Listening Day 1: A practice test

Please note that in Section 1, there is no longer an example to help you get used to the speakers or to look ahead at the gaps. You need to be ready to start straight away.

Quick tip from the video (we’ll practise this later)

In the example above you can see that they test you on the numbers FifTEEN vs FIFty, which are quite difficult to distinguish, even for ‘native’ speakers.


Extra Practice 1

Banford City (.pdf)

Answers and Tapescript


1   850

2   bike / bicycle

3   parking

4   30 / thirty

5   weekend(s)

6   cinema

7   hospital

8   dentist

9   Thursday

10   café

LINDA:  Hello, Linda speaking.

MATT:   Oh hi, Linda. This is Matt Brooks. Alex White gave me your number. He said you’d be able to give me some advice about moving to Banford.

LINDA:  Yes, Alex did mention you. How can I help?

MATT:   Well, first of all – which area to live in?

LINDA:  Well, I live in Dalton (Example), which is a really nice suburb – not too expensive, and there’s a nice park.

MATT:   Sounds good. Do you know how much it would be to rent a two bedroom flat there?

LINDA:  Yeah, you should be able to get something reasonable for 850 (Q1) pounds per month. That’s what people typically pay. You certainly wouldn’t want to pay more than 900 pounds. That doesn’t include bills or anything.

MATT:   No. That sound alright. I’ll definitely have a look there. Are the transport links easy from where you live?

LINDA:  Well, I’m very lucky. I work in the city centre so I don’t have to use public transport. I go by bike. (Q2)

MATT:   Oh, I wish I could do that. Is it safe to cycle around the city?

LINDA:  Yes, it’s fine. And it keeps me fit. Anyway, driving to work in the city centre would be a nightmare because there’s hardly any parking (Q3). And the traffic during the rush hour can be bad.

MATT:   I’d be working from home but I’d have to go to London one or two days a week.

LINDA:  Oh, that’s perfect. Getting to London is no problem. There’s a fast train every 30 minutes (Q4) which only takes 45 minutes.

MATT:   That’s good.

LINDA:  Yeah, the train service isn’t bad during the week. And they run quite late at night. It’s weekends that are a problem (Q5). They’re always doing engineering work and you have to take a bus to Hadham and pick up the train there, which is really slow. But other than that, Banford’s a great place to live. I’ve never been happier.


LINDA:  There are some nice restaurants in the city centre and a brand new cinema which has only been open a couple of months (Q6). There’s a good arts centre too.

MATT:   Sounds like Banford’s got it all.

LINDA:  Yes! We’re really lucky. There are lots of really good aspects to living here. The schools are good and the hospital here is one of the best in the country (Q7). Everyone I know who’s been there’s had a positive experience. Oh, I can give you the name of my dentist too in Bridge Street (Q8), if you’re interested. I’ve been going to him for years and I’ve never had any problems.

MATT:   Oh, OK. Thanks!

LINDA:  I’ll find his number and send it to you.

MATT:   Thanks, that would be really helpful.

LINDA:  Are you planning to visit Banford soon?

MATT:   Yes. My wife and I are both coming next week. We want to make some appointments with estate agents.

LINDA:  I could meet you if you like and show you around.

MATT:   Are you sure? We’d really appreciate that.

LINDA:  Either a Tuesday or Thursday is good for me, after 5.30. (Q9)

MATT:   Thursday’s preferable – Tuesday I need to get home before 6 pm.

LINDA:  Okay great. Let me know which train your catching and I’ll meet you in the cafe outside. You can’t miss it. It’s opposite the station and next to the museum. (Q10)

MATT:   Brilliant. I’ll text you next week then. Thanks so much for all the advice.

LINDA:  No problem. I’ll see you next week.

The man’s accent is US, and the woman’s accent is Northern England. You might notice that she pronounces the /ʌ/ sound in ‘month’ and ‘hundred as /ʊ/ (like ‘book’). This is one of the biggest differences between Northern and Southern English accents.

Extra Practice 2

I chose this because it’s from the most recent Practice Test Book (Book 17 Test 1 Part 1), and the woman has a SCOTTISH accent!

