LISTENING SECTION DIRECTIONS
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: headphones.png 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
Conversation

Listen to a conversation in a university office.

M: Good afternoon. May I help you?

W: Yes, I hope so. My name is Jennifer Taylor, and I’m in the communications program. Our class is doing a radio program, and we’ll have interviews with a lot of people from all parts of campus life. We’d like to interview the new Dean of Students, if he’s willing.

M: Hmm. That sounds interesting.

W: I hope Dean Evans will agree to meet with us, and let us tape the conversation for the radio. It would be a way for the whole community to get to know him, get to know his ideas and everything … like the kind of vision he has for the university.

M: How much time would you need?

W: Oh, probably about an hour, no more than that.

M: Hmm. I’m sure the dean would like to participate, but … uh … you know, his schedule is pretty tight.

W: Oh, I was afraid of that. Um …

M: He’s all tied up this week. Everybody wants to, you know, get acquainted. But we can probably work something in. When would you like to do the interview?

W: The radio station can air the show on either the 16th or the 23rd, so we’d have to work around that.

M: Let me look at the dean’s schedule … Let’s see … it looks like he’s got a lot of meetings this week, and, well, most of next week, too, but what about the week after that? He doesn’t have anything scheduled on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Would either of those days work for you?

W: Um, yeah, I think so. How about Tuesday afternoon?

M: On Tuesday, he’s free from two o’clock till four–thirty.

M: Let’s see. I’ll be in class until two–thirty, so how about three?

M: All right. Three o’clock, Tuesday, April 15.

W: Okay, that will be great. Thank you so much. This will be a great way for everyone to learn about our new dean. We really appreciate the opportunity to do this.

M: You’re really quite welcome. It’s our pleasure. In fact, I’ve put it on the dean’s calendar, and we will see you on the 15th.

W: The 15th. Okay. Thank you very much.

Questions 6 – 11
Economics

Listen to a discussion in an economics study group. The students are studying for a test.

M: Okay … so what do we do next?

W: Why don’t we go over the chapter on analysis of costs? That’ll be on the test. M: Okay.

W: Let’s start with “opportunity cost.” That part’s still confusing to me. I understand fixed cost and variable cost, and marginal cost, the cost of producing one more unit of something. I’m sure there’ll be a question about that on the test. But I don’t get “opportunity cost.”

M: Opportunity cost—that’s when you have to consider the things you give up when you make a certain decision. You have an opportunity cost when you’re forced to choose between different alternatives.

W: Okay. That sort of makes sense.

M: Say you want to have your own business, so you, so you open a restaurant. You put in 60 hours a week, but you don’t pay yourself wages. At the end of the first year, your restaurant shows a profit of … um … say, 30 thousand dollars—looks pretty good for a small business. But is it really that good? An economist would say no, because you have to count your own labor as a cost, even if you don’t get paid. You have to consider that you had alternative opportunities for work, and you have to count that lost opportunity as a cost. You could have taken a job at, say, an accounting firm and earned 50 thousand a year. This is the opportunity cost—the earnings you gave up—because you decided to open your own business instead.

W: Okay. So what that means is…um…if I lost 50 thousand dollars by not taking an accounting job, then … my restaurant’s profit of 30 thousand isn’t that great after all—at least in an economic sense. Maybe I had more enjoyment, though—I mean the enjoyment of
being my own boss.

M: Right. But your enjoyment comes with a cost. An economist would say the real profit of your restaurant isn’t 30 thousand dollars. You’d have to subtract the 50 thousand opportunity cost of your own labor. When you subtract 50 thousand from 30 thousand, you find you have a net loss of 20 thousand dollars!

W: Wow! That means the enjoyment of having my own business cost me 20 thousand dollars!

M: Yeah. Something like that.

W: This is really different from what we learned about costs in my accounting class. I think an accountant would say my 30 thousand–dollar profit made me a viable business. But an economist—if I understand it correctly—an economist would say my business is a loser!

