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 – 5Conversation

Listen to a conversation between a student and her academic adviser.

M: Hello, Anna. How are you?

W: I’m busy. The quarter’s going by really quickly. M: Have you thought about what you’re doing next quarter?

W: Literature, sociology, math, and I’m hoping to do something in the arts, maybe some sort of work experience or internship.

M: Really! What did you have in mind?

W: Well, there’s this theater group I just found out about in Chester. I went to a couple of their plays. They’re an interesting company. They perform a lot of new works, and they also do older plays that aren’t very well known, and, well, I’m really impressed and would love to work with them in some way.

M: I didn’t know you were into theater. Do you act? W: Not really … I took drama in high school, but I was awful on the stage. No, it’s not acting that interests me as much as all the other stuff.

M: Like what? Directing? Lighting?

W: All of it, actually. This theater I told you about—they have the best sets! I’d like to build sets. Or make costumes, find props—I don’t know, even work in the office. It’s the whole atmosphere of the theater that I find exciting.

M: Then it sounds like an internship might be a good move for you.

W: But, as far as that goes, my problem is I don’t know anything about setting it up.

M: Do you know anyone who works there?

W: No, I only found out about it ‘cause I went to a couple of plays.

M: What other experience do you have in the arts? You mentioned sets and costumes. Have you ever worked on anything like that before?

W: I took a drawing class last year, and I once had a summer job as a house painter.

M: Hmm. I see. Yes, both of those things could help you. Why don’t you put together a portfolio of your drawings? Choose things that might be relevant—like … uh …

W: A lot of my drawings were of buildings.

M: Hmm. Sure, drawings of buildings might be relevant.

W: Okay.

M: You should also write a letter to the manager of the theater. Tell him or her about your interest in that particular theater and why you’d like to be an intern there. Describe any relevant experience you have— your job as a house painter—and anything else you can think of. Then, about a week after you send it, follow up with a phone call.

W: This all sounds like good advice. I’m glad I came to see you today. You make it sound so easy.

M: Come back and tell me how it goes.

W: Okay. Thanks.

Questions 6 – 11

Biology: Carbon

Listen to a lecture in a biology class. The professor is discussing carbon.

Carbon is the basic chemical component of all organic compounds. The movement of carbon through an ecosystem parallels the movement of energy, as carbon is cycled through a number of life processes. For example, carbohydrates are produced during plant photosynthesis, and carbon dioxide is released along with energy during plant and animal respiration. In the carbon cycle, the processes of photosynthesis and respiration balance each other and provide a link between the atmosphere and the earth environments.

Plants acquire carbon from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. Through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon through their leaves and incorporate it into the organic matter of their own biomass. Some of the organic material from plants becomes the carbon source for plant–eating animals. So, when a deer eats the new leaves of a tree, it consumes some of the carbon from the tree.

Respiration by all organisms—plants and animals—returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The cycling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is essentially global. What this means is, some of the carbon and oxygen atoms that a plant acquires from the air as carbon dioxide may have been released into the atmosphere by the respiration of a plant or animal in some distant location.

Carbon recycles through plants at a relatively fast rate because plants have a high demand for the gas. However, some carbon is diverted from the cycle for longer periods. This happens, for example, when carbon is collected in wood. When trees die, the decomposition of wood in the fallen logs eventually recycles this carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Forest fires can oxidize wood into carbon dioxide much faster. Some processes, however, can divert carbon from short–term cycling for millions of years. For example, in some environments, plant matter accumulates much faster than it decomposes. Under certain conditions, these deposits of plant matter eventually form coal and petroleum that become locked away, buried in the earth, for millions of years.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere varies slightly with the seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, concentrations are lowest during the summer and highest during the winter. This is because in summer plants reach their highest level of photosynthetic activity, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In contrast, during winter, the vegetation releases more carbon dioxide by respiration than it uses for photosynthesis, causing a global increase in the gas.

Another factor affecting atmospheric carbon levels is our burning of fuels. As I just stated, some carbon is stored underground in the form of coal and petroleum—fossil fuels. We’re now digging up this carbon, which has been buried for a long time. We’re burning it as fossil fuels and turning it into carbon dioxide. The combustion of wood, coal, and petroleum adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. As a result, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide is steadily increasing.

This increase in carbon dioxide is disrupting the balance of carbon in the global cycle. The consequences of this are a cause of conflict between scientists and policy makers, and we’ll explore some of them when we meet tomorrow.

Questions 12 – 17


Listen to part of a lecture in an anthropology class.

M: Every human society has developed some interest in activities that could be considered sports. The more complex the culture, the more various the range of sporting behavior. There are certain elements in all human sports that are clues to the common underlying structure of sports. Sports tell us a great deal about the kinds of behavior that our prehistoric ancestors evolved—activities that were basic survival skills. Now, let me ask you—what skills were most important to the survival of our ancestors? Yes, Lynne?

