The Listening section measures your ability to understand conversations and lectures in English. You will hear each conversation and lecture only one time. After each conversation or lecture, you will answer some questions about it. The questions typically ask about the main idea and supporting details. Some questions ask about a speaker’s purpose or attitude. Answer the questions based on what the speakers state or imply.

You may take notes while you listen. You may use your notes to help you answer the questions. Your notes will not be scored. In some questions, you will see this icon:  This means that you will hear, but not see, part of the question.

Some questions have special directions, which appear in a gray box. Most questions are worth one point. If a question is worth more than one point, the directions will indicate how many points you can receive.

At the real test, you will not have a transcript. However, to help you analyze your score, we’re including the transcript below. Do not look at the transcript before you complete the test.

You will now begin part 1 of the Listening section.

Listening 1

Questions 1 – 5


Listen to a conversation in a university housing office.

M: Hi.Um… I live in Tower One… and I was… um… I’d kind of like to live in a smaller building. I’m thinking of moving next semester.

W: Do you know about the villages? They’re on the other side of campus from the towers.

M: Uh huh. I’ve seen them—I mean, from the outside. What’s the rent like? I mean, compared to the towers.

W: The rent depends on the situation, like how many people are in the suite.

M: Suite? What’s that?

W: It’s a unit for either four, six, or eight people. They’re like apartments.

M: Oh. Aren’t there any private rooms?

W: No, not in the villages. It’s all suites. The bedrooms are for two people—that part’s kind of like in the dormitories. You have to share a bedroom with another student. The suites have two to four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and a kitchen with a stove and a microwave, and a full refrigerator. Some of them also have a big living room.

M: Oh, that sounds kind of nice. So … what’s the rent like?

W: I’ve just been checking in the computer. It looks like there’s going to be a couple of openings next semester, but there’s also a waiting list with about twenty–something people on it.

M: Oh.

W: Yeah. A lot of people want to live in the villages. I lived there for two years myself, before I moved to a house off campus.

M: Uh huh. So what is the rent?

W: Oh, sorry. Um … Okay, the buildings in Swanson Village all have four–person suites. Those are 900 dollars a semester.

W: Wow.

M: And the other villages … let me see … they’re anywhere from eight–fifty to a thousand. It depends. The six– and eight–person units are usually a little less. The ones with living rooms are a little more.

M: Wow. That’s more than I expected.

W: The cheaper ones are less than the dorms in the towers.

M: Yeah, but I was hoping it’d be a lot less. But still … I’d kind of like to get out of the towers. Um … how
do I get on the waiting list?

W: I can add your name now, if you like.

M: Okay. It’s Ian Jacobs.

W: Ian Jacobs. Okay, Ian, I’ve added you to the waiting list. What we’ll do is send you a notice by e–mail if something opens up in the villages. Your name is uh … number twenty–seven on the list.

M: Number twenty–seven … oh … wow.

W: You’d be surprised. Sometimes people change their minds, so people further down the list get a chance. You’ll get in the villages eventually, maybe next semester.

M: Okay. Thanks for your help. W: No problem. Have a nice day!

M: Uh huh. So what is the rent?

W: Oh, sorry. Um … Okay, the buildings in Swanson Village all have four–person suites. Those are 900 dollars a semester. W: Wow.

M: And the other villages … let me see … they’re anywhere from eight–fifty to a thousand. It depends. The six– and eight–person units are usually a little less. The ones with living rooms are a little more.

M: Wow. That’s more than I expected.

W: The cheaper ones are less than the dorms in the towers.

M: Yeah, but I was hoping it’d be a lot less. But still … I’d kind of like to get out of the towers. Um … how do I get on the waiting list?

W: I can add your name now, if you like.

M: Okay. It’s Ian Jacobs.

W: Ian Jacobs. Okay, Ian, I’ve added you to the waiting list. What we’ll do is send you a notice by e–mail if something opens up in the villages. Your name is uh … number twenty–seven on the list.

M: Number twenty–seven … oh … wow.

W: You’d be surprised. Sometimes people change their minds, so people further down the list get a chance. You’ll get in the villages eventually, maybe next semester.

M: Okay. Thanks for your help. W: No problem. Have a nice day!

Questions 6 – 11

World History

Listen to a lecture in a world history class.

For thousands of years, early peoples found their food in nature. They hunted and fished, and ate plants and fruits that grew wild. What led these people to invent agriculture, a completely different way of life?

