IELTS Listening Practice Test 21 - History of Bath, Urban Pollution

IELTS Listening Practice Test 21

Tapescripts

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

IELTS Listening Section 1

Peter: Hello, Joan. I’m glad you could come.
Joan: Hello, Peter. What’s up? Is something the matter?
Peter: No, no. Everything’s fine.
Joan: It sounded urgent on the phone.
Peter: Did it? It’s just that I’ve had this idea and I wanted to see how soon we could get it off the ground.
Joan: Well, don’t keep me in suspense.
Peter: You know they’re planning to close down the local clinic – it was in the newspaper yesterday, but most people have actually known about it for some time – well, I thought we should do something about it. [1]
Joan: What did you have in mind?
Peter: I thought we could organise a charity event and donate the money to the clinic. [2] I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it will show the local council how we feel and that we mean business.
Joan: That’ll take quite a lot of organising. Why don’t we just hold a protest outside the Town Hall? [3]
Peter: protest would take just as much organisation as an event like this. Besides, I think fewer people would turn up. A village fair, or something like that, would attract more people and get money for the clinic. People are more generous when they’re enjoying themselves.
Joan: Okay, then, it sounds good to me. How do we start?
Peter: First, we put our heads together and come up with a list of people who’ll be willing to help and people who can provide us with some of the things we need. For example, we might need a caterer to provide refreshments, a rock band for entertainment, tents and so on. [4] Then we do a lot of telephoning around and try to get everybody together at the same time in the same place.
Joan: Sounds like a lot of work to me.
Peter: That’s only the beginning. First things first, though. Let’s decide now on who to get to the initial meeting and where and when to hold it.
Joan: Fine. Well, the village hall would be the best place to have the meeting. [5] It’s not as big as the youth club, but it’s warmer. There’ll be no problem getting permission to use it, but I suppose it depends on how many people we invite.
Peter: We don’t want too many, otherwise the meeting will go on too long and nothing will get decided. But the village hall is a good idea. It’s more official than having it in someone’s living room. How many? Six or eight people to start with, ten at the most.
Joan: Okay. Now we have to decide on a suitable day and time. Suitable to everybody, I mean. A Saturday or Sunday would seem to be the best choice because people aren’t at work on those days, but they may not like the idea of giving up a part of their weekend for a meeting.
Peter: Unless we persuade them it’s for a good cause, or that it’s to their advantage. And that it’ll all be a lot of fun. We’ll provide refreshments, of course.
Joan: What if some don’t want to give up their weekend?
Peter: Then we’ll give them an alternative. Say, one evening in the week after everybody’s finished work. We’ll see which is the most acceptable to them, then book the hall. [6]
Joan: I can do the refreshments for the meeting. I’ll get Darren and Maggie to help me. I’m sure they’ll be more than willing. So, what’s next on the agenda?
Peter: A list of who we want at the meeting.
Joan: Yes, of course.
Peter: Obviously we want someone from the clinic. I think Dr Perkins would be best. He can tell us exactly what the financial situation is there – you know, how much money it takes to keep the place running – and how important it is for the community to have the clinic. [7]
Joan: The vicar, too. He can rally lots of support. And Mr Sims, our Member of Parliament. He is very busy, but I think I can persuade him to come, or get his wife to persuade him to come. I see her quite a lot socially. [8]
Peter: That’s great. Two other people I have in mind are Freddie Smith…
Joan: The journalist?
Peter: Yes. Well, he’s the editor of the local paper now and might be useful. He might let us advertise for free and he’ll know how to go about getting leaflets and posters printed. [9] That’s another thing; we’ll need volunteers to put leaflets through people’s doors and stick up posters all over the place. [10]
Joan: We can decide that at the meeting. What about the other person?
Peter: What other person?
Joan: You said you had two people in mind, Freddie Smith and…
Peter: Oh yes. Mr Gates.
Joan: Mr Gates? Do I know him?
Peter: You must do. He owns Greatfields Farm. We need a large area to hold the fete.
Joan: Right. So how many have we got, then? Seven or eight? There’s Dr Perkins, Mr Sims, that journalist.
Peter: Freddie Smith, you mean?
Joan: Yes, him. And the vicar and Mr Gates the farmer. That’s only five.
Peter: There’s you and me, that’s seven. That will do for now. Let’s start making phone calls.

