IELTS LISTENING – Laura’s work placement S17T3



Laura’s work placement

TIM: Hi, Laura – could you spare a few minutes to talk about the work placement you did last summer? I’m thinking of doing one myself …

LAURA: Hi, Tim. Sure.

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TIM: Didn’t you do yours at an environmental services company?

LAURA: That’s right … It’s only a very small company and they needed someone to produce a company brochure, and I wanted to get some business experience because I’m interested in a career in occupational psychology in a business environment. It was good because I had overall responsibility for the project. 

TIM: What kind of skills do you think you developed on the placement? I mean, apart from the ones you already had … Did you have to do all the artwork for the brochure, the layout and everything?

LAURA: We hired the services of a professional photographer for that. I did have to use my IT skills to a certain extent because I cut and pasted text from marketing leaflets, but that didn’t involve anything I hadn’t done before.

TIM: Do you think you got any better at managing your time and prioritizing things? You always used to say you had trouble with that ..

LAURA: Oh, definitely. There was so much pressure to meet the project deadline. And I also got better at explaining things and asserting my opinions, because I had to have weekly consultations with the marketing manager and give him a progress report.

TIM: It sounds as if you got a lot out of it then.

LAURA: Absolutely. It was really worthwhile … But you know. the company benefited too …

TIM: Yes, they must have done. After all, if they’d used a professional advertising agency to produce their brochure instead of doing it in-house, presumably they’d have paid a lot more?

LAURA: Oh, yes. I worked it out – it would have been 250 per cent more. And I thought the end result was good. even though we did everything on site. The company has quite a powerful computer and I managed to borrow some scanning software from the university. The new brochure looks really professional; it enhances the image of the company straight away.

TIM: So in the long run it should help them to attract clients, and improve their sales figures?

LAURA: That’s the idea. Yeah.

TIM: Well. all in all it sounds very positive – I think I will go ahead and apply for a placement myself. How do I go about it?

LAURA: It’s easy enough to do, because there’s a government agency called STEP – S-T-E-P- that organizes placements for students. You should start by getting their booklet with all the details – I expect you can download one from their website.

TIM: Actually, they’ve got copies in the psychology department – I’ve seen them there. I’ll just go to the office and pick one up.

LAURA: Right. And then if I were you, after I’d looked at it I’d go over all the options with someone …

TIM: I suppose I should ask my tutor’s advice. He knows more about me than anyone.

LAURA: One of the career officers would be better, they’ve got more knowledge about the jobs market than your personal tutor would have.


LAURA: And then when you know what you want you can register with STEP – you’ll find their address in the booklet. And once you’ve registered they assign you to a mentor who looks after your application.

TIM: And then I suppose you just sit back and wait till you hear something?

LAURA: They told me at the careers office that it’s best to be proactive, and get updates yourself by checking the website for new placement alerts. Your mentor is supposed to keep you informed, but you can’t rely on that. 

TIM: I don’t suppose it’s a good idea to get in touch with companies directly, is it?

LAURA: Not really … But it is the company who notifies you if they want you to go for an interview You get a letter of invitation or an email from personnel departments.

TIM: And do I reply directly to them?

LAURA: Yes, you do. STEP only gets involved again once you’ve been made a job offer.

TIM: Right … So once you’ve had an interview you should let your mentor know what the outcome is? I mean whether you’re offered a job, and whether you’ve decided to accept it?

LAURA: That’s right. They’ll inform the careers office once a placement has been agreed, so you don’t have to do that.

TIM: Is that all then?

LAURA: More or less. Only once you’ve accepted an offer you’ll probably have to supply a reference, because the placement will be conditional on that. And that’s something you should ask your own tutor to provide. He knows about your academic ability and also about your qualities, like reliability.

TIM: Well, thanks very much for the information – I’m starting to look forward …

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IELTS LISTENING – Thor Heyerdahl very interested in as a youth? S15T3


Thor Heyerdahl very interested in as a youth?

VICTOR: Right, well, for our presentation shall I start with the early life of Thor Heyerdahl?

OLIVIA:  Sure. Why don’t you begin with describing the type of boy he was, especially his passion for collecting things.

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VICTOR: That’s right, he had his own little museum. And I think it’s unusual for children to develop their own values and not join in their parents ‘ hobbies I’m thinking of how Heyerdahl wouldn’t go hunting with his dad, for example.

OLIVIA: Yeah, he preferred to learn about nature by listening to his mother read to him. And quite early on he knew he wanted to become an explorer when he grew up. That came from his camping trips he went on in Norway I think …

VICTOR: No, it was climbing that he spent his time on as a young man.

OLIVIA: Oh, right … After university he married a classmate and together, they  decided to experience living on a small island. to find out how harsh weather conditions shaped people’s lifestyles.

VICTOR: As part of their preparation before they left home, they learnt basic survival skills like building a shelter. I guess they needed that knowledge in order to live wild in a remote location with few inhabitants, cut off by the sea, which is what they were aiming to do.

