9. (the) green bus
11. (the) dolphins
14. Adventure Tours
16. (wooden) mask
The part of the text containing the answer is underlined with the question number given in square brackets . If you still struggle with FCE Listening, please refer to Listening tips.
Woman: It’s unusual to see you reading a book on science. I’ve read that too. What do you think of it?
Man: This? I got it for my birthday. It’s written in a way that’s supposed to be funny – with cartoons and stuff. I think my older brother thought it’d be good for me – you know teaching me about science which I’m not that interested in really.
Woman: So are you enjoying it?
Man: I’ve got to read it really because my brother’ll ask me about what I’ve learnt – there aren’t many pages to get through at least . I’ll be glad to finish it, though I bet I’ll forget everything I’ve read once I do.
Man: My memories of family holidays as a teenager are of being dragged away from my video games to spend hours in the back of the car making the time pass by listening to my favourite bands on my headphones on the drive to our family’s holiday home. There the entertainment on offer was swimming in the river, or lying in the sun and going for walks in the forest, things I’d absolutely loved not so many years before. I’m embarrassed to admit I insisted on staying in the basement with the curtains drawn watching action movies . Meanwhile, the rest of them had fun swimming, walking and playing in the sunshine.
Man: I don’t think I’d recommend that hotel to anyone.
Woman: You can’t expect luxury for that price. Anyway it was easy to get into the city centre so we managed to see all the sights. 
Man: It was a good starting point for exploring , but the people working there weren’t terribly helpful when we asked them for directions.
Woman: The lady on the reception desk was nice I thought, and you must admit she gave us a room overlooking the garden at the back.
Man: It’s a shame about that tiny bathroom though. The beds could have been softer too.
Woman: We should have read some reviews online before booking.
Woman: It had quite an old-fashioned style – very simple in that you basically follow a single character on a journey with plenty of adventures along the way, unlike a lot of modern movies where there’s so much activity and noise that it’s difficult to follow what’s happening. I hate films that leave you feeling miserable afterwards because of the ending – this one avoided that, but even though the story kept you interested, I ended up feeling annoyed that things didn’t go how I thought they should’ve done  and I wanted it to be more realistic – so you could believe in it.
Man: You’re working part-time in the local supermarket in the mornings, aren’t you? How’s it going?
Woman: It’s OK – I don’t mind it when I’m taking cash and serving customers – I get to chat with them, but putting cans and packets on the shelves all morning can be hard work. When you’re on one of the special counters that serve fish or bread and cakes, it’s easier because you don’t get that many customers. I hope I get put on there again tomorrow like I was today . I spotted some lovely fresh prawns and bought them with my staff discount.
Man: Working in a supermarket has its advantages!
Man: When the band came onstage they were looking extraordinary, dressed in a peculiar but visually dramatic style – all in black and gold with make-up to match − a look that basically worked even if it was bizarre. The concert soon got going and when they played their biggest hits the talent of this group of musicians was apparent to all, with an astonishing version of ‘She’s got that thing’. It seemed they were just getting warmed up when they left the stage and despite calls for more never returned, leaving many a bit let down after the high spirits of such a brief performance. 
Man: One technique you can learn is how to float at your body’s true length, which will let you move more smoothly through the water.  Take a relaxed breath. Fall forward onto your chest and lie flat. Extend your arms over your head, so that your arms and legs reach their full length. You’ll find your legs will sink, which is natural, but reduces speed. You’ll want to lift your head. Try not to and instead push your chest down. Your hips will lift and, to a certain extent, so will your lower half. As your lungs fill with air, you can float at your natural body length.
Woman: At university, it was important to remember I was there to get a degree because there were lots of other activities to do. I only ever missed the occasional lecture, which is a bad habit to get into. I never had enough money to go out anyway. I was studying in the evenings a lot of the time. I didn’t think the whole thing would go by so rapidly and before I knew it I’d graduated.  I’m going to make sure I keep in touch with the people on my course. They were great fun and I needed discipline not to just try and have a good time.