M: Right. And that’s because an economist tries to look at all the factors, all the costs. An economist would count the opportunity cost.

W: An economist looks at the big picture.

M: Right. An economist’s definition of costs is broader than an accountant’s. Opportunity cost is actually a very broad concept. It takes into account the cost of the choices we make. When we choose one thing, we have to give up something else.

W: That’s right. We chose to go to college, so that means we had to give up full–time employment, for the time being.

M: Right! So, how do you measure the true cost of a college education?

W: Well, it’s more than what we pay for tuition and books! We have to subtract the income we lose by not working full time.

M: Yeah, and that’s why college is really more expensive than it seems.


Questions 12 – 17
Botany

Listen to a talk in a botany class.

When European explorers first approached the coast of North America, even before their ships landed, the first thing they noticed was the pungent aroma carried to the ships by the offshore breezes. Some sea captains thought this aroma was the scent of the valuable Oriental spices that had prompted their voyages of exploration. But in fact, the agreeable smells didn’t come from spices; they came from the lush vegetation of the North American forests.

The fragrance came from the blossoms of numerous trees and from the volatile oils in pine sap. Pine sap is a resinous fluid that pine trees put out to heal wounds caused by wind, fire, and lightning, and also to protect the pine tree’s seeds. Pine sap was a valuable commodity to the sailors who explored the coast. The smell of pine meant there was an abundant supply of what were known as naval stores—pitch and pine tar. Pitch and pine tar were thick, sticky, semi–solid substances that were made by distilling pinewood. Sailors used naval stores for caulking and waterproofing their wooden ships, which kept them seaworthy.

The Europeans found fragrant trees all along the Atlantic coast, from Massachusetts in the north to Florida in the south. Everywhere along the coast, the air was filled with the strong perfume of the flowering dogwood. The Native Americans already knew about the medicinal properties of the dogwood, and they used its bark and roots to treat malaria and other fevers. They brewed the aromatic bark into a bitter, astringent tea. European settlers also used the dogwood to relieve attacks of malaria. They soaked the dogwood bark in whiskey and drank the strong infusion. This was before they knew about quinine from South America, and before quinine became available.

In the south, probably the best–known aromatic tree was the sassafras. The sassafras is a fast–growing tree, a member of the laurel family. Like the other fragrant laurels—cinnamon, bay, and camphor—sassafras is noted for its aromatic bark, leaves, roots, flowers, and fruit. I have a sassafras twig with me here, which I’ll pass around so you can all enjoy its smell. Just give it a small scrape with your thumbnail to release the scent. I think you’ll find it strong but pleasant.

The Choctaw Indians used powdered sassafras leaves as a spice. Other Native American tribes used sassafras tonic as a cure for everything from fever to stomachache. News of this wonder tree reached Europe in the sixteenth century by way of the French and the Spanish, and sassafras was one of the first exports from North America to Europe. It sold for a high price on the London market, which sort of inspired other English explorers to … um … seek their fortunes in the North American colonies.

For centuries, sassafras enjoyed a fantastic reputation as a cure for almost every disease. Maybe you’ve heard of the medicinal spring tonic of the old days. Well, sassafras was a main ingredient in spring tonic—the stuff pioneer parents gave their kids. My grandmother had to take spring tonic that her grandmother made from sassafras.

Sassafras leaves, bark, and roots used to provide the flavoring for root beer and chewing gum. Sassafras was also used in soaps and perfumes. However, in the 1960s, the United States Food and Drug Administration found sassafras oil to be a potential carcinogen for humans because it caused cancer in rats. Since that time, sassafras has been banned for human consumption. No one really knows just how harmful it is to human beings, but some studies show that one cup of strong sassafras tea contains more than four times the amount of the volatile oil safrole that is hazardous to humans if consumed on a regular basis.

Listening 2

Questions 1-5
Conversation

Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.

M: Professor Gibson, may I speak to you?

W: Sure, Jason. What can I do for you?

M: Well, I’m, uh, thinking about Spring Quarter registration—about what I’d like to do. I’d like to take your seminar—Organizational Development.

