Transcript | TOEFL listening practice test 2018 | Test 18

Transcript | TOEFL listening practice test 2018 | Test 18


Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and an administrator in the university employment office.

A: Hi ! I hope you can help me. I just transferred from Northeastern State University near Chicago.

B: Well welcome to Central University. But Chicago is such a great city. Why did you leave?

A: Everyone asks that. It’s my hometown. And it was sure convenient to go to a school nearby. But Northeastern is still fairly small.

And it doesn’t have the program I’m interested in. I want to major in international studies. And the only program in the State is here.

A: We do have a great program. Well how did you get interested in international studies?

B: My family hosted a few foreign exchange students while I was growing up.

Then I took part in an international summer program after I graduated from high school. I thought I really I like meeting people from all over, getting to know them.

A: OH! Ok! And that led you to our program. Right now though I think you are looking for a job.

B: Yeah, a part time job on campus. I thought I’d save money, being away from the big city. But it doesn’t seem to be working that way .Anyway I’m not having much luck.

A: I’m not surprised. Most of our campus jobs are taken in the first week or two of the semester. What work experience have you had?

B: Well, I worked in the university library last year. But I already checked at the library here.

They said their remaining positions were for work-study students getting financial aid. I’ve never run into that before.

A: Well, I guess each school has its own policies. Uh, we really don’t have much right now. You might be better. If you really want something, how are your computer skills?

B: About average I’d say. I helped teach some of the basic computer classes. Northeastern offers for new users, if that helps any.

A: OK, The technology support department needs people to work its helpdesk. It’s basically a customer service job; answering questions, helping people solve their computer proplems, give you a chance to develop your people skills.

B: Something every diplomat needs. But is there some problem? I mean why is the job still open?

A: Well, they have extended hours, from 6am to 2am every day. So they need a large staff. But right now they only need people early mornings, late nights, and weekends.

You’d probably end up with a bit of everything rather than a regular spot. On the bright side you’ll probably be able to get some studying done between calls.

At least it could be a start and then you can try for better hours next semester.

B: Um, I see why the hours might be a problem. But I guess I can’t afford to be too picky if I want a job. Still maybe we can work something out.


Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and his sociology professor.

A: Well, I’m glad you redid your outline. I fed a few comments, but nothing you have to act on. It’s in good enough shape for you to start writing your paper.

B: Thanks! At first I was afraid all that prep work would be a waste of time.

A: Well, especially with a challenging topic like yours: factors leading to the emergence of sociology as an academic discipline.

There’s just so much history to consider; you could get lost without a solid outline. So did you have a question?

B: Yeah, it’s about…you mentioned needing volunteers for a research study?

A: Yep, it’s not my study. It’s my colleague’s in the marketing department. She needs people to watch various new TV programs that haven’t been broadcast yet,

then indicate on a survey whether they liked it, why, if they’d watch another episode. It’d be kind of fun plus participants get a $50 gift certificate.

B: Wow, well I like the sound of that. But…so they are trying to predict if the shows are gonna succeed or fail, right, based on students’ opinions? Why would they care what we think?

A: Hey, don’t sell yourself short. People your age are a very attractive market for advertisers who promote their products on television.

The study is sponsored by a TV network. If enough students don’t like the show, the network may actually reconsider putting it on the air.

B: OK, well, how do I sign up?

A: You just add your name and phone number to this list and check a time slot, although it looks like the only times left are next Monday morning and Thursday evening.

B: Oh, well, I have marketing and economics Monday mornings and Thursday.

A: OH, you are taking the marketing class? Who’s teaching it?

B: It’s Professor Larg in – Intro to Marketing. Hr. hasn’t mentioned the study though.

A: Oh, well, the marketing department’s pretty big. I happen to be friends with a woman who is doing the TV study. Ok, well, we don’t want you missing class. How’s Thursday?

B: Oh, I work from 5 till 9 that night.

A: Hmm, no flexibility with your schedule? Where do you work?

B:At Fox Dyner, I am a server.

A: Oh, I like Fox’s. I eat there every week. Maybe you could switch shifts with someone.

B: I’m still in training. And the only night my trainer works is Thursday. Look!

A: I know the owners there really well. Why don’t you let me give them a call and explain the situation?

B: OK! It’d be cool to be part of a real research study. And the gift certificate wouldn’t hurt either.


Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an anstronomy class.

We are going to start a study of sunspots today, and I think you’ll find it rather interesting.