IELTS Listening Section 2

Guide: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the Roman Baths. My name’s Amanda and I’m your guide for today. Before we begin the tour, I’d like to point out that we have child carriers, free of charge of course, for those of you with young children [11], and I can see that there are one or two of you here this morning. It might make things a bit easier for you than using a pushchair. If you don’t want to carry your coats and bags around with you, there is a cloakroom behind reception where they’ll be quite safe. Also, should anyone want to use the bathroom, there’s one here in the reception hall opposite the ticket office and another one by the shop where we end our tour, right by the exit. Having mentioned the shop, I should tell you that it’s full of interesting things for you to remember your visit by. Posters, postcards, replicas of the gorgon’s head, the haruspex stone and the statues that you’ll be seeing on your tour. [12] There are also games, books and videos for children, and other souvenirs.

Our first stop will be the Terrace, where you will get your first view of the baths. Now, the statues that line the Terrace here are of Roman Emperors, Governors of Britain and various military leaders. These aren’t from Roman times either. In fact they were sculpted in 1894 especially for the grand opening of the Baths in 1897. [13] But what you can see from here is only a fraction of the whole Roman Baths site, which stretches below ground level under the surrounding streets and squares of the town.

While we’re here on the Terrace getting our first look at the baths, let me fill you in on a bit of the history. This site, with its hot springs, has long been seen as a sacred place, and the first people to build here were the Celts, and the shrine they built was dedicated to the goddess Sulis. Of course, back in those days they had no way of explaining how hot water came to be bubbling out of the ground, so they believed it to be the work of the gods. When the Romans came, they too built a temple here and dedicated it to their goddess, Minerva. [14]

The bath you can see from here is called the Great Bath – not very imaginative, I know, but it is the biggest. Impressive, isn’t it? At one time it was housed in a huge vaulted hall 40 metres high, which for many people of the period must have been the largest building they’d ever seen in their lives. The bath itself is 1.6 metres deep [15], ideal for bathing, and has steps leading down to the water on all sides. The niches or alcoves you can see all around the bath would have had benches and possibly small tables for drinks and snacks. [16] Not a bad way to spend your free time, relax, and tell yourself it’s all good for your health.

Let’s move on to our next stop, the Sacred Spring. This is the heart of the site, where the hot water bubbles up from the ground at a temperature of 46 degrees centigrade. [17] The water comes up from a depth of between roughly two and a half thousand and four and a half thousand metres, where geothermal energy raises the water temperature to between 64 degrees and 96 degrees. Over a million litres of this hot water rise up here every day, and as well as being hot, the water is rich in minerals and it was thought it would cure various ailments and illnesses. [18] In fact, people came here from all over the Roman Empire to try out its healing powers. [19]

Before we take a look at the changing rooms and saunas, which are known as the East Baths, and the plunge pools and heated rooms of the West part of the bath house, we’ll pass through the site of the Temple and the Temple Courtyard. Here we are. This temple is one of only two known classical Roman temples in Britain. The other is the Temple of Claudius at Colchester. This temple is said to date from the late first century AD, being built between 60 and 70 AD. [20] But the original temple has been knocked about and added to over the centuries, and what you can see here arc just bits of the original temple. Okay, shall we move on?

