C2 Proficient (CPE)
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Test 1 / 15

You will hear three different extracts.

Extract One

You hear a consultant in communication talking about business meetings.

What is the consultant doing when he mentions mobile phones at meetings?
What advice does he give about talking at meetings?

Extract Two

You hear an ecologist, Todd Howell, talking about his new educational organisation ‘Green Adventure’.

Todd believes that the public's concern about climate change
When talking about introducing ecology to schoolchildren, Todd reveals

Extract Three

You hear a photographer talking about the art of photography.

What approach is she advocating?
Why does she mention globalisation?

Extract one

Conducting yourself effectively at business meetings is about ensuring your presence is felt. Be aware of sitting up rather than slouching, but maintain a relaxed appearance. Spreading papers around looks chaotic, and there’s a tendency to suppose having phones on the table in front of you makes you look important and in demand. It hints more at a propensity to get diverted from the issues at hand. A notepad and pen will be more effectual in suggesting you’re on the ball, as will placing yourself in the eyeline of movers and shakers and looking focused.

Have a glass of water to hand, as this will keep you alert and will also check your urge to blurt something out without due consideration. You want your observations to be valid and articulate, so a well-judged sip before responding can ensure against anything too off-the-cuff. Do contribute in the early stages of the meeting as the longer you hold off the harder it gets to chip in, and you could get left behind. It’s best to come up with ideas that appear to demonstrate foresight and that you think others will deem sensible and go along with.

Extract two

F: Why did you decide to start a green learning organisation to target schoolchildren?

M: We’re in a time now where everyone’s talking about climate change, but everything’s been refined to four words: carbon, energy, transport and offset. That’s all I ever hear and people believe that by focusing on these, our planet will be healthy again. So we need a concerted effort to introduce a programme that’s about investigative learning, not prescribed pathways. The challenge is how we market the message in a way that will resonate and compete. Because we’re bombarded by advertising messages 24 hours a day.

F: Are you trying to get your learning programme into the school curriculum?

M: I’m in two minds because it would be awful if it became just another class, like ‘Oh no, we’ve got ecology today!’ I love going to schools though, that’s the payback, sitting with kids. They have an amazing perspective on things. We grow more cynical as we grow older and have preconceived ideas about what’s possible and what’s not. Kids are like, ‘Why are we cutting down trees if it’s bad for the Earth? We must stop right now.’

Extract three

Many people are hampered by what they think of as a fit and proper subject for the camera. But, it can be healthy for your creativity to apply the same kind of attention and effort you might to a so-called ‘important’ subject or spectacle, to instead, the mundane stuff that most people ignore. The idea of finding the extraordinary simply by giving the ordinary your full attention began with surrealist painters in the 1920s.

This has even more resonance now, with the onset of globalisation, which may homogenise things in one way, but also means that the remaining differences between cultures are often found in the simplest things. A henna stencil, used as body decoration for special occasions, may be unremarkable in Asia, but in the West it makes an image oddly intriguing. Even so, as has always been true, it’s not enough just to find something and make a snapshot of it. For the photography of the ordinary to work, it’s more important than ever to give the image your full imaginative and skilful treatment. The best photographers often do this instinctively.

Test 2 / 15

You will hear three different extracts.

Extract One

You hear a man talking about a project being launched in a group of small Atlantic islands.

What is the main objective of the project?
What is the speaker’s opinion of the new project?

Extract Two

You hear part of an interview with an art critic, in which an exhibition featuring the latest work of photographer Tim Fitzgerald is discussed.

What is the art critic’s opinion of Fitzgerald’s latest work?
The art critic says that Fitzgerald’s pictures in the current show

Extract Three

You hear a woman on the radio talking about her favourite piece of music.

How does the speaker say she feels when listening to her favourite piece of music?
The speaker believes that critics of her favourite piece of music are wrong to

Extract One

Strolling along a deserted beach, I saw a bottle dusted with sand and found a message curled inside. An exciting moment! But messages in bottles are not new here. The earliest dates back to eighteen sixty when ships used them to keep those on land informed of their progress. None too reliable when your ship is sinking!

But the local museum is launching a project using bottled messages, not just to promote the whereabouts of the islands and attract tourism. Islanders are being invited to include maps and information about the islands themselves. Bottles have been collected from local beaches and are, though not in the traditional sense, being recycled. Primarily and more ambitiously, the project is set to identify tidal movements. Not by science or satellite systems, but by hurling these bottles back into the sea!

The hope is that people will reply to these messages through the more traditional postal system. Islanders will gain pen pals and new visitors, and the final whereabouts of the bottles will enable scientists to track their paths. And all this from bottles discarded on a beach!

Extract Two

Last year, Tim Fitzgerald exhibited photographs of his family, but in the current exhibition, which he shares with two other visual artists, he focuses solely on landscapes. What’s your impression of them?

I’m not sure he has what it takes to move beyond his family. Last year’s images of his nearest and dearest were very moving, weren’t they – there was a wonderful close-up of his sister’s face, almost like an abstract. But these landscapes… they’re not impressive or particularly articulate.

I know he invokes the influence of several famous painters. You didn’t find any of that in his landscapes?

No. I think he has produced a couple of strong images, but there’s no sign of them in the current show and I’m at a loss to know why. It’s a very random choice. And also, four small photos in a large gallery feel very sparse. You can see it was an attempt to draw you in, but for me it backfired. You need more impact to raise the curtain on the exhibition – it’s not as if it’s the last room, it’s the first, and you move on to other artists’ works…

Extract Three

One of my own thoughts about this piece is the idea that you’re letting yourself go, abandoning yourself. For me, that’s certainly what happens to me. When you’re really immersed in it, you’re no longer self-conscious, you’re absolutely the recipient of the sound. For me it’s not even as if it conjures up a specific event. At one point, I was playing it all the time – in supermarket queues, walking into work – having that sound in my ears gave me a world and a space that was very different. My family got pretty fed up. Certainly my husband winces at my corny tastes. I don’t know if corny’s the right word, but a colleague once said to me she would have expected something less banal. I find that rather sad. OK, so it’s a piece that obviously works for many other people too, but that doesn’t mean to say it should be denigrated, just because you don’t have to have great sophistication in music to appreciate it.