1. Listen to two colleagues, Amelia and Chloe, talking about a female scientists, Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. Tick (✓) the correct sentences.
1 She’s always been famous.
2 She isn’t very well known.
3 She made an amazing discovery.
4 She created a new mathematical theory.
2. Listen again. Are the sentences true or false?
1 Amelia’s reading a non-fiction book about planets and stars.
2 Jocelyn Bell-Burnell discovered a particular kind of star.
3 She won a Nobel Prize for her discovery.
4 She did badly when studying science at high school.
5 Life wasn’t easy for her when she made her discovery.
6 The press didn’t treat Jocelyn Bell-Burnell seriously.
7 Amelia has been inspired by Jocelyn Bell-Burnell.
2 She isn’t very well known. ✓
3 She made an amazing discovery. ✓
1 T 2 T 3 F – her supervisor won the Nobel Prize.
4 F – she came top of her class. 5 T 6 T 7 T
CHLOE What’s that book you’re reading?
AMELIA It’s about astronomy – black holes, planets, the big bang …
C Hmm, not exactly a light read, but I suppose you like that sort of thing. Me, I like to relax when I read.
A It’s just I read this article online the other day.
A It was about this physicist. She discovered these things called pulsars which are like … well, they’re an incredible kind of star.
C Uh-huh . She?
A Yeah, yeah, her name’s Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. She’s a respected physicist. Well, that’s the thing, that’s what got me interested. There aren’t many women working in that area.
C But hang on, she discovered these stars?
A Yeah, she was a postgraduate student at the time, but the guy who was her supervisor got all the credit.
C You’re kidding?
A No, he won the Nobel Prize.
C So who did you say this woman was?
A Jocelyn Bell-Burnell.
C But I’ve never even heard of her.
A Well, no. That’s the point. On this website it talks about … well, it’s got a whole lot of information on people like her … you know, people who work behind the scenes and don’t get the credit or don’t become famous. It was really interesting.
C Yeah, I bet there are a lot of people like that.
A I mean, she really is an inspiring woman. Even when she was at high school, they weren’t going to let her join the science class …
C When was this?
A Back in the fifties.
C Really? Even in the fifties?
A Yeah. And then at the end of the year, she came top of her class! And when she was doing her PhD and made her amazing discovery, she had a young child and was having to manage a whole lot of things in her private life too. I mean, she was really determined, but in a quiet way. And then, when the newspapers wanted to interview her, they didn’t want to know about her research, they just asked a lot of stupid questions about her height, her clothes, that sort of thing.
C That’s terrible, isn’t it? So is that a biography of her that you’re reading?
A Well, no, it’s just a book about astrophysics.
C Astrophysics? Just? Good heavens! So you’re going to become … what? A rocket scientist or something?
A Well, no … I don’t know. The thing is … after I read the article, I found an interview with Jocelyn Bell-Burnell online. And she was talking about how even today there still aren’t many women who go into science and become scientists.
C So now you want to go back to university and do a physics degree?
A Maybe. But, you know, why not? I’ve always been good at science and I used to really enjoy physics.
C But are you really prepared to study and put in all that eﬀort?
A Yeah, I think I am.
C Well, you’ve always been motivated, that’s for sure. And stubborn …
A But I’m still thinking about it … doing some reading, that kind of thing.
C Well, actually … good on you. Why not make a change – take a risk? I admire that.
A Yeah. Actually that’s what she says in the interview: ‘Be prepared to take a risk – you’ll probably surprise yourself.’ And she said something else very simple about women wanting to be scientists: ‘Go for it!’ And I thought, yeah, why shouldn’t I?
1. Listen to a podcast about the 30-day challenge. Tick the main point that Alison makes.
1 The 30-day challenge is a good way to give up bad habits.
2 It’s difficult for the brain to adapt to new habits.
3 If you try something new for 30 days, you’re more likely to keep to it afterwards.
2. Alison made some notes at the seminar. Complete her notes with one or two words in each gap. Listen again and check.
– It takes the brain 30 days to adapt to a new 1_______
– 30 days isn’t a 1_______ time, so it’s fun to do something new.
– Also a chance to try something 3_______ – not just giving up bad habits.
– Two ways to do it:
1 do something that doesn’t get in the way of your 4_______
2 take time out to do something you’ve always 5_______ do
– You need to make an 6_______!