Now I’m going to assume that you know that sunspots, in the most basic terms, are dark spots on the Sun’s surface. That will do for now.

The ancient Chinese were the first to record observations of sunspots as early as the year 165.

When later European astronomers wrote about sunspots, they didn’t believe that the spots were actually on the Sun.

That’s because of their belief at the time that the heavenly bodies, the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets, were perfect, without any flaws or blemishes.

So the opinion was the spots were actually something else, like shadows of planets crossing the Sun’s face.

And this was the thinking of European astronomers until the introduction of the telescope, which brings us to our old friend, Galileo.

In the early 1600s, based on his observations of sunspots. Galileo proposed a new hypothesis.

He pointed out that the shape of sunspots, well, the sunspots weren’t circular. If they were shadows of the planets, they would be circular, right?

So that was a problem for the prevailing view. And he also noticed that the shape of the sunspots changed as they seemed to move across the Sun’s surface.

Maybe a particular sunspot was sort of square, then later it would become more lopsided, then later something else.

So there is another problem with the shadow hypothesis, because the shape of a planet doesn’t change.

What Galileo proposed was that sunspots were indeed a feature of the Sun, but he didn’t know what kind of feature.

He proposed that they might be clouds in the atmosphere, the solar atmosphere,

especially because they seemed to change shape and there was no predicting the changes, at least nothing Galileo could figure out.

That random shape changing would be consistent with the spots being clouds. Over the next couple hundred years, a lot of hypotheses were tossed around.

The spots were mountains or holes in the solar atmosphere through which the dark surface of the Sun could be seen.

Then in 1843, astronomer named Heinrich Schwabe made an interesting claim,

Trobe had been watching the Sun every day that it was visible for 17 years, looking for evidence of a new planet.

And he started keeping tracks of sunspots, mapping them, so he wouldn’t confuse them, so he wouldn’t confuse them with any potential new planet.

In the end, there was no planet, but there was evidence that the number of sunspots increased and decreased in a pattern,

a pattern that began repeating after 10 years, and that was a huge breakthrough.

Another astronomer named Wolf kept track of the Sun for an even longer period, 40 years actually.

So Wolf did 40 years of research, and Trobe did 17 years of research. I think there is a lesson there.

Anyway, Wolf went through all records from various observatories in Europe and put together a history of sunspot observations going back about 100 years.

From this information, he was able to confirm the existence of a pattern, a repeating cycle but Wolf detected an 11-year cycles? Does that sound familiar to anyone? No?

Well, geomagnetic activity, the natural variations in Earth’s magnetic field, it fluctuates in 11-year cycles.

Well, we’ll cover this later in this semester, but for now, well, scientists in the late 19th century were aware of geomagnetic cycles,

so when they heard that the sunspots’ cycle was also 11 years, well, they just had to find out what was going on.

Suddenly, everyone was doing studies of the possible relationship between the Sun and the Earth.

Did the sunspots cause the geomagnetic fields or did the geomagnetic fields cause the sunspots? Or is there some other thing that caused both?

And astronomers did eventually figure out what sunspots had to do with magnetic fields. And the fact that sunspots are magnetic fields accounts for their dark appearance.

That’s because magnetic fields reduce the pressure exerted on the gases inside of them, making the spots cooler than the rest of the Sun’s surface.

An07d06 17s04in22ce02 they are cooler, they are darker.



Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an Art History class.

A: Today we’ll continue our examination of ancient Roman sculpture.

We’ve already looked at portrait sculpture which are busts created to commemorate people who had died, and we’ve looked at relief sculpture, or sculpting on walls.

And today we’ll look at yet another category of sculpture-made copies of famous Greek sculptures.

Student 1: Why did they do that?

A: Well no one knows for sure. You see, in the late 4th century B.C., the Romans began a campaign to expand the Roman Empire,

and in 300 years they had conquered most of the Mediterranean area and parts of Europe.

You know the saying, copies. Roman sculptors often “To the victor belong the spoils”? Well, the Roman army returned to Rome with many works of Greek art.

It’s probably fair to say that the Romans were impressed be Greek art and culture and they began making copies of the Greek statues.

Now the dominant view in traditional art his that Roman artists lacked creativity and skill especially compared to the Greek artists who came before them.

Essentially, the traditional view, a view that’s been prevalent for over 250 years, is that the Romans copied Greek sculptures because they couldn’t create sculpture of their own.

But finally some contemporary art historians have challenged this view.