We know that ancient people changed from hunters and gatherers to farmers when they began to domesticate wild plants and animals. The first farmers on each continent did not have other farmers to observe, so they could not have chosen farming consciously. However, once agriculture had started in one part of a continent, neighboring people could see the result and make the conscious decision to farm.

We have no written records about prehistoric agriculture in the Americas, and very few artifacts or physical clues. We do have evidence that early people used sharp sticks to dig furrows for planting seeds. Those sticks were probably the first agricultural tools. We think the first Americans began to grow crops around ten thousand years ago. The evidence comes from a cave in Mexico, where cultivated squash seeds have been found. These seeds are evidence of the early domestication of plants.

Hunting–gathering people selected wild plants for domestication for various reasons. Some plants had tasty fruit, some had fleshy or seedless fruit, and some had fruit with oily or tasty seeds. In a certain part of prehistoric Mexico, there was a kind of squash that grew in abundance on hillsides. The flesh of this squash was bitter, so the people didn’t eat it, but the seeds were tasty and nourishing, and the people liked to gather them. The people brought the squash seeds back to their camp. As they ate the seeds, some seeds fell to the ground all around the camp. Later, some of these seeds germinated and produced new plants. Thus, the hunter–gatherers became farmers sort of by accident. It was probably not a conscious decision to plant squash in their camp, yet that was the result.

Now the people had a wild garden of squash plants at their campsite. This was fortunate, so they started to take more of an interest in the plants. They tried to protect the plants in practical ways. They cut back and cleared out the less healthy– looking plants. They pulled up other types of plants that were weeds. They gave the plants water during long dry spells. Eventually, the people realized that seeds grew better when they were planted in earth that was turned over. So they began to scratch the earth with a digging stick and to plant seeds systematically in rows. They realized that a tilled, watered, weeded garden provided larger, better, more numerous squash plants than those that grew naturally on a dry hillside. Thus, with a series of conscious decisions, the people started cultivating a new breed of squash plants. Because of their success with squash, they started to experiment with other kinds of plants. In time, they built a fence around the garden to protect it from animals. At this point, agriculture was firmly established in their culture.

Of course, all of this didn’t happen overnight. The process probably took thousands of years. Different peoples acquired agriculture at different times in prehistory. In some areas, crops and agricultural technology spread as ancient peoples conquered and traded with one another. In other places, agricultural technology developed in isolation. Even so, it’s very likely that the change from a hunting–gathering society to an agricultural society followed a similar pattern in different regions of the world.

Questions 12 – 17

Listen to a discussion in a biology class.

W1: In our last meeting we discussed how science is a process. Science involves formation of a hypothesis and the testing of that hypothesis through observation and experimentation. We use this process to answer our questions about nature. Today we’ll focus on science and technology. Technology, especially in the form of new instruments, can extend our ability to observe and measure natural phenomena. Technology enables us to work on questions that were previously unapproachable. In turn, technology often applies the discoveries of science. Can anyone think of an example of technology that applies scientific knowledge? Yes, Rosa?

W2: The electron microscope. The people who invented the electron microscope used electromagnetic theory from physics.

W1: Yes. The electron microscope is an excellent example of applied science. What else is there?

M1: Well, there are all sorts of computer models, and there’s DNA technology, which is used in forensic science, and there’s genetic engineering used in agriculture. Computer models and genetic engineering are applied science.

W1: Yes, those are all good examples of technology that applies scientific knowledge. A lot of technology was developed as a direct result of the scientific process. On the other hand, not all technology can be described as applied science. In fact, technology came before science in human prehistory. In prehistoric times, technology was driven by inventive humans who built tools, made pottery, designed musical instruments, and so on, all without science— that is, without people necessarily understanding why their inventions worked.

M2: Technology might not be scientific, but I think technology mostly helps us. It helps us cure diseases so people can live longer. It lets us produce more food than ever before. We can go places and build in places where we never could before.

W1: But look at the environmental consequences, like acid rain and pollution.

M1: Not to mention nuclear accidents, toxic waste, global warming, and extinction of species—technology can’t save us from ourselves.

W1: You’re all raising some very important issues. Technology has improved our standard of living in many ways. It’s kept us healthier and enabled us to live longer lives. It’s enabled the human population to grow by a factor of ten in just a few centuries. But technology is a double–edged sword. You’ve just mentioned some of the environmental repercussions. Technology does have to be watched closely, monitored, and even criticized. Science and technology are partners. Science can help us identify problems and provide insight about what course of action may prevent further damage. But solutions to these problems have as much to do with politics, economics, and culture as they do with science and technology.