1 habit 2 very long 3 new 4 life 5 wanted to 6 eﬀort
INTERVIEWER So Alison, you went to find out about the 30-day challenge. What is it and how does it work?
ALISON Yes, I went to a one-day seminar about it. The basic idea is that, according to psychologists, 30 days is about the time it takes to really develop a new habit because that’s how long it takes for our brains to shift to a new direction. So often if we try something new, we give up after about a week or two because our brain hasn’t adapted. So the idea of the 30-day challenge is, you choose something you want to do, like drink less coﬀee for example, and you keep going for exactly 30 days.
I So if you manage to do it for 30 days and you feel good about it, you’ll probably keep to it, is that the idea?
A That’s right, yes. But the other thing about it is that 30 days isn’t a very long time. 30 days goes past quite quickly anyway. So if you decide to do something completely new – let’s say you decide to get up at dawn every day and see the sun rise – maybe you wouldn’t want to keep it up for your whole life, but it might be fun to do it for just 30 days. So it’s also a chance to try something diﬀerent, and if you’re successful it’s great but if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t matter too much.
I I see, so it’s not just about giving up bad habits. The idea is really that you try out something new.
A Yes, very much so. There were people at the seminar for example who’d written a short poem every day for 30 days, and someone else had tried to eat something new every day for 30 days. So it’s a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or maybe something new that you’d never thought of doing.
I It sounds a lot of fun, if you’ve got time for it.
A Yes, well you can either do something that doesn’t really get in the way of your life, like writing a poem – you can do that in your lunch break, it’s easy. Or you can take time out and have a go at something you’ve always wanted to do, like paint a picture or climb mountains or something. Obviously to do something like that you need to make an eﬀ ort and of course you have to give yourself a time limit of 30 days.
I So it sounds like you think it’s a good idea.
A I think it’s a great idea, yes. I came away convinced!
I So are you planning to try the 30-day challenge yourself?
A Yes, in fact I already am. I decided to put my car keys in a drawer and I’m going to cycle everywhere for 30 days, even if it rains.
I And how’s it going so far?
A Really well. I’m finding it much easier than I expected.
I And when did you start?
A Erm … this morning.
I Well, good luck with that, Alison. Now Alison’s only just started, but next up on the Life and Style podcast we’re going to talk to a few more people who’ve been doing the 30-day challenge. They’re all about half-way through, and they’ve done it successfully so far …
1. Listen to Part 1. Who do you think they are?
1 tourists visiting a famous building
2 college students doing a course
3 journalists who have just done an interview
2. Listen again. Answer the questions.
1 Are Becky and Tessa friends? How do you know?
2 Why does Becky have to go?
3. Listen to Part 2. Are these sentences true or false?
1 Becky and Tom are married.
2 Becky is free this evening.
3 Becky is in a hurry.
1 Yes. They know information about each other.
2 She’s starting work at her cousin’s café.
1 False: they are planning a wedding.
2 False: she’s got to study.
3 True: she’s on her way to work.
BECKY That was a really interesting lecture. There’s so much to learn, though. I’m going to try and get all my homework done tonight.
TESSA Oh, I’m going out tonight. Can’t be bothered with homework. I’ll do mine later. You always study too much! Do you want a coﬀee?
B Sorry, I can’t. I’ve got to go to work. It’s my first day!
T Oh, of course, at your cousin’s café. Well, good luck! Oh, by the way, when is that assignment due?
B Friday. Really must go now, I’ll be late. See you tomorrow.
BECKY Hi, Tom. I’m just on my way to the café.
TOM Oh OK …
B I’m late.
T Look, this evening … do you want to come over? I wanted to talk over a few things … about the wedding …
B I’d love to but I’ve got to study tonight.
T OK. Never mind. Well, good luck with your first day at work.
B Thanks. I’m sure it’ll be fine.
T Don’t spill coﬀee over anyone!
B I’ll try not to. Oh, must run. Here comes my bus. No time to talk now. See you tomorrow. Bye.