Grace: Hi there. My name’s Grace Connolly and I’m just back from a fantastic trip to New Zealand. It really was the trip of a lifetime, and I’d like to tell you all about it.
New Zealand has two main islands – the North Island and the South Island. I went to the South Island and it’s even more beautiful than I’d expected. There are many ways to see it − you can hire a car and drive, or some people go around by motorbike − you can even see the island by boat, but I went on what’s known as the green bus . Our driver was so helpful and really helped to make it a memorable journey.
So, what route did we take? Well, we started in Nelson, in the northwest of the island. Then we headed off down the west coast stopping at various places  and then inland up to our final destination, Christchurch on the east coast, the second largest city in New Zealand.
I also went on a day tour to a place called Kaikoura, which is a hundred and fifty kilometres north of there. It’s on the coast and is famous for its sea life and also for being one of the most exciting places in the world to see ocean birds. To really experience the day you have to opt for one of these trips. It was dolphins I was keenest to see , but there are whales too. It was an absolutely amazing day.
I made so many new friends on the trip, which was always fun. There were people from all over the world, Korea, Russia, North America … I’ve stayed in regular contact with a girl I met from Japan.  Most of us were quite young, but there was one guy from Germany in his sixties.
New Zealand’s famous for the sports you can do, but it can work out expensive to hire the equipment you need to do things. You had to pay rental charges and so on for everything. I actually took my own bike along with me, and did a fair bit of cycling around.  I rented a surfboard for a day or half day, and though it was more expensive, I also went out on a quad bike one day.
But the highlight of the trip for me was jet boating at place called Buller River. I’d strongly recommend Adventure Tours, the company I did it with  – nothing was too much trouble and they really made it fun and exciting. I didn’t try the other company, which was called Great Days, but friends said it was OK too.
Every trip has some problems – I fell and hurt my shoulder horse-riding on a beach. Luckily the sand was soft enough to prevent it being anything serious, and I didn’t need treatment. But then I actually had to go to Christchurch Hospital after doing something to my foot  – climbing over some rocks. Anyway, it was nothing major and was fine after a couple of days. There are interesting things to buy on the South Island. Nelson Saturday Market’s brilliant.
There are stalls selling food – honey, bread and fruit − all sorts of things. I got a fantastic wooden mask as a souvenir , but there were also paintings and jewellery and stuff that would’ve been nice to bring home too.
The accommodation was great the whole way – the hostels we stayed in were all good. Like The Fairway in Christchurch, or my favourite The Lakeside in Nelson . That’s the place I’d advise anyone to stay. If you go, say Grace told you about it!
I’m already planning a return visit to New Zealand – to North Island this time. It’s got famous mud pools and hot springs, which I might get to visit, but sightseeing’s not my main aim. In fact the reason I’m going is that some friends have offered to take me walking with them round all the best places.  I’m really looking forward to it.
The station I listen to has the right balance of talk, sport and news and a great mixture of presenters but there are far too many advertisements. In the mornings I usually listen to a short news programme and then a show about sports going on both locally and nationally which is presented by a well-known ex sports star. The thing I like about the station is that it has stuff for all age groups. There are a lot of good comedy shows and quizzes, but also stories about people and places in the area and it makes itself accessible to even the youngest members of the community. 
It’s a locally operated radio station and it broadcasts some of the top nationally rated talk radio programmes. There are live shows 24 hours a day and you can listen online if you prefer. I’ve enjoyed listening to it for many years now. I especially like one very amusing comedy programme which is on every weekday night and the Science Fantastic programme on Saturday evenings. I prefer this station to some of the national ones and I like the local news stories, although sometimes I’d rather it took more notice of news and other subjects from overseas, rather than just the local area or the country as a whole. 
I tend to listen to the radio a lot and I love the arts show – that’s the selling point for this station for me − the presenter is very serious about the arts and his in-depth approach helps me keep up-to-date with all the latest theatre, books and movies. Oh, and they don’t broadcast advertisements so you never get interruptions when you’re enjoying a show. I’ve given up flipping through channels to avoid them now.  Another thing is they don’t have news every hour like so many stations. There are some really good quality radio dramas – it’s an excellent way for young writers to get their work broadcast.