IELTS Listening Section 3

Mr Taylor: Come in, John, come in. How’s the paper going?
Student: Morning, Mr Taylor. Pretty well, actually.
Mr Taylor: Good, good. It’s not all about bicycles, is it? I know you’ve got a thing about bicycles.
Student: Yes, but that’s just…
Mr Taylor: There are other ways to get around town, you know.
Student: Yes, I know. And I think I’ve researched pretty well all of them.
Mr Taylor: Right, then. So your paper’s about urban transport in London, eh?
Student: Not just London, but that is going to be the focus. I’ve also looked at urban transport systems in cities around the world [21]: Madrid, Beijing, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Paris. Other countries too.
Mr Taylor: You have been busy, haven’t you? What’s the purpose of your study?
Student: Well, two things really. I want to see if there are more efficient ways of organising urban transport systems, while cutting down on traffic congestion [22] and, of course, pollution, and to find ways of encouraging people to use public transport instead of their cars.
Mr Taylor: Let’s start with that, then, with cars. I think you’ll have a hard time thinking of ways to persuade people to swap their cars for a crowded bus or underground train. They’re convenient, comfortable, faster, and sometimes they’re a status symbol too. [23]
Student: Okay, I agree that cars will probably always be the most popular means of transport, but there are ways to cut down the number of people who bring their cars into the city. It’s a problem that affects every big city, and several methods have been tried.
Mr Taylor: I know, I know. As I’ve found to my cost! When I go into London, which I do two or three times a week, I have to pay £5 to get into the city centre. [24] Has your research thrown up any more places where they do this?
Student: Oh, yes. Apart from London there’s Oslo, Stockholm, Singapore – now there, in Singapore, they’ve got it really organised. They’ve imposed a tax on all roads leading into the city centre, and they have electronic sensors that identify each car, and then debit a credit card belonging to the owner. [25] And other cities, instead of charging motorists to come into the city centre, have tried other measures.
Mr Taylor: Such as?
Student: Well, in Athens cars are only allowed to go into the city centre on alternate days [26], depending on their licence plate number, in Bogota and some other Latin American cities, such as Quito and Sao Paolo, they’ve developed what is called a BRT system…
Mr Taylor: A what?
Student: A BRT system – a bus rapid transit system. [27] People leave their cars outside the city and take buses which have special express lanes into and through the city. It’s been so successful that they’re trying it out in Mexico City, Beijing, Seoul and Taipei. And other cities are pedestrianising more and more areas of the city centre.
Mr Taylor: I sec. How have these measures affected traffic congestion and pollution levels?
Student: In most cases it has led to a reduction in the number of cars entering the city centre. Certainly in Singapore, where it’s now much easier to move around the city and the air is much cleaner than most other cities in that part of the world. London, too, I believe. I can give some facts and figures if you like.
Mr Taylor: Please do.
Student: In the first year after the tax was introduced, the number of people using buses to get to the city centre rose by 38%…
Mr Taylor: Really? 38%. Incredible!
Student: Yes. And the number of cars entering central London dropped by about 18%. There’s more. The number of people using bicycles and mopeds went up 17%. [28]
Mr Taylor: I knew we’d get to bicycles at some point.
Student: Well, yes. In the city, the bicycle has a lot going for it. You can avoid traffic jams, there are no parking problems, they don’t pollute, they’re cheap to run and they don’t cost very much. Oh, and here’s another fact for you – you can fit twenty bicycles in the space needed to park one car.
Mr Taylor: Well I never! But I can’t see it catching on. Besides, we seem to be getting off the point.
Student: Not at all! China, Japan and Holland have integrated bicycles into their urban transport systems. In Holland and Japan they’ve got special parking areas for commuters who get to the station by bike, and Japan has even built multi-storey parking facilities for bikes close to railway stations. [29] Then look at America – in New York, delivery services use bicycles because they can deliver messages and small parcels far more quickly and at much lower cost than cars or vans. Even the police use bicycles. In fact, in about 80% of the towns in America where the population is around half a million, the police regularly patrol on bicycles. And they have proved to be effective, because they can reach the scene of an accident or crime faster and more quietly than officers in patrol cars, making a lot more arrests per officer. [30]
Mr Taylor: Well, you do know your bicycles, don’t you? But I do need to hear more about the public transport system and what’s to be done about that. And I’d like you to look a bit more into the economics of it. How much it will cost to improve the situation and so on. Okay? Right, see you next Tuesday.
Student: Yes, next Tuesday. Bye, Mr Taylor.