W: Good.

M: But I don’t have the prerequisite that’s listed in the college catalog, you know, Statistics 210.

W: Oh. That statistics course is necessary before you can take the seminar. The reading list for the seminar assumes you’ve got a solid understanding of numerical data.

M: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You see, I, uh, thought I could take Statistics 210 at the same time as the seminar—that is, if that’s all right with you.

W: Well, not really, no. You need the course before you begin the seminar. Unless you have a good grasp of advanced statistics, you’ll find the quantitative analyses very difficult, if not impossible. There’s a good reason for the prerequisite.

M: I already took Introduction to Statistics, and that covered the basics. Isn’t that enough?

W: I’m afraid not. Sorry, you really need the advanced methods you’ll get in Statistics 210.

M: I see. Well, then I guess I could wait till next fall to take your seminar.

W: I’m not going to be teaching next year. I’ll be on sabbatical, so there will probably be a visiting professor teaching Organizational Development.

M: Oh, I didn’t know you’d be on sabbatical. I was looking forward to being in your seminar. I’ve learned so much from you in every one of your classes.

W: That’s very kind of you to say so.

M: I mean it. I really looked forward to being in your seminar. Next year’s my last year here before I graduate, so … I guess … uh, is there any way I can still do this? I mean, what if I hired a tutor to help me cram the statistics. Spring break is coming up. I don’t have anything else to do. I’m not going anywhere or anything. I could get hold of the textbook and start studying the material.

W: Well, Jason, I don’t know of any student who’d rather study over spring break than go to the beach and play!

M: Do you know a tutor who could help me?

W: Well, I don’t know. I—uh—

M: What about one of your teaching assistants?

W: You seem very determined. I suppose I could ask some of my TAs what they’re doing over spring break, but I’m not convinced it’s the best way to study advanced statistics.

M: I’ll work really hard. I promise!

W: All right. I’ll tell you what. If you really want to do it this way, if you’re determined to register for my seminar, then you’ll also need to take Statistics 210 in the spring. I usually insist that students have the statistics course before the seminar rather than at the same time, but you seem serious about this. I’ll consider making an exception in your case, that is, if you get a tutor and start early, and if you take Statistics 210 in the spring, and if you also join my TA’s study group.

M: I didn’t know your TA had a study group.

W: It’s for students in the seminar. They meet for three hours each week during Spring Quarter. I strongly recommend—in fact, I require you to join the group because you’ll need the extra help. Will you do that?

M: Sure, I can do it.

W: Good. Good. You’ve got a busy quarter ahead of you. M: For sure! Hey, thanks so much, Professor Gibson.

W: You’re welcome.

Questions 6-11
Philosophy: Plato

Listen to part of a discussion in a philosophy class. The class is studying Plato.

M1: Plato believed the only true reality consists of ideas. Thus, we often refer to his philosophy as “idealism.” He didn’t think people could create ideas; rather, we discovered them. For instance, the mathematical concept of two plus two equals four—this is an idea that’s always existed. It’s always been true that two plus two equals four—even before people discovered it. Plato’s ideas were—and still are—valuable because they’ve stimulated a great deal of thinking about the meaning and purpose of humanity, society, and education. The ideas of Plato survive in our thinking today, and survive in our educational system. Another important principle—yes?

W: Excuse me, Dr. MacDonald, but could you … like … uh … say more about how Plato’s ideas are in education today?

M1: Sure. Plato believed the state should take an active role in education—most governments today agree— and the state should create a curriculum that leads students from thinking about concrete information toward thinking about abstract ideas. Higher–level thinking would develop the individual student’s character, and thus ultimately benefit the larger society. Plato believed our most important goal was the search for truth. The idealists of today generally agree that a major focus of education should be on the search for knowledge, but some feel it’s not truth per se that’s important as much as the search for truth. Idealists favor learning that’s holistic over learning that’s specialized. For instance, idealists consider subjects like chemistry and physics useful, but they’re of real value only when they help us to see the whole picture of our universe. Idealists aren’t concerned with turning out graduates with specific technical skills as much as giving students a broad understanding of the world they live in.

