IELTS Listening Recent Actual Test 21


OLIVIA:                Hi Zach! I heard you passed your driving test! Congratulations!

ZACH:                   Thanks Olivia! I passed just last week. It feels great to be independent and driving on my own!

OLIVIA:                I really want to take driving lessons, but I haven’t been able to find a driving school that will give lessons during the weekends (Example) so that I don’t have to miss any classes at college.

ZACH:                   The driving school that I used was brilliant and really flexible with their teaching hours. It’s really close to school. The address is 67 King’s (Q1) Road – that’s 67-KING-apostrophe-S Road.

OLIVIA:                Oh that’s perfect! I don’t like the idea of driving around busy streets. Did your teacher make you drive in urban areas or did he mainly teach you on roads in the countryside?

ZACH:                   My teacher said that I had to learn on both in order to become a good and experienced driver. We would start in the city centre and then drive north (Q2) above the city.

OLIVIA:                He sounds like a good teacher. Would you mind giving me his contact details so I can ask him for lessons?

ZACH:                   Of course! My mother’s friend Daniel Smith referred me to him. His name is Allen Sutcliffe.

OLIVIA:                Could you spell the surname please?

ZACH:                   S-U-T-C-L-I-double F-E. (Q3)

OLIVIA:                Thanks for helping me out, I’ll give him a call tomorrow. I don’t know if I should learn in a manual or automatic car. How do I decide?

ZACH:                   I wasn’t sure which type of car to learn in either. In the end I chose to learn in a manual car because once you’ve learnt how to drive manually you can drive automatic as well. Most cars on the road are automatic (Q4) nowadays.

OLIVIA:                OK, I think I’ll learn with a manual car too then. Hopefully the teacher will be able to give me lessons in the evenings after school!

ZACH:                   It would be much better if you take the lessons during the day (Q5). It will be far easier for you to learn when there is enough daylight to clearly see everything going on around you. But you need to be an experienced driver to drive safely at night.

OLIVIA:                How frustrating! I was hoping I wouldn’t have to take lessons during the weekends! You’re right though, safety comes first!

ZACH:                   Speaking of safety, you should wait until summer to start learning! It’s really difficult and dangerous to drive in the wind and rain as a learner so you should definitely wait until the weather (Q6) is sunny and dry.

OLIVIA:                OK, that’s perfect, actually! It will give me some time to save up some money to pay for the lessons.

ZACH:                   Tell me about it! I had to work for months before I had enough money saved up! It was worth all the work when I finally got my driving license (Q7) though!

OLIVIA:                The whole process is so expensive! How much did it cost you in the end?

ZACH:                   Well, each half hour lesson cost $30 and then the final test cost $50 (Q8). In total it cost me about $300.

OLIVIA:                Gosh, it’s pretty expensive! How did you find the test? Was it really difficult?

ZACH:                   No, it wasn’t too bad, and the man was really calm and friendly. I knew that I would have to perform two parking manoeuvres during the test, so I practised them a lot beforehand and that really helped! The test used to last 40 minutes, but it changed a bit. For the first 20 minutes of the test he gave me directions and I had to just drive around and then the last 10 minutes was for demonstrating the manoeuvres, so the test is 30 (Q9) minutes in total.

OLIVIA:                OK, great, I’ll remember that! Do you have any more advice?

ZACH:                   It’s really good to practise driving a lot outside of driving lessons as well. Whenever my parents were running errands on the weekends I would offer to drive them. My driving teacher also told me to buy a notebook to write down everything that I’ve learnt in it like a diary(Q10)

OLIVIA:                Haha, that sounds boring, but I’ll do it if it helps.

ZACH:                   I found it really useful! Before my test I read through everything I had written down and it reminded me of a lot of things that I had forgotten about! It’s really helpful for the theory test as well because there’s so much information to remember for it.

OLIVIA:                That’s great, Zach! Thanks for your help!

ZACH:                   No problem, see you at school!

OLIVIA:                Bye!


Good morning, everybody and welcome to Mount Rushmore! To start your visit I’m just going to give you a brief account of the history of the memorial before letting you roam about on your own. I won’t keep you long. OK?

Mount Rushmore is South Dakota’s top tourist attraction and features the heads of four United States Presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Each head is 18 metres tall, which is taller than the heights of eleven people combined! The sculptor initially wanted to depict the presidents from head to waist, but due to a lack of funding the construction had to stop before this vision could be realised. In total it cost the government $ 1 million (Q11) to sculpt the heads at Mount Rushmore.

Before the construction of the presidents’ heads, the mountain was just bare rock and forest attracting only a few hikers a year. The new carving at Mount Rushmore has become an iconic symbol of presidential greatness and has appeared in works of fiction and other popular works. The sculpture has also worked perfectly as a way to develop tourism (Q12), which was its intended purpose, and now attracts over two million people a year.

