FCE Listening Practice Test 1

Answer Keys

Part 1
1. B
2. В
З. А
4. В
5. С
6. А
7. В
8. А
Part 2
9. signs
10. guide
11. helmet
12. confidence
13. jumps
14. landing
15. panic
16. wrist(s)
17. (small) device
18.
parachute
Part 3
19. C
20. E
21. В
22. D
23. H
Part 4
24. C
25. A
26. В
27. В
28. A
29. C
30. В

Tapescript

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.

Part 1

1.
Assistant: Can I help you?
Customer: Yes, I bought this coat here yesterday but when I tried it on at home I found it was too tight on me, so I’d like to exchange it for a larger one [1].
Assistant: I don’t think we have one in stock. Perhaps you’d like to try on another kind of coat, or a jacket? Actually we’ve got some lovely winter jackets, just in.
Customer: No, that’s not really what I’m looking for.
Assistant: I could order the one you mentioned if you like. Or return your money, whichever you prefer
Customer: Could you order it, please?
Assistant: Fine.

2.
Speaker: I’m afraid it looks like there’s quite a storm heading towards western and northern areas, and that will arrive about dawn tomorrow. The rest of the country will start off cloudy with a few showers, but by lunchtime there will be clear skies and the bright weather will last well into the early evening [2], apart from in the south where there might be a few foggy patches once the sun goes down. At around the same time, bad weather will reach eastern regions, bringing high winds and heavy rain, with the possibility of flooding in low-lying areas.

3.
Speaker: I sometimes think back to when I used to drive to work in the morning, looking at my watch and worrying in case the traffic made me late, and though I still have to ride through it and I still get held up by the lights, I much prefer going on two wheels. By the time I arrive I feel pleasantly tired, almost as if I’d been for a light workout at the gym, and that’s a good way to start the day [3]. I hardly give any thought to my work until I actually sit down at my desk, because nowadays I feel much more relaxed and able to cope with whatever might come up during the day.

4.
Speaker: We’re looking for good short stories to read out on next week’s programme, so if you think you’re capable of writing an interesting tale in less than 750 words, either send it in as an email attachment or post it to us and you may be one of the lucky five prizewinners. Unlike in some competitions, as long they are original pieces of writing you can send in as many as you like [4] and there’s no upper or lower age limit. In fact, last year’s first prize was won by a seventeen-year-old, and the winner of the second prize was just sixteen.

5.
Woman: So what sort of books do you like to read in your spare time?
Man: Well, in my student days I went through a phase of reading novels that could really make me laugh out loud, but although I still like entertaining stories my tastes have changed a little.
Woman: To what kinds of thing?
Man: Action stories that take place in remote parts of the world. The kinds of location my grandfather visited in his younger days but I can only dream of travelling to [5]. I particularly like those with weird characters, quite unlike anyone you’ve ever met.

6.
Man: Isn’t it much simpler to look at some online reviews, choose a movie, pay a little to download it and then settle down to watch it, rather than go into town, queue up for tickets and then sit in a crowded, uncomfortable cinema?
Woman: There’s certainly a much wider choice available, and getting the one you want is easy, too [6], but it’s never the same as seeing it on the big screen. And I wouldn’t take too much notice of the comments made by other buyers: they’re even less reliable than the arts critics in the newspapers.

7.
Speaker: Yes, it’s an awful feeling and I’ve been kicking myself here. It’s never happened to me before, though I’ve had a few near-misses. Like the time I got stuck in traffic on the road to the airport and only just made it in time; or when I got off the Underground at Terminal 5 rather than 4, and had to race back to the station when I eventually realised my mistake. On this occasion I got there on time but there were just too many people waiting ahead of me, and when I finally reached the desk I was told the flight had closed [7].

8.
Speaker: When I first saw the ad in the employment section of the paper, it wasn’t the fact I’d be earning far more than I am now that caught my attention, it was the chance to achieve my full potential doing something relevant to the experience I’d gained before I took up my current post [8]. In fact, though the job description in the ad talked about good prospects of rising within the company structure, that’s never really been an ambition of mine.