4. Listen to Part 3. What happens to Becky? Choose the correct answer.
1 Becky meets Sam and learns how to make coffee.
2 Becky learns how to handle food and meets a café customer.
5. Listen again. Answer the questions.
1 Sam explains two things to Becky. What are they?
2 What does Phil do in the café?
3 Why do they call him ‘JK’?
4 Who is Emma?
1 How to use the coﬀee machine and handle the food.
2 He writes his novel.
3 Because JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a café.
4 Sam’s wife
SAM OK, so what was I showing you? The food. The sandwiches are all here. The most important thing is, don’t touch the food. Remember to always use these tongs to pick food up. And what else? Oh, the espresso machine. Uh, the coﬀee goes in here, the cup there, and you press this button. Is that clear?
BECKY OK, I’ll remember that.
S Another thing to remember is the tables – they’re all numbered. So it starts with 1 over there and goes round to 15. OK, have you got that?
B Yes, sure. I think I can count to 15!
S Hah – I still get them mixed up myself. Oh, say hello to Phil. He’s our most regular customer.
S This is my cousin Becky. She’s just started here.
PHIL Hi, nice to meet you.
S Phil’s writing a novel.
B A novel! Amazing.
P Well it’s just a science fiction story. Haven’t got very far yet.
S He comes to the café to write. We call him JK. You know – like JK Rowling. She wrote the first Harry Potter book in a café.
B Oh, right!
EMMA Oh, there you are. Lovely to see you, Becky. We’re really pleased you’re working here.
B Me too. I’m going to enjoy it, I’m sure.
E Is my husband looking after you and explaining everything?
B Oh yes, I’m getting the hang of it – slowly.
P She’s doing really well.
E And I see you’ve met Phil. He’s going to make the café famous one day, you’ll see.
6. Listen to Part 4. Which of these topics do Tom and Becky mention?
coffee food Becky’s new job the reason Tom is here
Phil’s book their wedding plans
7. Listen again. What do Tom and Becky say about each topic?
Becky’s new job
the reason Tom is here
their wedding plans
coﬀee: They have a coﬀee while Becky is on her break.
Becky’s new job: Tom asks how it is going; Becky says there’s a lot to learn.
the reason Tom is here: He was passing by.
their wedding plans: They need to start thinking about their wedding.
TOM Large cappuccino please, with extra milk.
BECKY With extra m – oh Tom! Sorry. Wasn’t expecting you.
T I was just passing by. How’s it going?
B There’s a lot to learn, but I think I’ll be OK. Is it OK if I take my break now?
B I’ll make a coﬀee for both of us.
T Sure that’s OK?
B Yeah, it’s fine. You came at a quiet time.
B So, what was it you wanted to talk to me about tonight?
T Er, the wedding?
B The wedding?
T Yes, our wedding!
B Of course. We need to start thinking about it.
1. Listen to Gitta and Derek talking about technology. Are they describing positive or negative experiences? Do they talk about the same device?
2. Listen again. What’s the speaker’s relationship with the other person in the story? What made the experience positive or negative? Why?
They both talk about mobile phones.
Gitta: Michaela is her boss; the experience was negative because Michaela answered her phone and wrote an email during a performance review meeting and Gitta was upset.
Derek: Emma is his niece; the experience was positive because he has a new toy.
GITTA Most people at work think my boss, Michaela, is an inspiring woman who’s had an amazing career – we work for a public relations company. She always looks very busy and people find that impressive, but I find her a bit arrogant, to tell you the truth. The other day, we were having a performance review meeting – she was reviewing me – and in the middle of the meeting her mobile phone rang. She answered the call and just ignored me! When she finished the call, she then spent a long time writing an email on her phone whilst I was just sitting there – waiting. When she’d finished, she didn’t apologise or anything and just said, ‘OK, what were we talking about?’ Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but she didn’t seem to care about our meeting – or me – and was far more interested in her phone call and email. I really think people should switch oﬀ their phones during meetings. I was really upset, to be honest.
DEREK For years, I resisted getting a mobile phone. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a techno-phobe. I’ve been using a computer for years; in fact, I have two: a desktop and a laptop. It’s just that mobile phones annoyed me. I didn’t want to be available all the time and I thought the language people used in text messages was a bit silly. However, my niece, Emma, was determined that I should get a mobile phone. I run a small firm of accountants and she felt someone in my position needed to be ‘more connected’, as she put it. Emma has a smartphone and she explained to me how they were just like mini computers that you carry around in your pocket. And, of course, she was right. She let me borrow hers for a weekend. I didn’t actually phone anyone, but she had a lot of clever apps on her phone and I found out that I could go online and check email really easily. Of course, I went out and bought a smartphone the following week. Emma was delighted – she had finally managed to convince me. I haven’t told her that I still don’t ring anyone or send text messages, but now she thinks I’m more connected. For me, it’s a great new toy – lots of fun.