IELTS Listening Section 4

Lecturer: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the science faculty. As you may know, my field of study is neurobiology, so you may be wondering what I have to say to those of you who are studying physics or chemistry or geology – even those of you who intend to become doctors. In fact, what I have to say is aimed especially at those who wish to enter the medical profession, though the main point applies to all of you. [31] And what is my main point? Basically, it is that you shouldn’t get stuck in too narrow a specialisation. What I mean is, too often doctors and scientists become experts on one small aspect of their subject and neglect the rest. [32] Perhaps you have heard the joke about a doctor being introduced to another doctor as an expert on the nose: ‘Oh, yes?’ said the other doctor. ‘Which nostril?’ I know that more and more it is necessary to specialise, because when you finish your studies you have to find a place in the job market. But I do believe that it is damaging both to you personally and to the profession.

You may be surprised to know how many physicians in the past were men of wide culture. Many were interested in the humanities, from the arts to literature to philosophy. A surprising number of them, from Rabelais to William Carlos Williams, became poets, novelists and playwrights. [33] Men of science have written clearly and intelligently about society, psychology and politics. This tradition is not dead. Today such eminent scientists as Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins are well known as popularisers of science, while maintaining high standards. But more of them in a minute.

I’m not saying that while you are studying anatomy you should sign up for a course in English literature, but reading a few works of fiction in your own time will show you the human mind just as your anatomy classes show you the human body. Science faculties and medical schools, it seems to me, now largely ignore this human dimension. [34] Furthermore, the study of medicine, and psychology for that matter, is largely about what has gone wrong with the body and the mind. That is, it mostly deals with the abnormal.

So, to try and correct this situation, if only in a small way, I have come up with some extra reading for you to do. Don’t worry. I wouldn’t have chosen them if I didn’t think they were enjoyable as well as interesting. The first on my list I’m sure you’ve all heard of, even if you haven’t read it: it’s Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Now don’t turn your noses up at it just because it’s now officially a school book and is written to entertain as well as inform. [35] In fact, I’ve found it a very good bedside book. Next come a couple of the writers I mentioned earlier. Any collection of essays by Stephen Jay Gould is worth reading. He writes clearly in a language non-scientists can easily understand – in fact, a lot of his essays are responses to questions about science from the general public. He’s also entertaining on the subject of baseball. Perhaps you should start with Gould’s Wonderful Life: he writes brilliantly about natural history and shows how much imagination and excitement there is in scientific discovery. [36] Then there’s Jared Diamond’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, which shows us how close we are to the apes and forces us to look at some of the darker aspects of human nature. [37] After reading it you won’t forget your animal ancestry. But don’t let that put you off – it’s very readable.

You’re probably saying to yourselves, ’Just a minute, these are all science books. What about the fiction?’ I’ll come to those in a later lecture. At the moment I’m just trying to get you to read away from your chosen field of study. However, I will recommend one work of fiction now, though it might come as a bit of a surprise. If it does, it means you haven’t read it. The book is The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. I can see I have surprised you. Well, it is in fact the first fictional response to Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. [38] Yes, it is a children’s book, but full of surreal fantasy and wit. The fourth, no, the fifth book on the list is a biography: The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr. To my mind it’s not particularly well written, but it is a fascinating story. It is about Luca Turin, a biophysicist who becomes an expert on perfume, and about how he missed getting the Nobel Prize. If any of you are thinking of a career in scientific research, this book might make you think again. [39] It’s a very tough, dog-eat-dog business. Which brings us to the book that inspired Kingsley’s Water Babies, that classic of the genre, Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. [40] If you haven’t read it already, perhaps you shouldn’t be here, if you have, it won’t hurt to read it again. Or if you prefer, read his The Voyage of the Beagle, which as well as being of interest to any natural historian, or anyone interested in scientific method, also makes a great travel book.

Well, I think that’s enough to be going on with. And I can see that it’s time to finish up. So please bear in mind – throughout whatever course you are studying – not to neglect other aspects of your wider, non academic, education. Thank you.

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