Part 2

Brad Mitchell: When you go extreme snowboarding, you head for the highest peaks and the steepest slopes, taking little more than a map and some basic survival equipment with you. Unlike in ski resorts, you won’t see any signs telling you there are rocks, or trees around [9], so it’s up to you and your guide to make sure your route is as safe as possible. Of course, you should never attempt to go down a slope on your own. It’s essential to be accompanied by a guide [10], who must go first every time as there may be no clear route down through the rocks and other dangers. They’ll also show you the way up to your starting point, which may involve a long, difficult climb, and may wear a backpack containing supplies. I know some snowboarders like to take a helicopter up to the top, and that’s quick and easy – though expensive – but I always prefer to go on foot, with a helmet on [11], of course. When you finally get up there, the view is always
completely different from the way it looked from below. People say to me it must take a lot of courage to start going down such a steep slope, but if you’ve reached that point then you must be a pretty experienced snowboarder and what’s really required is a tremendous amount of confidence [12]. You never know exactly which way you’re going to go or what you’re going to encounter on your way down, and you often find yourself having to make split-second decisions, but that’s part of the fun.  There’s nothing quite as exciting as suddenly having to perform a series of jumps as you descend [13], and then managing to stay on your feet afterwards. The ability to do that is obviously something that takes those new to extreme snowboarding quite some time to learn. And whereas doing a reasonably good take-off seems to come fairly naturally to most of us, landing is a more complex skill to acquire [14], as I found in my early days out on the mountain side.

Falling correctly is also something you need to practise, initially at low speed and on gentle slopes, and later in conditions more similar to those you’ll encounter on the mountain. Rule one when you lose your balance is not to panic [15], or else you’ll get tense and be far more likely to injure yourself than if you’re relaxed and just let yourself go with the fall. Often the best thing to do is roll out of the fall, but it’s natural to try to use your arms to try to slow yourself down and if you do so remember that elbows, if you fall on them, are much stronger and less likely to be injured than wrists [16]. Following a high-speed fall, you might find yourself covered by some of the white stuff that has fallen with you. There may be just a few feet of it and you can usually pull yourself up to the surface, but if you can’t you’re in big trouble and that’s why I’d never go down a slope without a small device fastened to my body [17] that sends out a signal to the rescue services if I get buried. I know some safety experts recommend also taking a medical kit, but somehow I think that

if I were buried under ice, my priority would be to get out or get rescued. I’m always looking for new challenges. Competition snowboarding was something I looked at, but there were just too many guys showing off. Teaching snowboarding is certainly something I might do one day, but what I really dream about is parachute snowboarding [18]: going straight down a mountain, flying off a cliff and then floating down to the valley below. Now that’s what I call extreme.

Part 3

Speaker 1
It starts as soon as I get home in the early evening. I have a quick snack and then log onto one of my favourite sites. Soon I’ve filled up my basket with all kinds of things – whether I actually need any of them is irrelevant [19] – and then head for the check-out. It’s all so quick and easy. Sometimes I’m watching TV and there’s an ad for a tasty-looking ready meal and I’ll log back on for a minute and order that, too, though when it’s actually delivered it usually turns out to be just junk food and it ends up in the bin.

Speaker 2
I first realised something wasn’t quite right when I kept falling asleep at all hours of the day. Getting up around seven isn’t easy when you’ve been up till two the night before, but somehow I never manage to log off until then [20]. There are just so many great sites, particularly news and sports and also shopping, though I rarely end up buying anything. According to a quiz I did, I do seem to have an addiction, though compared to things like overeating I don’t think it’s a particularly harmful one. I mean, I’m quite fit and – unlike some of my colleagues – I always get to the office on time.

Speaker 3
I always feel I have to be doing something. I just don’t feel right if I’m not working on my fitness level, and the possible long-term, effects of that are beginning to concern me [21]. It also affects my life right now in various ways. For instance, I always go to bed late and get up early. I also need bigger meals than less active people, and although I always choose food that’s good for me, it can be rather expensive and hard to find in the shops. At least, though, the fact that I go everywhere round town on foot means that I’m never held up by traffic!