M1: I think scientists have a responsibility to educate politicians and the public about the consequences of certain technologies—such as genetic engineering. This is why I’m a science major now, but I’ve decided to get a master’s degree in public policy.

W1: And a decision like that is important. Scientists should try to influence how technology applies the discoveries of science. The relationship between science and technology is very important. It’s a relationship that is crucial to our study of life.

Listening 2

Questions 1-5

Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.

W: Professor Ellsbury? There’s something I need to talk to you about.

M: Why, hello, Sophie. Come in. How can I help you? W: I’m, uh, I have to go back home and stay with my parents for a few weeks or maybe longer.

M: Oh?

W: Yeah, my mother is having surgery next week, and it will be a long recovery. It might take several weeks for her to recover enough to help my father with his business. So I have to help my mom and also do the accounting for my dad’s business.

M: I see. Oh, this does make it tough for you. How do you plan to get your coursework done?

W: Uh, that’s what I need to talk to you about. My folks really need me at home for about a month. I, uh, I really want to be there to help out.

M: Of course. I understand. Your family needs you. But you’re going to miss several lectures.

W: I’ll watch the online versions of your lectures. I want to finish the course and get credit. So I need to ask you for an extension on my project.

M: Well, I know you’ve already put a lot of work into your project, but won’t you be spending all your time with your parents?

W: Yes, but I know I can finish my research while I’m there. And since you’ve already approved my project plan, couldn’t I just get an extension on the due date?

M: Hmm. Okay. Here’s what we can do. There are only three weeks left in the quarter. I suggest that you take a grade of Incomplete. That would give you two months after the end of the quarter to complete your project. That would give you until… let’s see, ah, it would be… you would have until the middle of February. Then, if everything is satisfactory, you would receive a final grade for the course. However, your grade won’t show up in your record until the end of winter quarter.

W: That would be great. I’m sure I could finish my project by February. But I might need to email you sometimes, if I have questions or need help. Would that be all right?

M: Of course. Please do. I’ll want to know how you’re doing.

W: Okay.

M: When do you leave for home?

W: Not till Sunday. I’ll be in class for the rest of the week, and I’ve got to take a test for another class on Saturday.

M: Well, Sophie, we’ll miss having you in class. But you’re a good student, and I have confidence in you. W: Thank you. I wish I didn’t have to leave, but I have no choice.

M: Sure. I understand. I hope everything goes well with your mother.

W: I hope so too. And thanks, professor.

M: No problem. See you this afternoon, right? W: Right. See you in class.

Questions 6-11
Canadian Studies: Art

Listen to a lecture in a Canadian studies class. The professor is talking about art.

The painter Arthur Lismer wrote, “Most creative people, whether in painting, writing or music, began to have a guilty feeling that Canada was as yet unwritten, unpainted, unsung.” According to Lismer, there was a job to be done, and so a generation of artists set out to create a school of painting that would record the Canadian scene and reinforce a distinctive Canadian identity. Calling themselves the Group of Seven, they proclaimed that—quote, “Art must grow and flower in the land before the country will be a real home for its people.”

The Group’s origins date back to the 1911 showing in Toronto of the painting “At the Edge of the Maple Wood” by A.Y. Jackson of Montreal. This painting’s vibrant color and texture made a deep impression on local artists. They persuaded Jackson to come to Toronto and share a studio with them. Jackson began to accompany another painter, Tom Thomson, on sketching trips to Algonquin Park, north of the city.

Several of the artists worked at the same Toronto commercial design firm, and it was here that they met and discovered their common artistic interests. After work, they socialized together at the Arts and Letters Club. They talked about finding a new direction for Canadian art, a distinctly Canadian style of painting. It was a romantic quest—mainly fueled by the restless spirit of Tom Thomson, who led the others to the Canadian wilderness to sketch and paint.

A patron gave the artists the famous Studio Building in Toronto. It was here that Thomson did some of his finest paintings from sketches made in the wild. Among them was “The Jack Pine,” one of the nation’s best–loved pictures. But then, suddenly and tragically, Thomson died in 1917— drowning in a canoe accident—shocking his fellow painters and Canadian art lovers.