W: The ability to find food?

M: Yeah …. But what skills were necessary to find food?

W: Um … good eyesight?

M: Okay. What else?

W: Well, if they were hunters, they also had to be fast runners … and they had to have good eyes and a good arm—I mean a good aim—so they could kill game.

M: Yes! And isn’t it interesting that you just used the word “game”? Our prehistoric ancestors were gamers—they hunted game animals to survive. Look at the number of sports that originated in hunting. First, hunting itself. But for some societies, the ancient pattern of killing prey is kept alive in the form of blood sports—these are sports that involve the killing of an animal. Even in places where the killing is no longer a matter of survival, it still survives as a sport. The animals—like ducks or pheasant, certain fish—are often eaten as luxury foods. It’s the personal sense of mastery, the sort of delight in the skills of the hunter … these are more important than the food itself. For our prehistoric ancestors, the climax of the hunt was always a group celebration, with songs of praise for the hunters. As hunting sort of became more symbolic, spectators became more important. The ancient Romans brought the hunt to the people by confining it to an arena— the Coliseum. The Coliseum made the hunting field smaller, and this sort of intensified the activity for the entertainment of the spectators. The systematic killing of animals for sport still survives in parts of the world today—think of bullfights and cock fights. But animal sports are only part of the picture. Today, people find human competition more satisfying than competition involving just animals. Take track and field sports. These don’t involve animals, but they did originate in hunting. The earliest sports meetings—or meets, as we call them—were probably ritualized competitions of important skills. Think of how many Olympic sports there are that involve aiming, throwing, and running—which are all hunting skills. The difference is that now the hunting has become totally symbolic. In some sports, there’s still a strong symbolic element of the kill. Wrestling, boxing, fencing, martial arts—all these are examples of ritualized fighting. Even tennis is kind of a fight—of course, an abstract one. There are lots of direct references to fighting in the language of sports, too. For example, what do soccer and chess players do? They “attack” or “defend.”

Today, even the most violent fighting sports have strict rules that are designed to prevent serious injury. There’s also some kind of referee to make sure that the rules are observed. In sports, the objective is victory, not the actual destruction of your opponent. Another objective is to impress and entertain the spectators—not to shock or offend them. Because sports contain such a powerful negative element, most have an ideal of acceptable behavior— something we call “sportsmanship.” There’s also a universal convention in sports where the winner honors the defeated opponent—with a handshake, with words of praise, or some token of respect.

Listening 2

Questions 1-5

Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.

M: Hi, Professor Reynolds.

W: Oh, hi, Jeff. I just read your note. You wanted to talk about something?

M: Uh, yeah, just an idea I have. I’ve been thinking—um, I was reading about what’s been going on with those houses on Fox Point.

W: You mean the slide?

M: Yeah, that’s right. The paper said a few days ago there was only one house that was affected, but this morning there was another article saying there were lots more houses involved than they previously thought, maybe as many as fifteen or twenty homes. A couple of houses have big cracks in the foundation.

W: I read the article too. It seems like nothing but bad news for the homeowners.

M: Yeah. My old boss lives out there on Fox Point. I don’t know if his house is one that’s affected. Anyway … I was… um… I was sort of thinking I could write a paper on it. I remember how in your Intro to Geology course we studied gravity movements. I thought maybe … um … the slide on Fox Point was a case of subsidence … um … when the earth sinks ‘cause there’s a weakening of support. I was thinking this might be an example of settlement.

W: Settlement happens from the more or less gradual compacting of underlying material—for example, when wet soil at the surface dries and shrinks, and creates a depression. It can also happen when frozen ground melts.

M: In class you talked about the Leaning Tower of Pisa. W: Yes. The settlement that’s caused the Tower of Pisa to lean is due to the failure of a clay layer beneath it. Engineers have been working on it for decades, but still haven’t been able to stop the process.

M: There was another kind of settlement you talked about … um … when groundwater’s removed.

W: Yes, that’s what happened in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Part of the valley floor sank 30 feet because of the removal of groundwater for irrigation. But the problem on Fox Point may not be subsidence at all. This probably has more to do with the slope, and with the amount of rain we’ve been having lately.

M: So … it’s just a regular old mudslide, not like the Leaning Tower?

W: It’s probably not like the Leaning Tower.

M: The article did say the houses were on a slope, but it’s only slight, it’s not steep at all.

W: Mudslides are most common on intermediate slopes—27 to 45 degrees—because these slopes are gentle enough for sediment to accumulate and steep enough for sliding. One suggestion I have is to take a look at the county’s Web site. There’s a page on the geology of the region. This area has a history of slides. There was one on Johnson Island about ten, twelve years ago.

M: Oh, really? I didn’t know that. Maybe there’s a connection.

W: Possibly. It’s an idea to work on.

M: Well, this gives me a place to start. Thanks, Professor Reynolds. I appreciate your input.