The original plan was to carve the Presidents’ faces into the granite pillars known as ‘The Needles’, however the sculptor soon realised that these rocks were too eroded and delicate to support such a large sculpture. Instead he chose to locate the carving at Mount Rushmore due to its grand appearance and brightly lit rock faces that experience maximum exposure to sunlight throughout the day as a result of the south-east (Q13) orientation. Upon seeing Mount Rushmore, the sculptor declared ‘America will march along that skyline.’

The name of Mount Rushmore also has an interesting history. The location was originally known as the Six Grandfathers, however during an expedition in 1885 the mountain was renamed after Charles E. Rushmore, a prominent New York lawyer (Q14) who joked that his annual treks to the mountain had earned him the right to have it named after him. Forty years after the mountain was renamed, Charles E. Rushmore donated $5,000 towards the sculpting of the president’s heads -the largest single contribution. In 1927 the construction work started and seven (Q15) years later was complete with no fatalities.

So that’s the history for you. If you’d like any more information, please feel free to ask me questions, or you can soak up the information from our fantastic guide book.

Now I’m going to give you a plan of the site and I’d just like to point out where everything is so that you can explore everything for yourself. We’re currently standing at the entrance, which is marked with the arrow on the map. If you follow the trail up to our left, you will find the information centre (Q16). There’s a great photo booth there where you can have your photograph taken with Mount Rushmore in the background for a fee of only $10 – what a great souvenir! In front of us is the refreshment centre where you can help yourselves to coffee, locally grown tea and a delicious selection of cold drinks and biscuits (Q17). Be sure to stay hydrated as it can get really hot up here! To our right not far up the trail is the gift shop (Q18). Here we sell copies of the guide book and it’s also the perfect place to pick up some small souvenirs for yourself, your family and friends. Now further up the trail behind the gift shop is a big stone building with a workshop (Q19). This is where all of our souvenirs are made by hand, which you can purchase in the gift shop like I said before. Some are even carved from pieces of rock taken from Mount Rushmore itself! If you carry on walking up the trail past the workshop you’ll find our state of the art visitor centre where you can find maps of the walking trails here at Mount Rushmore (Q20). Now for the real treat! After you have walked past the visitor centre, you can follow the trail up to the left, which will take you to our wooden shelter. From here you will have the best view of Mount Rushmore that there is – an experience not be forgotten! Right, if anyone wants a guided tour then I’m starting at the information centre. If you’d like to follow me, this way please. 


CHARLOTTE:       Excuse me, Dr Twain. May I speak with you for a minute?

DR TWAIN:         Of course, please come in.

CHARLOTTE:       I’m Charlotte York. I’m considering taking your course in Tourism.

DR TWAIN:         Right. Well, Charlotte, how can I help you?

CHARLOTTE:       I have been considering studying Tourism, however, it is such an important decision that I would like to seek some advice about it first. Would you mind answering some of my questions?

DR TWAIN:         Absolutely, fire away!

CHARLOTTE:       Well I have been discussing courses with my parents and they are concerned that I will not be able to get a well-paid job with a degree in Tourism. The reason that I want to study the course is that I have a great interest in the subject and I think I would really enjoy it. I believe the only way that I will enjoy my life is if I enjoy my career. Happiness is far more important than money (Q21), don’t you think?

DR TWAIN:         Absolutely. I would much rather be happy and poor rather than rich and miserable. Money cannot buy you happiness.

CHARLOTTE:       I’m glad you agree.

DR TWAIN:         You needn’t worry about money, Charlotte. A large part of the Tourism course is dedicated to teaching students how to manage finances, a skill that you can apply to your everyday life as well (Q22). I would also recommend that you take a sideline course in time management, as this can be incredibly useful in efficiently planning your workload. Efficiency is the key to success!

CHARLOTTE:       I’ll remember that.

DR TWAIN:         Now I have found that some students have natural talents that really help them to succeed in the course. Communication skills, for example, can be very beneficial. Do you have any strengths?

CHARLOTTE:       Maths was always my favourite subject at school so I really enjoy solving mathematical problems, however I find statistics quite difficult. I have always been very capable and self-sufficient. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities and will take the initiative in situations without needing to depend on anyone else for their help(Q23)

DR TWAIN:         That’s a really great quality to have and will be particularly useful if you choose to study Tourism.

CHARLOTTE:       That’s great.

DR TWAIN:         I would recommend that you spend some of your time researching the course. A lot of people who are uneducated on the subject claim that Tourism is a shrinking industry and that it will become irrelevant in the future. If you study the published research however, you will see that the truth is quite the opposite. The industry has, in fact, grown significantly as people have developed an ever-increasing interest in culture and travel (Q24). Have you compared the university course with a polytechnic?

CHARLOTTE:       Yes, I have. I was interested in studying the course in modules. However, the university doesn’t offer that option. I don’t have enough funds to be able to attend an expensive university, so I was relieved to see that the course is quite affordable (Q25). I also considered attending a summer school instead of university to save money and so that I could work during the rest of the year, but I really wanted the university experience.

