Facts and figures

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 …

Task 1

Task 2


Worksheet78.61 KB

Language level

Average: 4.1 (53 votes)

Submitted by Sliang on Mon, 13/03/2023 - 06:55


I think the audio and exercises have been getting more difficult lately because the content has become longer. For example, the fill-in-the-blank questions with numbers require me to listen to the audio multiple times to complete them.

Hi Sliang,

Within any level (e.g. A2), there will be some easier listenings and some more difficult ones, so don't worry too much. Some tasks may also be more difficult than other ones. It is fine to listen multiple times - actually, you may find that you notice more and more details the second, third (etc.) time you listen, which may benefit your listening skills. Good luck with it!


LearnEnglish team

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Jonathan. I appreciate your advice and will keep it in mind as I continue to work on my listening skills.

I enjoy reading the feedback and the other comments. I don´t fell alone on the path of leaning. I love this page.


We are glad to hear that. You definitely are not alone here! We hope you continue to enjoy learning English on this website :)


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by TTTTWWW on Thu, 16/02/2023 - 18:27


Yes, I love numbers. But I repeated listening 3 times to catch numbers.

Submitted by lylarv on Mon, 06/02/2023 - 22:25


to memorize, yes, to do mathematical operations not so much

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Thu, 02/02/2023 - 21:49


Yes, I am good with numbers.

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Submitted by zaakparamban on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 07:51


Excellent session for listening practice, I had impressive mark only two mistakes in second session.

Submitted by Marina7777 on Sun, 04/12/2022 - 20:33


No, I'm not good with numbers.