Speaker 4
It was on all the time in my parents’ home [22] and it’s like that here in my own flat. Usually the same channel, too, because to tell the truth I’m totally hooked on the same kinds of series [22]. It’s odd in a way, because most people of my generation spend all their time on the Internet, or, in the case of the fitter ones, doing sport every evening and weekend. I know my own lifestyle isn’t particularly healthy, though at least nowadays I’m up reasonably early, unlike back in my student days when I often had trouble getting out of bed before noon.

Speaker 5
It’s always my intention to set off in plenty of time, but somehow there always seems to be something that holds me up [23]. It may be a job that needs finishing off, an email that has to be answered – or even a TV programme that hasn’t quite ended. Then I end up literally running to wherever I’m going, always the last to turn up [23] and also often the most stressed one, too. I’ve tried getting up earlier in the morning so that I have more hours in the day to get everything done, but the lack of sleep just makes me feel tired later on and doesn’t help at all.

Part 4

Interviewer: I have with me Leonie Steiner, who’s had a distinguished career both as a pianist and as a music teacher. Leonie, who was your first-ever piano teacher?
Leonie: There’s a long piano-playing tradition in my family and from a very early age I was keen to start playing. In earlier generations fathers and mothers had taught daughters and sons, but both of mine were working full-time, so from the beginning  they had me taught at home by a tutor [24]. That would have been shortly before my first year at primary school, where I also had lessons.
Interviewer: And when did you actually start giving lessons?
Leonie: In my late teens, by which time I was giving solo performances. Some professional musicians give private classes to make enough to live on, or perhaps to find out whether they would make good teachers, but for me it was never a conscious decision to become a teacher. I’d always enjoyed working with younger students, doing what I could to help them develop as musicians, and without realising it I was becoming a teacher [25]. And ever since then, that – together with performing – is what I’ve done.
Interviewer: And what kind of students do you prefer?
Leonie: I’d say those who perhaps aren’t naturally brilliant, but respond well to intensive teaching and go on to become top performers [26]. More so than those who seem to have been born to play at the highest level, or students who’ve been taught the wrong way and need to get rid of bad musical habits. That can be hard work for both pupil and teacher.
Interviewer: And what do you think of the standard of music education in our schools nowadays?
Leonie: It varies widely. I get the impression there’s been a general shift away from putting pressure on students to achieve exam success to a more skills-based approach, and I think that’s to be welcomed. The media sometimes talk about a shortage of qualified music teachers but I’m not convinced. I’d say there’s a much greater need to invest in new pianos, violins and so on, ensuring they’re top quality [27] so that students really like the sound they make. Because the key to success is making sure pupils enjoy their music lessons, both in terms of playing and singing.
Interviewer: Do school music lessons normally include singing these days?
Leonie: In the majority of cases they still do, and it’s generally popular among pupils, but a lot of them are afraid of doing so in public because of what other people may say or think [28]. That’s a great pity, I think, and if a child wants to sing, I feel strongly that they should always be encouraged to do so.
Interviewer: You’re very highly regarded by your ex-students, many of whom have gone on to have successful careers. What do you think has made you such a good teacher?
Leonie: Well, if that’s true it probably has something to do with the fact I’ve always found it easy to get on with those of a different generation [29], whether they’re at primary school, secondary school or university. In that respect I don’t think I would’ve benefited from actually being trained at college as a music teacher.
Interviewer: Looking back over your career, what big decisions have you had to make?
Leonie: Well, in my late thirties I wondered whether I’d still have the energy needed to keep doing lessons as I got older, but once into my forties I found that wasn’t an issue. Also around then, I was offered the position of assistant head, and I had to think carefully about that because I would’ve been on a much higher salary, but in the end I said ‘no’ [30]. It would also have meant I had less time for doing lessons, and for performing. My response to an offer of work in another country was the same, though I found it much easier to make up my mind about that one. I’ve never regretted staying here.
Interviewer: Thank you Leonie.

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