One is Elaine Gazda .

Gazda says that there might be other reasons that Romans made copies. She wasn’t convinced that it was because of a lack of creativity.

Can anyone think of another possible reason?

Student 2: Well maybe they just admired these sculptures. You know, they liked the way they looked.

Yes. That’s one of Gazda’s points. Another is that while nowadays reproduction is easy, it was not so easy in Roman times.

Copying statues required a lot of skill, time and effort. So Gazda hypothesizes that copying didn’t indicate a lack of artistic imagination or skill on the part of Roman artists,

but rather the Romans made copies because they admired Greek sculpture.

Classical Greek statues represented an idealization of the human body and were considered quite beautiful at the time.

Gazda also believes that it’s been a mistake to dismiss the Roman copies as, well, copies for copy’s sake and not to consider the Roman function and meaning of the statues.

Student 1: What do you mean the Roman function? Weren’t they just for decoration?

A: Well, not necessarily. Under the Emperor Augustus at the height of the Roman Empire, portrait statues were sent throughout the empire.

They were supposed to communicate specific ideas about the emperor and the imperial family and to help inhabitants of the conquered areas become familiar with the Roman coins were also distributed throughout the empire.

Anybody care to guess what was on them?

Student 2: The emperor’s face?

A: That’s right! The coins were easy to distribute and they allowed people to see the emperor or at least his likes and served as an additional reminder to let them know, well, who was in charge.

And the images helped people become familiar with the emperor. Statues of him in different roles were sent all over the empire.

Now, actually some Roman sculptures were original but others were exact copies of Greek statues and some Roman sculptures were combinations of some sort.

Some combined more than one Greek statue and others combined a Greek god or an athlete with a Roman’s head.

At the time of Julius Caesar, I wasn’t uncommon to create statues that had the body of a god and the head of an emperor.

And the Romans were clever.

What they did was they made plaster casts from molds of the sculptures. Then they shipped these plaster casts to workshops all over the empire, where they were replicated in marble or bronze.

And on some statues the heads were removable. They could put an emperor’s head on different bodies, showing him doing different things.

And then later when the time came they could even use the head of the next emperor on the same body.


Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a European history class.

In order to really study the social history of the Middle Ages, you have to understand the role of spices.

Now, this might sound a little spurring, even a little strange. But what seem like little things now were back then actually rather big things.

So first let’s define what a spice is. Technically speaking, a spice is part of an aromatic plant that is not a leaf or herb.

Spices can come from tree bark like cinnamon, plant roots like ginger, flower buds like cloves.

And in the Middle Ages. Europeans were familiar with lots of different spices, most important being pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, maize and nutmeg.

These spices literarily dominated the way Europeans lived for centuries, how they traded and even how they used their imaginations. So why this medieval fascination with spices?

We can boil it down to there general ideas briefly. One was cost and rarity. Uh two was exotic taste and fragrance.

And third, mysterious origins and kinds of mythical status. Now for cost and rarity, spices aren’t native to Europe and they had to be imported.

Spices only grew in the East Indies and of course transportation costs were incredibly valuable even from the very beginning.

Here is an example. In 408 AD, the Gothic General who captured Rome demanded payment. He wanted 5000 pounds of gold among other things but he also wanted 3000 pounds of pepper.

Maybe that would give you an idea of exactly where pepper stood at the time.

By the Middle Ages, spices were regarded as so important and expensive they were used in diplomacy, as gifts by heads of state and ambassadors.

Now for the taste. The diet then was relatively bland, compared to today’s. There wasn’t much variety.

Especially the aristocracy who tended to eat a lot of meat, they were always looking for new ways to prepare it, new sources, new tastes and this is where spices came in.

Now, this is a good point to mention one of the biggest myths about spices. It’s commonly said that medieval Europeans wanted spices to cover up the taste of spoiled meat.

But this isn’t really true. Anyone who had to worry about spoiled meat couldn’t afford spices in the first place.

If you could afford spices, you could definitely afford fresh meat. We also have evidence that various medieval markets employed a kind of police to make sure that people did not sell spoiled food, and if you were caught doing it,

you were subject to various fines, humiliating public punishments.

So what actually was true was this: In order to have meat for the winter, people would preserve it in salt, not a spice.

Spices actually aren’t very effective as preservatives. And throughout winter, they would eat salted meat, but the taste of the stuff could grow really boring and depressing after a while.