The other artists continued their sketching trips to the vast wilderness of northern Ontario. It was there that they found inspiration for some of their greatest paintings. Each artist had his own vision and his own technique, but they all captured the essence of wilderness Canada—a bleak, somber, incredibly beautiful landscape of rock outcroppings, storm–driven lakes, and jack pine trees—a land totally uninhabited by people.

After a 1919 trip to the wilderness, the artists decided to organize an exhibition and to formally call themselves the Group of Seven. The seven founding artists were Jackson, Lismer, Harris, MacDonald, Varley, Johnston, and Carmichael.

Their 1920 exhibition was an important moment in Canadian art. It proclaimed that Canadian art must be inspired by Canada itself. However, the initial response was less than favorable. Several major art critics ignored the show, while others called the paintings crude and barbaric. Yet, when British critics praised the Group’s distinctly Canadian vision, the Canadian public took another look. Later exhibitions drew increasing acceptance for the Group’s work, establishing them as the “national school.” Before long, they were the most influential painters in the country, and several of their paintings have become icons of Canada.

A.Y. Jackson was influential for his analysis of light and shadow. Arthur Lismer’s work has an intensity all its own— particularly his painting of the “Canadian Jungle,” the violently colored forest in the fall. Lawren Harris went further than the rest in simplifying the forms of nature into sculptural shapes, organizing an entire scene into a single, unified image, and eventually into abstraction.

Questions 12-17
Ecology: The Hydrologic Cycle

Listen to a discussion in an ecology class. The class is studying the hydrologic cycle.

W1: Water is essential for life, and in parts of the world, it’s a precious commodity. Water continuously circulates from the ocean to the atmosphere, to the land, and back to the ocean, providing us with a renewable supply of purified water. This complex cycle—known as the hydrologic cycle—balances the amount of water in the ocean, in the atmosphere, and on the land. We get our understanding of how the cycle operates from research in climatology and hydrology. So … who can tell me what climatology is?

M: It’s the study of climate … and … uh … the causes and effects of different climates.

W1: That right. And what is hydrology? Sarah?

W2: Well, “hydro” means “water,” so it’s something to do with water … like the study of water.

W1: Yes, the prefix “hydro” does refer to water. The hydrologic cycle is the water cycle. And hydrology is the study of the water—the distribution and effect of the water—on the earth’s surface and in the soil and layers of rock. Think of climatology as the atmospheric phase, and hydrology as the land phase of the water cycle. Climatologists study the role of solar energy in the cycle. They’re mainly concerned with the atmospheric phase of the cycle—how solar energy drives the cycle through the … uh … processes of evaporation, atmospheric circulation, and precipitation. Water is continuously absorbed into the atmosphere as vapor—evaporation—and returned to the earth as rain, hail, or snow—precipitation. The amount of water evaporating from oceans exceeds precipitation over oceans, and the excess water vapor is moved by wind to the land.

The land phase of the cycle is the concern of hydrologists. Hydrologists study the vast quantities of water in the land phase of the cycle, how water moves over and through the land, and how it’s stored on or within the earth. Over land surfaces—of the precipitation that falls over land, small amounts evaporate while still in the air and … uh … reenter the atmosphere directly. The rest of it reaches the surface of the land. The water that falls to earth is stored on the surface in lakes, or it penetrates the surface, or it runs off over the surface and flows in rivers to the ocean. Some of the water is stored temporarily in the upper soil layers and used later by trees and plants. When it rains—yes?

M: I was … um … I wondered if that makes trees and plants part of the hydrologic cycle. I mean, they take in water, and the water moves through them, and then later on … um … the water evaporates from their leaves.

W 1: I’m glad you mentioned that, Justin. Plants do play an important role in the land phase of the cycle and are therefore part of the cycle. Trees and plants circulate and store water—they draw it up through their roots and return it to the atmosphere through their leaves during evapotranspiration.

When it rains, if the soil is already saturated, water will seep downward through the upper soil layers, and possibly reach the water table. When it reaches the water table, it passes into groundwater storage. Most of the groundwater later returns to the surface, either as springs or as stream flow, supplying water to plants. Eventually, all of the water falling on land makes its way back to the ocean. The movement of water from land to the ocean is called runoff. Runoff and groundwater together balance the amount of water that moves from the ocean to the land. Every molecule of water in the natural system eventually circulates through the hydrologic cycle. Tremendous quantities of water are cycled annually. And, as Justin pointed out, living organisms—plants, and animals as well— are also part of the cycle, since water is a large part of the mass of most organisms. Living organisms store and use water, since water is the solvent for most biological reactions.