know. [19] Don’t just follow your instinct, because whatever you do choose, make sure it’s fitted out nicely for you. A comfortable boat and set of paddles that you can rely on makes the world of difference.
Interviewer: So, both of you, what’s your best memory of kayaking?
Glenda: One of the best things is that it’s a very social sport – it’s all about interacting with other people.  [20]So although the first time I was selected for the national team and winning my first medal in an international competition are great memories, probably my most valued are those when I’m on a great trip, getting to know new rivers and their surroundings in the company of fellow kayakers I trust and get on with.
Declan: This year, the high spot for me was landing in Tasmania with my training partner Sam, to find that all the rivers were in flood, making each one flow. Over the space of a few weeks we paddled lots of them, some of which hadn’t flowed in over twenty years! And I’ve met kayakers from all over the world. [20] I mean, I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t have missed for the world, on and off the river.

Part 4

Speaker 1
I wanted to study medieval culture at university, but needed to earn some cash first, so I thought working as a plumber might help me achieve that. However, the idea of a short plumbing course in my own country didn’t appeal, so when I discovered one in an old European town I jumped at it. I’m bilingual so I knew language wouldn’t be an issue. But what made it perfect was all the ancient ruins in the area, which I was just itching to explore! [21] Once there, I felt really driven to do well – there was just this new sense of optimism. [26] I even went on to be the college’s best apprentice!

Speaker 2
My brother and I had always played a lot of tennis, and I was about to take it up professionally but then injured my leg quite badly and had to drop the idea. So I upped sticks and got on a plane to do a sports science degree [22] at a really old and prestigious university. It gave me a real sense of helping the next generation of top athletes to achieve their dream even if mine had somehow changed direction. And they were really grateful for that, so their recommendations opened a number of doors for me once my studies had finished. [27] That was incredibly valuable.

Speaker 3
I’d always been a great fan of detective stories and I suppose I’d always imagined myself being the one who solves the crime and catches the bad guy. Then quite by chance, I happened to read about a forensic science course in the States and realised it was my big chance as it would get me exactly where I’d always wanted to go. [23] My family couldn’t get over it when I announced my plans. But the great bonus has been that loads of films are made in the area where I’m living, so I’ve got into that art form now. I’d never really seen myself as a movie buff before! [28]

Speaker 4
I’d lived in the city all my life and had plenty of friends there but we were all rushing around frantically as city-dwellers do. [24] Anyway, I’d been reading about problems with the environment and felt increasingly I wanted to do something; but what? Then I discovered a course where I could train in agriculture and rural development, so off we went – me and my family. The area also offered perfect opportunities for me to apply my new-found knowledge, and I realised I no longer needed to rely on anyone to give me a job. [29] We could go anywhere where I could set up by myself. It was exactly what we all needed.

Speaker 5
I’d just qualified as a dentist and knew I could earn good money locally but the kind of jobs that were available just didn’t appeal, somehow. And the only courses that tempted me, if I wanted to top up my qualifications, meant going abroad; so off I went. [25] In fact, even though the course I chose was in English, we were strongly encouraged to learn the local language as part of our studies. And that turned out to be the best thing I ever did, because knowing the language made me feel I really belonged in the place. I ended up settling there, and I haven’t looked back since. [30]