So the cook started looking for new ways to improve the taste and spices were the answer, which brings us to mysterious origins and mythical status.

Now the ancient Romans had a thriving spice trade and they sent their ships to the east and back.

But when Rome collapsed in the fifth century and the Middle Ages began, direct trade stopped, and so did that kind of hands-on knowledge of travel and geography.

Spices now came by way of the trade routes with lots of intermediaries between the producer and the consumer. So these spices took on an air of mystery.

Their origins were shrouded in exotic travels. They had the allure of the unknown, of wild places.

Myths grew up of fantasy lands, magical faraway places made entirely of food and spices.

And to that, spices themselves had always been considered special or magical not just for eating and this was already true in the ancient world where legends about spices were abundant.

Spices inspired the medieval imagination. They were used as medicines to ward off diseases, and mixed into perfumes, incent.

They were used in religious rituals for thousands of years. They took on a life of their own and they inspired the medieval imagination, spurred on the age of discovery in the 145th and 16th centuries.

When famous explorers like Columbus and da Gama and Magellan left Europe in their ships, they weren’t looking for a new world;

they were looking for spices. And we know what important historical repercussions some of those voyages had.


Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a Biology class.

A:Well, it’s finally looking like spring is arriving. The last of the winter snow would be melting away in a few days.

So before we close today, I thought I’d mention a biological event that’s a part of the transition from winter to spring, something you can go outside and watch if you have some patience.

There is a small creature that lives in this area; you’ve probably seen it.

It’s the North American wood frog.

Now the wood frog’s not that easy tosspot since it stays pretty to close to the ground, under leaves and things and it blends in really well with its background as you can see.

But they are worth the effort because they do something very unusual, something you might not have even thought possible.

OK North American wood frogs live over a very broad territory or range. They’re found all over the northeastern United States and all through Canada and Alaska, even inside the Arctic Circle.

No other frog is able to live that far and north. But wherever they live, once the weather starts to turn cold and the temperature starts to drop below freezing,

as soon as the frog even touches an ice crystal or a bit of frozen ground, well, it begins to freeze. Yeah…yes to me. You look a little bit taken aback.

B: Wait, you mean it’s still alive but it freezes, solid?

A: Well, almost. Ice forms in all the spaces outside the cells but never within a cell.

B: But… then how does its heart beat?

A: It doesn’t.

B: But…then how could it…….

A: You are gonna do such a thing? Well, that first touch of ice apparently triggers a biological response inside the frog.

That first of all starts drawing water away from the center of its body,

so the middle part of the frog, its internal organs, its heart, lungs, liver,

these start getting drier and drier while the water that’s being pulled away is forming a puddle around the organs just underneath the skin.

And then that puddle of water starts to freeze. OK, up to known, the frog’s heart is still beating, right?

Slower and slower but…and in those last few hours before it freezes, it distributes glucose, a blood sugar throughout its body, its circulatory system, sort of acts like an antifreeze.

B: A solution of antifreeze like you put in your car in the winter?

A: Well, you tell me. In frogs, the extra glucose makes it harder for the winter inside the cells to freeze.

So the cells stay just slightly wet, enough so that they can survive the winter. Then after that, the heart stops beating altogether. So is that the same?

B: I don’t really know, but how long does it stay that way?

A: Well, it could be days or months, all winter in fact but umm, see the heart really doesn’t need to do any pumping now because the blood is frozen too.

B: I just, I guess I just don’t see how it isn’t, you know, clinically dead.

A: Well, that’s the amazing thing and how it revives is pretty amazing too.

After months without a heartbeat, spring time came around again, the earth starts to warm up and suddenly one day, ping, a pulse, followed by another one,

then another until maybe ten, twelve hours later, the animal is fully recovered.

B: And does the thawing process have some kind of trigger as well?

A: Well, we are not sure actually, the clearer thing is even though the sun is warning the frog up on the outside, its inside thaw out first, the heart and brain and everything.

But somehow it all just happens that way every spring.

B: But after they thaw does it affect them like their lifespan?

A: Well, hmm, we really don’t know a lot about how long a wood frog normally lives, probably just a few years but there is no evidence its longevity.

It does have some other impacts though. In studies, we found that when it comes to reproduction, freezing diminishes the mating performance of males.

After they’ve been frozen and thawed of course, they don’t seem quite as vocal. They move slower and they seem to have a harder time recognizing a potential mate.

So if the male frog could manage not to go through this freezing cycle, he’d probably have more success in mating.


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