Facts and figures

Listen to the lecturer giving some facts and figures to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


… and the next part of this talk is on the Panama Canal. It's amazing how this one small section of a small country can be so important to the world. Let's learn a little bit about the canal itself, before we look at how it connects to everything else.

The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway in the Central American country of Panama that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. It is only 82 kilometres long. If you go around South America by ship then you need to travel another 15,000 kilometres. So the canal saves a lot of travel time. It takes around 8 to 10 hours to cross the canal.

The French started building the canal in 1881, but they couldn't finish it. The project was started again in 1904 by the United States and the canal was finally finished in 1914. Many people died while they were building the canal, some say up to 25,000. For the rest of the 20th century, the United States controlled the canal, but gave control back to Panama in 2000.

Every year, around 40,000 ships come through the canal. These are mostly commercial ships. They transport goods for trade between Asia and America, or Europe. In 2016 the government of Panama made the canal bigger, so that now 99 per cent of ships can pass through it.

Let's now turn to the role of the Panama Canal in the global economy …

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Worksheet78.61 KB

Language level

A2 English level (pre-intermediate)

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 10:45

No, I'm not good with number. But I love mathematics.

Submitted by Samqaid on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 20:53

I'm frankly not good with numbers..I get confused when I listen to numbers talk..I will try my best to get what I hear. . Step by step, everything will be fine. I'm totally sure about that, you know that there's no one who prefect is! English language is a acquired language so we will acquire it easily, if we practice and exercise well.

Submitted by Ugulhan on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 13:45

It is difficult, sometimes I can forget the specific numbers with history.

Submitted by Moon Wathan on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 05:43

No, I am not good with number even I am graduated in Math. Even I can't remember my phone number.

Submitted by ishaan on Thu, 08/10/2020 - 05:15

u guys are bad i got 100% on both

Submitted by habibao.medo on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 11:00

not very good with numbers i am trying to improve my self

Submitted by zozo on Thu, 10/09/2020 - 18:40

i'm good but its need to concentrate

Submitted by facuabel on Wed, 09/09/2020 - 15:48

the task 1 is so hard!

Submitted by biso01 on Tue, 25/08/2020 - 15:02

yes i am good with number only i can concentrate with them but number only i am not good with ordering the sentences, its so hard to me

Submitted by c.lopes23 on Thu, 20/08/2020 - 10:27

Yes, I'm good with numbers, but I don't practice so much there are some years

Submitted by Rinaa on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 21:49

As an economist, I must have to be good with numbers because I have to deal with them every day. Preparing financial statements, collecting data, analyzing data, and using accounting software is my daily routine. When it comes to numbers, we should be so careful and focused, because if you slip a number or add one more, we can change all the results. But today the computer and software are helping us too much, by correcting our mistakes and giving us a chance to check them twice. But unfortunately, I'm not good at remembering the phone numbers, except for my self and my parents I hardly remember other people's phone numbers, and this is bad because in case of an emergency we should keep in mind some contact numbers of our relatives. And as many of the members here, I have a problem with numbers in English, in this audio, I couldn't define forty with fourteen without seeing the script.

Submitted by Phan Bao Dung on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 17:49

I am better at arithmetic than geometry so I'm interested in numbers to prefer. I can do mental arithmetic quickly with 3 digit numbers. Also, I can remember the phone numbers, license plates, or any numbers that I look at once. Everybody seems to be surprised by my ability.

Submitted by Jerome NR on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 14:50

Panama canal is great

Submitted by fatfat on Thu, 23/07/2020 - 13:09

I am good with numbers but while I am listening the numbers in English I don't understand because it pass fast.I need to listen the numbers many times.

Submitted by Ehsan1984 on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 16:14

actually i like numbers so i believe i am good at them.

Submitted by AzaelRZ on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 06:07

I can't hear the audios, they don't play. Is there a problem?

