Welcome to our Listening Activities page 

A list of materials, with the following rules:

1 - the recordings are short (maximum about 6 minutes)
2 - they're similar in content and topics to First/Advanced exam materials

We can't promise they're all in the style of the exam, but they should help you practise your comprehension of short recordings.

Cambridge Exams
Exam Practice Downloads

A full sample Advanced listening, by searching here. C1

Get a complete set of First listening exercises here. B2

NEW - 2015 Activities
This is a training process as much as a practice activity. The idea is to listen to gain enough sense to ask questions of the video on a second viewing (and even a third).

We've done the "first listening" for you and created questions to answer as you listen again. Why not see if you can anticipate our question ideas?

Activity 1

Questions we wrote down on a first viewing, with some extra points in brackets. (Scroll over to read them.)


ROOT CAUSES? (at least two)
RESULTS OF THE SECOND cause?  (several of them)
Other species don't have?
WHICH ANIMALS HAVE GONE? (List of species)

WHAT CAN WE DO? (at least three ideas)

Activity 2

Again, here's our attempt at some questions, this time with some keywords left visible.

Power recognised in which ways?

Language lets you?

Different from a remote control – (how)?

Similar how?

Baby discovers what? (several ideas)

The Tower of Babel – what's the story? (Ironic Result?)

Real world result?

What's worth explaining?

Answer from who and what?

But, if....

Why (not)? (What do they lack?)

What's the result?

You should NOT expect to catch every word as you listen. Do what the exam would demand - catch enough words first time (in the style of Exam Part 2), to produce questions like the ones we've created.  Answer them as you listen the second time round.

Those two steps will give you a broad to good sense of the audio (what you need for most of the other exam listening parts) for the two examples you have, 

Note too we've limited the time to 5 minutes or so (the language one stops at the 4-minute mark, the conservation one is the full 6 minutes.

You can try out this technique on any YT video, but should always limit the time to around 4-5 minutes maximum.

2014 Activities

Link 1
C1 & C2
Go here to review and investigate British Regional Accents

Link 2
C1 & C2
Go here for a page of listening activities and exercises.

2011 - 2013

Exercise 1 
Go here to learn about the Russian Smoking Ban.

B2 Questions
  1. How is the rate of smoking worldwide changing?
  2. People who smokle a lot are said to "smoke like..." what? 
  3. When will the Russian ban start? Where will smoking be illiegal?
  4. How will the extension next year add to the list?
  5. What proportion of the population smoke? And how many people is that?
  6. Why is the goverment changing the law?
  7. How will the government try to reduce cigarette consumption?
  8. Which country in the world has the highest rate of smoking?
C1 & C2 Extension
In addition to the questions above, list all the phrases and expressions connected to smoking in the programme.

Exercise 2
Go here to learn about Random Acts of Kindness.

Vocabulary Questions for all levels.
  1. How does Callum react when Jen tells him to try harder?
  2. What verb collocates with resolution?
  3. Jen uses a four word expression to mean "examine". What is it?
  4. Victoria Gill uses a verb that means increased. What is it?
  5. Jennifer uses a word that means kind or generous that starts with s. What is it?
  1. Hang on a minute!
  2. break
  3. take a closer look
  4. boost
  5. selfless
B2 Activity
Lots of things to do on the page - have a go then use the tapescript link to check how you did.

Exercise 3 
Go here to listen to Michelle from London talking about her gap year.

C1 & C2 Activity

The quality of the questions on the recording is very poor - so don't listen to them at all - can you determine what they are from Michelle's answers?
Use the tapescript to check.

B2 Activity

Much longer than, but in the style of part 2 of the exam. Complete these sentences with the correct information. You can use the tapescript to check when you finish.
  1. She lived in Paris for ____________ . 
  2. because a friend of hers had a _______________.
  3. She went to Nepal in __________________ .
  4. She went away in a her gap year because she thought it was an _____________ .
  5. She bought a _________________ for her trip to Nepal.
  6. In London she worked in a pub ___________ .
  7. When you travel with other people you form ______________ with them.
  8. One reason the world is smaller for her than her parents is because flights can cost ________. 
  9. In addition, __________ have changed.

Exercise 4
Not one of our traditional exercises, but certainly good practice. Try some Lyric Training at this site. Good for all levels, with three different skill levels to chose from.

Exercise 6

B2 Activity

This is a 20-minute video with subtitles & a very useful interactive tapescript available. Why not use it in short 5-minute portions?

Answer these questions:

1 What's the difference between introversion and shyness?
2 How have classrooms changed (in the speaker's experience)?
3 Which other environment has changed?
4 Why can introvert leaders produce better results at work?
5 What's the speaker's solution to the introvert/extrovert question?
6 Can you remember some of the famous names the speaker describes as introverted or shy?
7 What happens to people when they become members of a group?
8 What's the speaker's family connection to shyness and introversion?

- Make a note of the vocabulary on the pages and in the video that's related to the topics of relationships, personality and behaviour.

Exercise 7

B2 Activity

Follow this link to one of the Briitish Council's podcasts and listen to the first recording - Ron talks about his one-year old son. (You'll need Itunes on your computer to access the file.)
  1. Which adjective does Ron use to describe his son?
  2. What can his son do (and not do?)
  3. What does he protect?
  4. What amazes Ron about his son?
  5. Who does Ron think make the best teachers?
  6. Why do Ron and his wife take their son to the park and the zoo?
  7. Ron's teaching his son in a surprising way - what's he doing?
  8. What does Ron think his son brings to the family?
  9. When does he play with his son and how does it help him?
  10. Ron's son has affected his relationship with his parents - how?
You can get a copy of the script from Itunes to check your answers.

Exercise 8
From TED. On this page you'll find a short lecture video by Robin Ince. 
C1 & C2

Answer these questions.
1. What's the name of Robin's radio programme?
2. What's the biggest complaint his programme gets?
3. What does he think of astrology?
4. Science says we live forever - true or false?
5. Does he really think his child is the best?

You'll see the text is available on the right.

Activity 9
From BBC English. On this page you'll find a 6-minute programme about Astronomy.
All Level Activity

A Answer the question on the page, and have a go at these too:
1 Whose house has a better view of the stars and why?
2 Where can you do the best astronomy?
3 What's special about Exmoor National Park?
4 How will light pollution be limited?
5 How many more stars can you see in urban areas compared to rural areas?
6 Who can take advantage of the Dark Skies project?

B Vocabulary
Can you explain the vocabulary listed on the page without looking at the explanations?

Download the script (link on the right) to check how you did.

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