This listening test contains 10 questions.
To make it more authentic, download the test and do it with pen and paper.
You will hear three students in a study group working on a class assignment for their Economics class. Listen and choose A, B, C or D.
1) The students
A. Are meeting each other for the first time
B. Are friends
C. Are from different classes
D. Decided on groups themselves
2) Magda doesn’t like the idea of the business cycle because:
A. It’s too difficult
B. It hasn’t been covered in class
C. Too many groups will want to choose it
D. It’s not related to local events
3) They decide on employment because
A. They have done a lot of work on it in class
B. They can relate this topic to local events
C. They think it will be popular with the other students
D. They have recently lost their jobs
4) Stone’s Throw is a company which
A. Makes inexpensive clothes
B. Makes locally made clothes
C. Makes designer clothes
D. Sells second-hand clothes
5) The main reason people bought the clothes from Stone’s Throw was because
A. They wanted to protect the environment
B. They wanted to cut back on shipping costs
C. They wanted cheap clothing
D. They wanted to develop the local economy
6) Stone’s Throw started losing money because
A. They laid off 1/3 of their workforce
B. Customers did not like the quality of their clothes
C. Customers couldn’t afford their clothes
D. The company decided to start importing clothes
7) Henry likes the idea of a case study because
A. He knows people who work at Stone’s Throw
B. He thinks local issues are more important than abstract theories
C. He thinks using a local example will complement what has been studied so far
D. He thinks using a local example will help revive the local economic condition
8) Joe opposes doing interviews of staff at Stone’s Throw because
A. It would be too difficult to do
B. It would not be ethical to do
C. It would not be useful
D. It would not be focused on the course topics
9) The first step in preparing the presentation is
A. Reading local newspapers
B. Interviewing staff at Stone’s Throw
C. Creating a questionnaire
D. Doing background research
10) Why do they need to speak to the professor?
A. They need to inform him of their topic
B. They need his approval for their topic
C. They need his help deciding their topic
D. They need his help in researching their topic
Have a quick look at the questions first and highlight the keywords.
When you hear your highlighted keywords in the audio, listen carefully as you will hear your answers next.
As part of this course, you will have to give a group presentation on one of the topics we’ve discussed so far. I’ve already decided on the groups – there will be three people in each group. Please check the handout I’ve given you to find out who is in your group. I’m going to give you some time now to meet your group members and start discussing what topic you’d like to work on and do your presentation on. Once you decide, you can come to me and explain your ideas and I’ll give you some feedback.
Henry: Hi, are you Joe?
Joe: Yes, I am. You’re Henry?
Henry: Yes.. OK so we’re still looking for .. Magda.
Magda: Hi, I’m Magda, nice to meet you. Shall we sit here?
Joe: So, what do you think – do either of you have any ideas on what topic we should present?
Henry: Well, I had a look at the list of ideas the professor gave us last time. There are some interesting things. For example, the topic of the business cycle is interesting – we did a lot of work on that this semester.
Magda: I agree, but I think this is going to be a popular choice. I don’t really want to choose a topic that many other groups will choose as well.
Joe: Perhaps we can choose a topic that we haven’t dealt too much with in class – that way we can present the class with new information. Wouldn’t that be useful?
Henry: Let’s have a look at the list. How about international trade?
Magda: Again, I think that’s something everyone is thinking about. At least I think so…
Henry: OK, fair point. Well, what do you suggest, Magda?
Magda: I was thinking of employment actually. I mean, it’s topical – there’s so much talk about it going on in the news recently.
Joe: And it’s something that we covered only briefly in the first few lectures. I think we could narrow the focus a bit and really give a presentation which looks at it from an angle we didn’t see in previous lectures.
Henry: Sounds good to me, but what kind of angle do you have in mind?
Joe: Well, let’s think about what’s been in the news recently.
Magda: If you’re talking about local news, just a few months ago there was that one company which had to lay off over 1000 people… what was that called…
Joe: Oh yes, ‘Stone’s Throw’
Henry: What’s ‘Stone’s Throw’ – what happened to them? I’m not from this area….
Joe: They are a clothing company which makes clothes from local sources, you know, cotton and wool from local farmers. They use all natural dyes and all the clothes are made in the area.
Magda: Their clothing is more expensive because of that, of course. And, well, their clothes weren’t necessarily of a better quality than other clothes…
Henry: So the selling point was….
Magda: Well, I suppose it’s linked to the environment for one – they could advertise that they didn’t need to ship materials and stock from all over the earth … but I think it’s mostly economical and political actually.
Joe: Yes, I agree. I think we talked about this briefly a few weeks ago – the idea that if people think that they are losing their jobs because companies can get the job done for less money in other areas or other countries, they start thinking that they should only buy products made locally. I think this company Stone’s Throw marketed itself in this way – if you buy our clothes you are supporting the industry and economy of the local area. So people were willing to pay higher prices because they thought this is the best thing to do for the local economy.
Henry: So what happened to them?
Magda: Well, I think what happened is that there have been some problems with the local economy lately and people feel they have less and less spending money these days. When things get like that, people are going to buy cheaper stuff – cheaper food, cheaper clothes…..They don’t think about political or environmental things anymore.
Joe: So they started losing money and had to reduce their size to try to deal with it all. They cut about 1/3 of the jobs they had in their retail and manufacturing operations…..
Henry: Interesting.. I think this could be a great topic because it will be relevant to the lives of the people in the class. I feel that economic issues can be so .. abstract, you know, all theory and not about actual people, but this could be a nice balance to that. We could do a case study on this particular company, you know, research similar cases, find out exactly what happened in this case….
Magda: That’s a good idea. Maybe we can even get interviews with some of the people who lost their jobs. Find out if they found new jobs, where they are working now.
Henry: We could find out if the people who lost their jobs buy local products themselves….
Joe: I think we need to be careful, we’re supposed to be focused on economic issues, but I think that if we start doing all these interviews, it’s more like sociology rather than economics….
Henry: Yes, that’s true. So can we come up with a general statement?
Magda: What do you mean?
Henry: Like one or two sentences which describe what we want to find out and what we are going to present to the class.
Joe: How about: We aim to research the reasons leading up to the massive layoffs at Stone’s Throw.
Henry: Too specific, I think. How about: we aim to research the reasons behind massive layoffs at Stone’s Throw and determine if it is part of a greater pattern in our area.
Magda: So basically we’re going to have to see if other companies in the area have had similar issues.
Joe: Yes, I suppose that would help put it into context.
Henry: Sounds like we have a basic plan. Now, how do we go about doing this?
Magda: Well, obviously we should start with a review of the economic concepts behind it all – outsourcing, consumer decisions, unemployment …
Joe: Yes, that’s a good first step. Once we’ve done that, we should then go through all newspaper and magazine articles about Stone’s Throw in particular – try to get a big picture about what happened.
Magda: At the same time, we can try to find articles or information about similar companies in the area. How have they been coping, where are their products made….
Henry: Great. Well that’s three things right there. I suggest that we all take one of them, someone does the background research, someone looks up Stone’s Throw, and someone looks up similar cases, and then we meet back at some point to discuss.
Magda: I think it would be better if we all did some background research first, that way when we read about Stone’s Throw and similar cases, we all have the theory and background information in our mind.
Henry: Hm, you’re right. After we do that, then we can start thinking about specific companies in the area.
Joe: Good, we have an overall statement and a workable plan. Now, let’s go see if the professor thinks this is a good idea…