Buckworth Conservation Group (.pdf)

Answers and Tapescript


1   litter

2   dogs

3   insects

4   butterflies

5   wall

6   island

7   boots

8   beginners

9   spoons

10   35 / thirty five



PETER: Hello?

JAN:     Oh hello. My name’s Jan. Are you the right person to talk to about the Buckworth Conservation Group?

PETER: Yes, I’m Peter. I’m the secretary.

JAN:     Good. I’ve just moved to this area, and I’m interested in getting involved. I was in a similar group where I used to live. Could you tell me something about your activities, please?

PETER: Of course. Well, we have a mixture of regular activities and special events. One of the regular ones is trying to keep the beach free of litter (Q1). A few of us spend a couple of hours a month on it, and it’s awful how much there is so clear. I wish people would be more responsible and take it home with them.

JAN:     I totally agree. I’d be happy to help with that. Is it OK to take dogs (Q2)?

PETER: I’m afraid not, as they’re banned from the beach itself. You can take them along the cliffs, though. And children are welcome.

JAN:     Right.

PETER: We also manage a nature reserve, and there’s a lot to do there all year round. For example, because it’s a popular place to visit, we spend a lot of time looking after the paths and making sure they’re in good condition for walking.

JAN:     I could certainly help with that.

PETER: Good. And we have a programme of creating new habitats there. We’re just finished making and installing nesting boxes for birds to use, and next we’re going to work on encouraging insects (Q3) – they’re important for the biodiversity of the reserve.

JAN:     They certainly are.

PETER: Oh, and we’re also running a project to identify the different species of butterflies (Q4) that visit the reserve. You might be interested in taking part in that.

JAN:     Sure. I was involved in something similar where I used to live, counting all the species of months. I’d enjoy that.

PETER: Another job we’re doing at the reserve is replacing the wall (Q5) on the southern side, between the parking area and our woodshed. It was badly damaged in a storm last month.

​​JAN:     OK.


PETER: Then as I said, we have a programme of events as well, both at the weekend, and during the week.

JAN:     Right. I presume you have guided walks? I’d like to get to know the local countryside, as I’m new to the area.

PETER: Yes, we do. The next walk is to Ruston Island, a week on Saturday. We’ll be meeting in the car park at Dunsmore Beach at low tide – that’s when the sands are dry enough for us to walk to the island (Q6) without getting wet.

JAN:     Sounds good.

PETER: The island’s a great place to explore. It’s quite small, and it’s got a range of habitats. It’s also an ideal location for seeing seals just off the coast, or even on the beach.

JAN:     OK. And is there anything we should bring, like a picnic, for instance?

PETER: Yes, do bring one, as it’s a full-day walk. And of course it’ll be wet walking across and back, so make sure your boots (Q7) are waterproof.

JAN:     I must buy a new pair – there’s a hole in one of my current ones! Well, I’d definitely like to come on the walk.

PETER: Great. Then later this month we’re having a one-day woodwork session in Hopton Wood.

JAN:     I’ve never tried that before. Is it OK for beginners (Q8) to take part?

PETER: Definitely. There’ll be a couple of experts leading the session, and we keep the number of participants down, so you’ll get as much help as you need.

JAN:     Excellent! I’d love to be able to make chairs.

PETER: That’s probably too ambitious for one day! You’ll be starting with wooden spoons (Q9), and of course learning how to use the tools. And anything you make is yours to take home with you.

JAN:     That sounds like fun. When is it?

PETER: It’s on the 17th, from 10 a.m. until 3. There’s a charge of £35 (Q10), including lunch, or £40 if you want to camp in the wood.

JAN:     I should think I’ll come home the same day. Well, I’d certainly like to join the group.


How the lesson will help:

Part 1 is trickier than it looks.

This lesson will prepare you for the tricks, especially with numbers in gapfills.


Why you need to do it:

Students often think Part 1 is the ‘easy section’ and skip this training.

But actually Part 1 is where I see my students lose points unnecessarily.


What you need to do:

1. Watch the video

2. Check the slides to make notes.

3. Do the extra practice.

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I'll get back to you as soon as I get your message.

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