A. Listen to Max talking about the tests and fill in the blanks.


You have to

–  order a drink and a 1________ in a bar, ask how much it is, and understand the price.

–  ask for directions on the street (and 2________ them).

–   get a 3________ to a famous place.

–  leave a message on somebody’s voicemail.


–  You mustn’t use a 4________ or phrase book app.

–  You must only 5________ ________.

–  You mustn’t use your 6________ or mine, or write anything down.


1 sandwich   2 follow   3 taxi   4 dictionary

5 speak Spanish   6 hands



There were four tests for me to complete in Madrid. I had to order a drink and a sandwich in a bar, ask the price, and understand it. Then I had to ask for directions in the street, and follow them, then get a taxi to a famous place, and finally phone somebody and leave a message on their voicemail.

There were just three rules. You mustn’t use a dictionary or phrase book app, you must only speak Spanish and you mustn’t use your hands or mime or write anything down.

B. Look at Max’s tests again. Which test do you think was the easiest for him? Which do you think was the most difficult? Listen and check your answers.

C. Listen again. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). Correct the F sentences.

 The waiter didn’t understand Max.

 The bill was €6.90.

 The chemist’s was the first street on the right.

 The driver understood the name of the stadium.

 Max made a grammar mistake when he left the voicemail message.

 Max’s final score was eight.

 Max says you can learn the language in a month.



The easiest test was ordering the beer and sandwich. The most difficult was getting a taxi.


1   F (The waiter understood Max.)

2   T

3   F (It was the second street on the left.)

4   F (The driver didn’t understand the name.)

5   T

6   F (He got seven.)

7   F (You can’t learn a language (Spanish) in a month, but you can learn enough to do some simple everyday things.)


M = Max, P = Paula, W = waiter, Pb = passer-by, T = taxi driver, L = Lola

M   I arrived at Madrid airport where I met Paula. Hola, Soy Max.

P   Encantada. Soy Paula.

M   Paula took me to my hotel, and that evening we went to the centre of Madrid and it was time for my first test. I had to order a sandwich and a drink in a bar, then ask for the bill. I sat down at the bar and I tried to order a beer and a ham sandwich. Por favor, una cerveza y un bocadillo de jamón.

W   En seguida.

M   Fantastic! The waiter understood me first time. My pronunciation wasn’t perfect, but I got my beer and my sandwich. I really enjoyed it. But then the more difficult bit. Asking for the bill… ¿Cuánto es?

W   Seis noventa.

M   ¿Cómo?

W   Seis noventa.

M   Six ninety. I understood! Paula gave me eight points for the test. I was very happy with that. Next we went out into the street. Test number two was asking for directions and – very important! – understanding them. We were in a narrow street, and I had to stop someone and ask them for the nearest chemist, una farmacia. I stopped a woman. At first I didn’t understand anything she said!

Pb   Siga todo recto y tome la segunda por la derecha. Hay una farmacia en esa calle.

M   I asked the woman to speak more slowly.

Pb   Todo recto y tome la segunda calle por la derecha DERECHA.

M   I got it this time, I think. The second street on the right. I followed the directions and guess what. There was a chemist there! Seven points from Paula.

Test number three. I wasn’t looking forward to this one. I had to get a taxi to a famous place in Madrid. Paula wrote down the name of the place on a piece of paper. It was the name of the football stadium where Real Madrid play. We stopped a taxi.

El   Bernabéu, por favor.

T   ¿Qué? ¿Adónde?

M   He didn’t understand me. I tried again, but he still didn’t understand. I was desperate, so I said, ‘Real Madrid, Stadium, football’.

T   ¡Ah! El Santiago Bernabéu.

M   Finally! Paula only gave me five because I ended up using English. Still, at least I made the taxi driver understand where I wanted to go. And so to the final test. I had to leave a message in Spanish on somebody’s voicemail. I had to give my name, spell it, and ask the person to call me back. Paula gave me the number – it was one of her friends called Lola – and I dialled. I was feeling a bit nervous at this point, because speaking on the phone in a foreign language is never easy.

L   Deje su mensaje después de la señal.

M   Er. Buenas noches. Soy Max. Max. M-A-X. Er…Por favor…llámame esta noche…Oh yes…a las 8.30 er, Gracias. Well, my grammar wasn’t right, but I left the message. Half an hour later, at half past eight Lola phoned me. Success! Paula gave me eight points. That was the end of my four tests. Paula was pleased with me. My final score was seven. I was quite happy with that. So, how much can you learn in a month? Well, of course you can’t learn Spanish in a month, but you can learn enough to survive if you are on holiday or on a trip. Now I want to go back to England and try and learn some more. ¡Adiós!

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