W: But isn’t that kind of impractical? I mean, most of us go to college because we want knowledge about certain subjects, not the whole universe.

M1: Idealists believe that education should teach students to think—not what to think, but how to think. Thinking is the skill that develops character. If you develop the ability to think, you—and all of humanity—will become more noble and rational.

M2: The philosophy of idealism seems kind of conservative.

M1: Idealism is often criticized as being a conservative philosophy because so much of its emphasis is on character development and preserving traditions. Idealists care about ultimate truths, so their notion of education is largely a matter of passing on knowledge.

M2: But what’s the ultimate truth? Who gets to decide what’s true?

M1: Who gets to decide what’s true? Excellent question … and it’s questions like this that have led to a weakening of idealism today. Developments in science and technology have changed what we’ve thought of as true. Our contemporary emphasis on relevance, usefulness, and innovation—as opposed to lasting values—all of these trends have cut idealism down to size.

W: I think all the concern with character development is kind of old–fashioned. Doesn’t that make people … uh … doesn’t it just lead to conformity?

M1: Good point. Critics of idealism would agree with you that “character development” comes at the expense of creativity, and that too much emphasis on traditional values can be harmful—if it makes students stop questioning what they’re being taught.

Questions 12-17
Physics: Energy and Work

Listen to a lecture in a physics class. The professor is discussing energy and work.

In physics, energy is defined as the ability to do work. And in physics, work doesn’t refer to what you do at your job. In physics, work means moving an object when there is some resistance to its movement. Every time we lift an object, push it, pull it, or carry it, we are doing work.

Two things are necessary for work to occur. First, force—or energy—must be applied to the object. If no energy is used, no work has been done. Second, the object must be moved a distance. If the object is pushed or pulled but it doesn’t move, no work has been done.
When we move an object, there’s always some resistance, or opposition to movement. Resistance is a force that tends to oppose or slow down movement. Whenever an object meets resistance, more energy is needed to do the work. A good example is what happens when a farmer’s plow moves through the soil. The plow encounters resistance if it gets too deep into the soil, or if rocks and roots in the soil make the soil hard to turn. When this happens, the tractor’s engine has to work harder. The engine strains under the load and uses more fuel.

Each time we do work, we use energy. If our muscles do the work, energy in the form of food is required. If a machine does the work, energy in the form of oil, gas, coal, electricity, or some other source is required. Without energy, no work can be done. Energy comes in several different forms. It can take the form of heat, light, motion, electricity, chemical energy, nuclear energy, and so on. Energy can change forms, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Energy is always conserved—that is a law of nature. This law is known as the law of conservation of energy, or the first law of thermodynamics. The law states that energy can be converted from any form to any other form, but no matter what form it takes, it’s still energy, and none of the energy disappears when it changes form.

Machines do work by converting one form of energy to another. For example, a car converts the chemical energy in gasoline to kinetic energy—to motion. A stove converts electrical energy or chemical energy into heat energy that cooks our food. The law of conservation of energy tells us that a machine needs to have a source of energy. And a machine can’t supply more power than it gets from its energy source. When the fuel runs out, the machine stops. The same rule applies to living organisms: if the organism doesn’t have food, it dies.

The law of conservation of energy tells us that the energy of any system—whether the system is a machine, a living organism, or an ecosystem—that the energy must balance out in the end. The amount of energy in the system is conserved, even though the energy changes forms.

The earth as a whole is a complex system that receives almost all its energy from the sun in the form of light. Some of the solar energy converts to heat, which warms the earth. Some of it evaporates water, forms clouds, and produces rain. Some energy is captured by plants, and is turned into chemical energy during photosynthesis. The first law of thermodynamics— conservation of energy—says the earth must end up with the same amount of energy it started out with. The energy changes forms, but no energy is lost or gained.



Sign Up for My Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.