DR TWAIN:         I think that university would suit you well.

DR TWAIN:         Now, what about the courses? Are you interested in any of the other subjects on offer?

MELANIE:            I have looked at a few. I was interested in Travel and Business as it sounds similar to Tourism.

DR TWAIN:         That is really worth learning, however, be aware that it is difficult and will demand a lot of your time(Q26)

MELANIE:            OK, that’s good to know.

DR TWAIN:         You might find that Japanese is an interesting course and it will teach you valuable skills in speaking the language. Personally, it’s not bad and could be of some help, but not that much(Q27)

MELANIE:            OK, Japanese, got that… What about Medical Care?

DR TWAIN:         Well, if you have time, the course will teach you a lot about curing diseases and illnesses, or dealing with injuries outside, although it’s not essential.

CHARLOTTE:       So, OK, if it’s useful (Q28), I’ll take it.

DR TWAIN:         If you enjoy using technology and are worried about fulfilling the entry requirements, computing is very relaxed about the skills that applicants must possess(Q29)

CHARLOTTE:       I’m terrible with computers so I’m not sure that I would enjoy that course. How about Public Relations?

DR TWAIN:         Yes, I would recommend that course. It would be related to entering the Tourism industry as it will educate you on how to approach clients and develop associations with them(Q30)

CHARLOTTE:       That’s great! Thank you so much for your help!


Welcome class to your very first lecture in this series on Business in the Modern World conducted by myself, Dr Toby Bennett. Today we will be looking into the practice of company outsourcing, using TCP Technologies as a case study. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this practice, I will give you a summative definition: company outsourcing involves the contracting of various business activities by one company to another. This practice will sometimes occur from a western company to a party based in a third world country, the rationale being to make significant financial savings on lower international labour rates and to potentially increase quality.

Now, our case study for today is TCP Technologies – a party located in India that receives outsourced tasks from western companies. The manager of TCP Technologies is a man called Manjeet Khanna who has personally developed a series of aims and philosophies by which the company is expected to operate. He claims that the most important of these philosophies is to create a workplace where each individual member has the opportunity to contribute their opinion to the operations of the company. That is to say that he found it important to develop a democratic (Q31) environment.

As a means of ensuring quality from every individual at TCP Technologies, a grading system has been developed that encourages an ethos of hard work and recognises accomplishment. This grading of individuals is based upon a series of factors such as turnover, hours worked and efficiency. Every month Khanna publishes the grades on an internal website (Q32) where staff can access not only their own grades, but also compare it to others. A spirit of playful competitiveness has developed through this method, which has resulted in increased efficiency and turnover across the company.

Khanna also saw it as essential to develop a culturally diverse group of employees as a means of presenting a multi-faceted image that would appeal to a host of potential employees from across the globe. This cultural openness has not only increased the quantity of incoming contracted opportunities by 7%, but has also benefitted the company itself significantly. A level of transparency (Q33) now exists that had not before been apparent. According to questionnaires carried out recently, these newly introduced measures have significantly increased the rate of staff satisfaction, which has subsequently led to an increase of 32% in the company’s income(Q34)

These figures are truly admirable and serve as a testament to the measures that Khanna has introduced to the workplace at TCP Technologies. In a recent interview published by the Economist, he declared, ‘The figures speak for themselves – my system works!’ When asked if he had any advice for companies on methods they could employ to streamline workflow and increase turnover, he replied, “It’s simple, really. A company must see itself not as one entity comprised of nameless components, but instead as a living organism composed of cells, each one essential to the functioning of the whole. I suggest that the motto by which your management operates will be ‘employee first’.” (Q35)

Many benefits have been reaped from the aforementioned changes in management style, such as a significant decrease in staff turnover. This improvement alone has solved many problems that had before stunted the growth of the company. A lot of these improvements came from the realisation that the solution (Q36) does not have to be produced internally, but can come from any other company. The grading system also immeasurably enhanced the dynamics of the company. The fact that this measuring system is solely produced for staff members and inaccessible by management means that it cannot be used as a judging criterion for promotion (Q37). It has proven itself a relaxed and informal means of stimulating workflow.

When asked about specific features of his managing style, Khanna mentioned that it is important for him to respond personally to any complaints filed by staff members. Having found the existing complaints process slow and ineffective, he introduced a new online system that created a direct line of communication between Khanna and all employees of the company. The complaint form, dubbed by Khanna as a ticket (Q38), eradicates the middleman, is easily accessible to all employees online and has an interface that can be instinctively navigated. Any staff-related complaint, such as those relating to air conditioning and food quality, can be submitted directly to Khanna via this online system. Entitlement to vacation (Q39) is also a popular issue discussed through this forum. The main benefit of using this system is that staff must include their personal details on the ticket before they are able to submit it. In the past, anonymous complaints had been at the root of much confusion and caused many wasted work hours, so the new system has put a ban (Q40) on this form of complaint.

That wraps up the lecture for today. Please remember that attendance is mandatory… (fade out)