OLIVIA: An important part of your talk should be the radical theory Heyerdahl formed from examining mysterious ancient carvings that he happened to find on the island. I think you should finish with  that.


OLIVIA: All right, Victor, so after your part I’ll talk about Thor Heyerdahl’s adult life, continuing from the theory he had about Polynesian migration. Up until that time of course, academics had believed that humans first migrated to the islands in Polynesia from Asia, in the west.

VICTOR: Yes, they thought that travel from the east was impossible, because of the huge, empty stretch of ocean that lies between the islands and the nearest inhabited land.

OLIVIA: Yes, but Heyerdahl spent ages studying the cloud movements, ocean currents and wind patterns to find if ii was actually possible. And another argument was that there was no tradition of large ship-building in the communities lying to the east of Polynesia. But Heyerdahl knew they made lots of coastal voyages in locally built canoes.

VICTOR: Yes, or sailing on rafts, as was shown by the long voyage that Heyerdahl did next. It was an incredibly risky journey to undertake – sometimes I wonder if he did that trip for private reasons, you know? To show others that he could have spectacular adventures. What do you think, Olivia?

OLIVIA: Well, I think it was more a matter of simply trying out his idea, to see if migration from the east was possible.

VICTOR: Yes, that’s probably it. And the poor guy suffered a bit at that time because the war forced him to stop his work for some years …

OLIVIA: Yes. When he got started again and planned his epic voyage, do you think it was important to him that he achieve it before anyone else did?

VICTOR: Um, I haven’t read anywhere that that was his motivation. The most important factor seems to have been that he use only ancient techniques and local materials to build bis raft.

OLIVIA: Yes. I wonder how fast it went. 

VICTOR: Well, it took them 97 days from South America to the Pacific Islands.

OLIVIA: Mm. And after that, Heyerdahl went to Easter Island, didn’t he? We should mention the purpose of that trip. I think he sailed there in a boat made out of reeds.

VICTOR: No, that was later on in Egypt, Olivia.

OLIVIA: Oh, yes, that’s right.

VICTOR: But what he wanted to do was talk to the local people about their old stone carvings and then make one himself to learn more about the process.

OLIVIA: I see. Well, what a great life. Even though many of his theories have been disproved , he certainly left a lasting impression on many disciplines, didn’t he? To my mind. he was the first person to establish what modern academics call practical archaeology. I mean that they try to recreate something from the past today. like he did with his raft trip. It’s unfortunate that his ideas about where Polynesians originated from have been completely discredited.

VICTOR: Yes. Right, well I’ll prepare a PowerPoint slide at the end that acknowledges our sources. I mainly used The Life and Work of Thor Heyerdahl by William Oliver. I thought the research methods he used were very sound. although I must say I found the overall tone somewhat old-fashioned. I think they need to do a new, revised edition.

OLIVIA:  Yeah, I agree. What about the subject matter – I found it really challenging!

VICTOR: Well, it’s a complex issue …

OLIVIA:  I thought the book had lots of good points. What did you think of …

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IELTS LISTENING – Global Design Competition S14T3


Global Design Competition

JOHN: . hello Professor, I’m John Wish cart. I’m working on my entry for the Global Design Competition. My tutor said you might be able to help me with it.

PROFESSOR:  Ah, yes, I got a copy of your drawings. Come in and tell me about it. What sort of competition is it?

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JOHN: Well, it’s an international design competition and we have to come up with a new design for a typical domestic kitchen appliance.

PROFESSOR:  I see, and are there any special conditions? Does it have to save energy for example?

JOHN: Actually that was the focus in last year’s competition. This year’s different. We have to adopt an innovative approach to existing technology, using it in a way that hasn’t been thought of before.

PROFESSOR:  I see, that sounds tricky. And what kitchen appliance have you chosen?

JOHN: Well, I decided to choose the dishwasher.

PROFESSOR:  Interesting, what made you choose that?

JOHN: Well, they’re an everyday kitchen appliance in most Australian houses but they’re all pretty boring and almost identical to each other. I think some people will be prepared to pay a little extra for something that looks different.

PROFESSOR:  That’s a nice idea. I see you’ve called your design ‘the Rockpool ‘  why is that?

JOHN: Basically because it looks like the rock pools you find on a beach. The top is made of glass so that you can look down into it.

PROFESSOR:  And there’s a stone at the bottom. Is that just for decoration?

JOHN: Actually it does have a function. Instead of pushing a button, you turn the stone.

PROFESSOR:  So it’s really just a novel way of starting the dishwasher.

JOHN: That’s right.

PROFESSOR:  It’s a really nice design, but what makes it innovative?

JOHN: Well, I decided to make a dishwasher that uses carbon dioxide.

PROFESSOR:  In place of water and detergent? How will you manage that?

JOHN: The idea is to pressurize the carbon dioxide so that it becomes a liquid. The fluid is then released into the dishwasher where it cleans the dishes all by itself.

PROFESSOR:  Sounds like a brilliant idea! Your system will totally do away with the need for strong detergents. So what happens once the dishes are clean?