Talk radio has grown in popularity in my area and there’s a huge demand for more and more talk-show stars. My favourite station has a show called Viewpoint. It’s presented by a very entertaining guy and sure, there’ll be those out there who may not agree with his opinions, but that doesn’t matter because he makes fun of everything.  So, even if you don’t agree with him, you can sit back and enjoy the humour in his approach to local or national news events. I find I’m still one of the few younger listeners to this station though − most of my school friends don’t really go for it.
I even got a chance to go on this radio station myself. It was kind of embarrassing but quite fun because not everyone gets to go on a radio show and meet the presenters. All the shows are really interesting. They also play a lot of fun games − and talk about popular issues. The station’s known for sponsoring charity organisations in this region, so it’s offering more than just entertainment.  There’s one programme where they’re training young newsreaders so they picked out about thirty kids from nearby towns and are training them to be newsreaders and they get to do one short show each.
Interviewer: Penny Greer is a successful photographer, who runs her own company. Penny, is it important to take a college photography course if you want to do this work?
Penny: I think so − it changed my life. I’d already realised how creative taking photos could be, and my college course was heavily commercial, which put me off at first. My idea was that photography was ‘art’ and I had little interest in taking photos to sell things. I’m glad I got over that, but above all what I learnt there was how to use light and to apply that understanding to whatever I want to shoot.  Once you get that, you lose the fear of making mistakes.
Interviewer: What made you specialise in wedding photography?
Penny: After college, I did some work for wedding photographers who had quite traditional ideas of how to express the character of the event. A wedding’s an emotional day, and photography to me is an emotional process. I’d never thought about it till then, but putting the two together made sense. I was keen to experiment with breaking the rules by being more a fly on the wall − catching what’s happening without interfering. 
Interviewer: Then you set up your own company − how do you attract customers?
Penny: I’ve advertised a lot in the past year, and built a good website to showcase my work. I have print ads in a few wedding magazines, and ads on their sites. The thing that’s really worked is the postcard. I get a mailing list monthly of new brides and mail out postcards.  I get over eighty percent of my calls, meetings and bookings from this source. The ultimate goal is to get the majority of business through personal recommendation.
Interviewer: How do you spend a typical working day?
Penny: I’m usually stuck at my computer, mostly editing and working on the jobs I shot the previous weekend.  While doing this, I also deal with phone calls and emails from interested customers and set up meetings. About a tenth of my time’s meeting clients and getting to know them and only around a fifth is actually shooting, the rest is working on the shots to prepare them for presentation.
Interviewer: How do you get what you want in a wedding photo?
Penny: Obviously it has to capture the powerful emotion of the occasion. I find it’s when everybody’s comfortable because nothing’s worrying them – that’s when they stop acting for the camera and I achieve what I’m looking for.  Some weddings I photograph, the couple want things a little different – they wear something unusual and their guests have to wear special clothes, so the photos turn out pretty bizarre. Those shots can be the most fun to take.
Interviewer: What do you love best about your job?
Penny: Now I have greater freedom to move in different directions – my decisions are trusted and I don’t have to try and adapt to the various tastes of other people.  I’m both scared and proud to make my career choices and being my own boss is something I couldn’t live without. In the early days it was fulfilling to be able to create and work on the shots from beginning to end but now I’m hoping to take on an assistant to deal with certain parts of the process.
Interviewer: What advice do you have for younger photographers?
Penny: The more you shoot, the more you grow. Some people worry they’ll end up with too many photos but you just have to learn to delete them.  It’s not about doing something different at every job. It’s more about using the camera until you’re 100 percent confident in what you’re doing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I always learn from it, and it keeps me fresh. Besides, once you start running a business, you don’t always get to shoot as much as you’d like, so do as much as you can now!
Click to download this FCE Listening worksheet in PDF