Questions 6-11

W1: Since your next test is on Friday, I thought we would take the rest of today’s class to review the chapter. Why don’t we start with some of your questions? Is there anything in particular you’d like to go over before the test? Yes, Cody.

M: I’m not sure I understand everything we need to know about meteors and comets, like how they’re different. They’re sort of similar, aren’t they?

W1: Not exactly. Meteors are tiny bits of mineral or rock that strike the atmosphere. Billions of them crash into the atmosphere every day, and they’re vaporized, and they drop tons of cosmic dust on the earth. Comets, on the other hand, don’t enter the atmosphere. They follow an orbit around a star, like our sun.

W2: The stuff from a meteor that falls to Earth—that’s called a meteor shower, right?

W1: Right, and meteor showers are also called shooting stars. Meteor showers are named for the constellation we see them in—take the Leonid meteor shower, which is in the constellation Leo. A meteor shower appears to radiate from a single point in the sky. That’s because all the particles are traveling in parallel paths, and at the same velocity. Meteors put on a spectacular show, but they never reach the ground intact. They’re made up of ice and dust grains that are too small to survive passing through the atmosphere. And, uh, meteor showers happen at regular intervals every year because they’re debris left over from periodic comets.

M: Excuse me, Professor Morgan, you just said meteor showers are debris left over from comets. So there’s a connection between them? Meteors come from comets?

W1: That’s right. They do. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go back and reread that section of the chapter. You might see this again on Friday. Meteors are formed when a comet breaks up or leaves debris in its wake. So, meteors and comets often—well, they sort of travel together, on the same path around the sun.

M: That makes sense. Then it looks like meteors are a lot smaller than comets.

W1: Yes, that’s usually true. Comets look different, too. Comets have a tail. Comets actually have three distinct components: the nucleus, consisting of rock and ice; the coma, consisting of gases and dust; and the tail, which is formed when gases and dust spread out from the nucleus or coma.

M: Okay. A comet has a nucleus, a coma, and a tail. Um … you were … uh … you said something about periodic comets?

W1: All comets are periodic because they complete their orbits in a certain interval of time. A comet has a short–term period if it completes its orbit in less than 200 years. Like Halley’s Comet. Halley’s Comet is periodic, and it’s predictable too. It has a period of about 76 years.

W2: My parents saw Halley’s Comet the last time it passed by Earth.

W1: I saw it too, in 1986. Hopefully, you’ll be here to see it come again. You will all be watching it with your great–grandchildren.

W2: I hope so! That would be amazing.

Questions 12-17
Music Education

Listen to a talk in a music education class.

Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the best experiences that a young child can have. Learning to play music begins with listening to others play music. A child’s first experience with playing an instrument should be by ear, without the distraction of printed music. Playing by ear is the natural beginning for children. The ability to play by ear will help them throughout their lives, and it also enriches the experience of music making. But children should eventually learn to read music. So, when is the right time? And what’s the best way for a child to learn how to read music?

A lot of children start playing an instrument at the age of eight or nine. It’s best for them to spend a couple of years playing by ear before the teacher introduces notation—printed music. Children should first be able to feel that their instrument is a part of them. Playing by ear is the best way for children to become comfortable with their instrument.

The teacher should introduce notation only when the child is ready. The right time is when the child feels a need for notation. This might be when the child has learned so many pieces it’s sort of difficult to remember them all. Then the teacher can present the printed music as a memory aid, so learning to read music has a practical purpose and isn’t just a meaningless task.

A good time to teach notation is when a group of children play together. The printed score is a way to help them sort of keep track of who plays what and when. The score will organize their cooperative effort in a way that makes sense to them.

Another good time is when the child wants to play music that’s so complex it would be difficult to learn by ear. In this case, learning to read music is a natural step toward playing the music the child wants to play. The teacher should play the score for the child the first time through, and demonstrate how the notes on the page are transformed into music. The child listens as he or she looks at the printed notes. This way, the child can begin to see how the notes represent sound and a printed score becomes a piece of music. As the child listens—and maybe plays along—he or she begins to understand the shape of the new piece.

For students who play a chord–producing instrument—the guitar, for example—a natural first step toward reading music is playing by chord symbols. Chord symbols are found in a lot of different styles of music—like pop and jazz—and at various levels of difficulty. Chord symbols are a simple form of written music—they’re kind of a halfway point between playing by ear and reading a standard musical score.

After children can play by ear, and then by chord symbols, the next step is to read standard music notation. Although that’s the natural order for children to learn, it doesn’t mean that each successive step is better than the one that came before. The three methods of playing music—playing by ear, playing chords, and playing by standard notation—are all valuable in their own way. Some children will always prefer to play by ear. Others will like chord playing and have no desire to learn another method. And still others will find their musical home in the tradition of note reading. It’s the job of the music teacher to fit the method to the needs of the students.

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