JOHN: Well, to allow them to dry, the liquid carbon dioxide and the waste materials all go to an area called the holding chamber. That’s where the liquid is depressurized and so it reverts to a gas. Then the oil and grease are separated out and sent to the waste system.

PROFESSOR: It sounds like you’ve thought it all out very thoroughly. So, what happens to the carbon dioxide once the process is complete? Not wasted I hope.

JOHN: Actually, that’s where the real savings are made. The carbon dioxide is sent back to the cylinder and can be used again and again,

PROFESSOR:  What a terrific idea. Do you think it will ever be built?

JOHN: Probably not, but that’s OK.

PROFESSOR:  Now, you seem to have thought about everything so what exactly did you need me to help you with?

JOHN: Well, my design has made it to the final stage of the competition and, in a few months’ time. I have to give a presentation. and that’s the part I was hoping you could help me with.

PROFESSOR:  Right, well that should be easy enough. What have you managed to do so far?

JOHN: Well, I’ve got detailed drawings to show how it will work and I’ve also written a 500-word paper on it.

PROFESSOR:  I see. Well, if you want to stand a good chance of winning you really need a model of the machine.

JOHN: Yes, I thought I might but I’m having a few problems.

PROFESSOR:  What is the main difficulty so far? Let me guess – is it the materials?

JOHN: Yes. I want it to look professional but everything that’s top quality is also very expensive. 

PROFESSOR:  Look, projects like this are very important to us. They really help lift our profile. So why don’t you talk to the university about a grant? I can help you fill out the application forms if you like.

JOHN: That would be great.

PROFESSOR:  You’d better show me this paper you’ve written as well, For a global competition such as this you need to make sure the technical details You’ve given are accurate and thorough.

JOHN: That would be a great help.

PROFESSOR:  Is there anything else I can do?

JOHN: Well, I’m really … 

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IELTS LISTENING – Alice say about the Dolphin Conservation Trust? S18T2


Alice say about the Dolphin Conservation Trust?

INTERVIEWER: Today we’re pleased to have on the show Alice Bussell from the Dolphin Conservation Trust. Tell us about the Trust, Alice.

ALICE: Well, obviously its purpose is to protect dolphins in seas all around the world.

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It tries to raise people’s awareness of the problems these marine creatures are suffering because of pollution and other threats. It started ten years ago and it’s one of the fastest growing animal charities in the country – although it’s still fairly small compared with the big players in animal protection. We are particularly proud of the work we do in education – last year we visited a huge number of schools in different parts of the country, going round to talk to children and young people aged from five to eighteen. In fact, about thirty-five per cent of our members are children. The charity uses its money to support campaigns – for example, for changes in fishing policy and so forth. It hopes soon to be able to employ its first full-time biologist – with dolphin expertise – to monitor populations. Of course, many people give their services on a voluntary basis and we now have volunteers working in observation. office work and other things. I should also tell you about the award we won from the Charity Commission last year – for our work in education. Although it’s not meant an enormous amount of money for us, it has made our activities even more widely publicized and understood. In the long term it may not bring in extra members but we’re hoping it’ll have this effect. 

INTERVIEWER: Is it possible to see dolphins in UK waters?

ALICE: Yes. In several locations. And we have a big project in the east part of Scotland. This has long been a haven for dolphins because it has very little shipping. However, that may be about to change soon because oil companies want to increase exploration there. We’re campaigning against this because, although there’ll be little pollution from oil, exploration creates a lot of underwater noise. It means the dolphins can’t rest and socialize. This is how I became interested in dolphin conservation in the first place. I had never seen one and I hadn’t been particularly interested in them at school. Then I came across this story about a family of dolphins who had  to leave their home in the Moray Firth because of the oil companies and about a child who campaigned to save them. I couldn’t out the book down – I was hooked.

INTERVIEWER: I’m sure our listeners will want to find out what they can do to help. You mentioned the ‘Adopt a Dolphin’ scheme. Can you tell us about that?

ALICE: Of course! People can choose one of our dolphins to sponsor. They receive a picture of it and news updates. I’d like to tell you about four which are currently being adopted by our members: Moondancer, Echo, Kiwi and Samson. Unfortunately. Echo is being rather elusive this year and hasn’t yet been sighted by our observers but we remain optimistic that he’ll be out there soon. All the others have been out in force – Samson and Moondancer are often photographed together but it is Kiwi who’s our real ‘character’ as she seems to love coming up close for the cameras and we’ve captured her on film hundreds of times. They all have their own personalities – Moondancer is very elegant and curves out and into the water very smoothly, whereas Samson has a lot of energy – he’s always leaping out of the water with great vigour. You’d probably expect him to be the youngest – he’s not quite – that’s Kiwi – but Samson’s the latest of our dolphins to be chosen for the scheme. Kiwi makes a lot of noise so we can often pick her out straightaway. Echo and Moondancer are noisy too, but Moondancer’s easy to find because she has a particularly large fin on her back, which makes her easy to identify. so, yes, they’re all very different…

INTERVIEWER: Well, they sound a fascinating group … 

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