1. Listen to Michael and Sarah talking about Frane Selak, who some people have called the unluckiest man in the world. Put the events in the order they happened.
___ а plane crash
___ а bus crash
___ winning the lottery
___ а train crash
___ а car accident
___ being hit by а bus
___ а car falling off а mountain
2. Listen again and tick (✓) the correct answers.
1 What happened to Selak when he was in the train crash?
a He was very seriously injured.
b He had an injury.
c He wasn’t injured.
2 What is true about the plane crash that Selak survived?
a Several other people also survived the crash.
b He escaped through а door after it crashed.
c He was helped by а problem with the plane.
3 What was the cause of the bus crash?
a the weather
b the speed of the bus
c а technical problem with the bus
4 What is true about the first incident with а car that Selak had?
a He was not driving the car when it developed а problem.
b The car exploded just after he got out.
c Flames came into the car from the engine while he was driving it.
5 Why did his car go off the side of the mountain in the later accident?
a He was hit by а lorry.
b He hit а tree and lost control.
c He had to change direction to avoid а lorry.
6 Which of the following sentences is true about when Selak won the lottery?
a He often played the lottery at that time.
b He occasionally played the lottery at that time.
c He had never played the lottery before.
7 What is Sarah’s opinion of Selak’s story?
a She is sure it’s true.
b She is not sure if it’s true.
c She is sure it’s untrue.
8 What does Michael say about Selak?
a He thinks that Selak is probably telling the truth.
b He thinks that Selak is wrong to invent stories.
c He thinks it’s strange that Selak gave away his lottery winnings.
2, 3, 7, 1, 4, 5, 6
1 b 2 c 3 a 4 b 5 c 6 c 7 b 8 a
MICHAEL What are you reading?
SARAH An article about this guy … Frапе … Selak.
M Who’s that?
S He’s а man from Croatia … They’ve called him the unluckiest man in the world. It looks like he’s had an incredible life.
M Incredible, how?
S Well … It started in the 1960s. He says he was on a train that came off the tracks and crashed into a river – 17 people died, but he survived!
S He did break his arm, though. Anyway, the next year he was flying on a small plane, which also crashed. The incredible thing was that as it was about to crash, one of the doors opened – the article says it had a fault – and he was sucked out. He landed safely but nobody on the plane survived!
M That amazing!
S I know. Then a few years later, he was in a bus accident. There was heavy rain and the bus driver lost control on the wet roads and crashed into a river. He survived, although four people drowned. Then he was in a car that caught fire while he was driving it on the motorway. He managed to get out with seconds to spare before the fuel tank exploded.
M Wow. I don’t think I ever want to travel with this guy …
S Yeah, but that’s not all … He got hit by a bus in 1995.
M But he was OK?
S Of course. And then the year after, he had another car crash. He was driving on a road in the mountains and he had to turn out of the way of a lorry coming in the other direction. So then his car went off the edge of the mountain and when it hit the bottom, it exploded. But Selak was OK because he’s managed to jump out just before it went over the edge. He was found holding onto a tree near the side of the road.
M That’s just amazing.
M But I don’t know whether he’s unlucky or extremely lucky.
S Well, the story’s not finished yet. Apparently in 2003, he won the Croatian lottery. With the first ticket he’d ever bought.
M No way!
S That’s what it says! So in the end, he’s definitely lucky, not unlucky!
M Or maybe a mix of both.
S Yeah, maybe.
M Do you think it’s true, all that? Can all these things really happen to one person?
S I don’t know. I don’t think everyone believes it. And it says there’s no record of any plane crash in Croatia in the 1960s.
S So I don’t know. What do you think?
M Well, it’s a fascinating story, so I want to believe it’s true. But who knows?
M What did he do with the lottery money, by the way?
S Well, first he bought himself a luxury home, that kind of thing. But then he decided to sell it and give most of the money away to friends and family because he thought that money couldn’t buy happiness.
M Well, it could all be true then. Anyone who would give away all their lottery winnings must be a really good person, so they wouldn’t make up a story like that. I think that’s quite inspiring.
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Possibilities
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Discoveries
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Dilemmas
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – City living
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Around the globe
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Chance