Hello AzaelRZ,

There is a technical problem with our audio. I'm sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for telling us. We are working on a solution and hopefully the audio will be working soon.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Tea

Submitted by Dastenova Firuza on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 18:53

Numbers are my weak pint, unfortunately.

Submitted by SHERIFHAMOUDA on Fri, 10/07/2020 - 20:59

i think that because i spent around 20 years with the numbers because i'm accountant
Profile picture for user Hennadii

Submitted by Hennadii on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 16:24

As an engineer, I have to be good with numbers. We use them a lot in your profession. When we design or build construct something, when we made a research or material calculation. Math is an important tool in the engineer's hands. Of course, we don't need to do all this stuff like our precursors used to do - manually. We have computers but you still need to be confident with numbers ..... and computers as well. So, I know it's hard to master Math and numbers but that's the way the mop flops. Don't give up folks - Math is great!

Submitted by Anneke Putri on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 02:56

when it comes to English, I think I'm bad at number. but, if in Bahasa, I think I can do it better.

Submitted by Suellen Esteves on Mon, 06/07/2020 - 18:38

I think so, I am not human calculator but I manage well.

Submitted by Asni on Tue, 23/06/2020 - 22:06

I'm good at numbers and I like them very much. I wish I was a mathematics teacher. I feel great when I'm dealing with numbers and happy when I'm teaching something to someone.

Submitted by Rafat on Sun, 21/06/2020 - 23:19

I like math so much, it makes me alert,concentrated, math and number is the backbone of the science, I canit imagine life without number. The money, banks,salary, markets,goods, are in touch to a number.

Submitted by abudo93 on Sun, 21/06/2020 - 13:42

Previously, before I start learn with you it was hard for me, but now I'm better with your efforts, thank you very much British council.

Submitted by suraj1995b on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 09:23

Difficult to distinguish 1914 and 1940.

Submitted by Yen Yen nguyen on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 15:38

I think i don't like the numbers

Submitted by Mona22 on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 07:06

when I was a student I didn't because I thought It's hard but now I think it is necessary for my mind and all most things in life

Submitted by Teresa Chi on Mon, 08/06/2020 - 12:09

I think I am not that bad, but i don't like the numbers

Submitted by LarisaAlp on Sat, 06/06/2020 - 18:47

I don't like math, but I remember some numerals easy if they are important for me or for my job. I think that we don't need to remember the phone number because they are in our phons.

Submitted by quyenquyen87 on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 09:16

Yes, I like the numbers because it helps me distinguish between houses or the numbers of streets in the city.

Submitted by Sharif Tayyebi on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 20:03

Yes, I think I know numbers very well. I don't have any problem.

Submitted by amal.araia on Sat, 30/05/2020 - 00:33

I think I am not that bad.

Submitted by Milena1 on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 20:40

Yes, I like the numbers but it also depends on what it is about. For example, I can explain mathematics excellently to elementary students, but I cannot do it with university students.

Submitted by Gelebishokarma on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 11:18

Very useful topics, it is an informative to me.

Submitted by Tania Maria on Mon, 18/05/2020 - 21:00

I like this kind of activity( listening) because it has helped me improve my ears and has developed my vocabulary and grammar sctructure.

Submitted by Diemquynh9101 on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 14:17

No, I don't good with numbers because i don't remember numbers like vehicle numbers or phone number.

Submitted by Fatemeh.Najafzadeh on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 01:41

Yes I am. But I’m confused about listing when there are a lot of different numbers and dates in the context.

Submitted by afmaldini on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:57

Yes, I am. But there is a problem when I'm trying to identify between fourteen and forty, etc. To overcome this problem I learn basic English pronunciation.

Submitted by ademyonet on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 16:17

Yes, I am good with numbers. I quickly learn vehicle plate numbers and telephone numbers. In fact, I know that by this time I had plate numbers all of my vehicles.

Submitted by rpikeri on Wed, 01/04/2020 - 22:41

I am quite well with numbers.

Submitted by Daudau0601 on Wed, 01/04/2020 - 04:12

no, its quite hard to me