C2 Proficient (CPE)
Get Premium
Test 1 / 15

You will hear five short extracts in which students talk about doing an internship, professional work experience in a company.


Task 1

For Task 1, choose from the list what reason each speaker gives for choosing the internship.

Speaker 1
the opportunity to work outdoors
Speaker 2
the opportunity to work with an expert
Speaker 3
the international make-up of the company
Speaker 4
the chance to relate theory to practice
Speaker 5
the chance to travel

Task 2

For Task 2, choose from the list what unexpected experience each speaker had during their internship.

Speaker 1
being offered a permanent job
Speaker 2
making a future career decision
Speaker 3
being given a lot of responsibility
Speaker 4
winning an award
Speaker 5
using cutting-edge technology

Speaker 1

I’ve just got back from my internship in New Zealand. I’m studying environmental policy and when I was looking for an internship, I was determined not to spend my time cooped up in some dingy office so when I saw the amount of fieldwork this one involved, I went for it. I had to go and talk to dairy farmers and analyse damage caused by flooding using some very complicated – for me – technology! One of the scientists I worked with wants me to take up a post monitoring water quality when I’ve completed my studies. I’d never thought of living in New Zealand permanently – I’ll have to see.

Speaker 2

I‘d always wanted to go to vet school, ever since I was really little, but never really thought beyond that. And funnily enough, it’s only when I went on my internship and worked in a bird sanctuary that I realised that rehabilitating native birds was where I saw my future. In fact, I must email someone I know who’s doing just that in Spain; perhaps she can put me in touch with some organisations. The internship’s lived up to my expectations in every sense. I knew that a leading zoologist was working at the sanctuary and I got to work with her on several occasions – so my dream came true!

Speaker 3

I chose to do an internship at a photographic studio next to the art school where I study in New York. The fact it’s on my doorstep is a bonus but that wasn’t the deciding factor when choosing. They get photographers, designers, technicians from everywhere and it was that global perspective on photography that I was after. It was pretty scary at first; I’d go into a meeting and by the end of it I’d find that I’d been allocated a project to manage. Nothing had prepared me for that. OK, there were people to support me, but until I asked for help, I was just expected to get on with it.

Speaker 4

My internship was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. It motivated me to study hard and as a result I’ve now got a really well-paid job in a financial institution. It was crucial for me to find something that would give me hands-on experience of what we were covering in lectures and my placement gave me just that. What I didn’t see coming was the fact that in my second month there I was nominated and chosen for the National Honour Society. I was thrilled especially because I know that the panel of judges was made up of some really famous business people.

Speaker 5

A friend had warned me that research science internships can mean working day in, day out, in the same lab somewhere. That’s why the most important criterion when selecting my internship was that it had to be in a large company where I could go to branches in different cities and broaden my experience that way. The knock-on effect of that, that I hadn’t thought about was that I’d got to work with some of the latest microscopes and scanners. So both my life-long ambitions were fulfilled during my internship. I’ve now got to make sure that the ‘real’ job I’ve applied for lives up to that experience

Test 2 / 15

You will hear five short extracts in which different people are talking about taking a gap year – the time which some young people take off from their studies to gain other experience.


Task 1

For Task 1, choose from the list what each speaker did during their gap year.

Speaker 1
worked in a hotel
Speaker 2
taught a sport
Speaker 3
went on an organised expedition
Speaker 4
travelled widely
Speaker 5
worked as a tour guide

Task 2

For Task 2, choose from the list which benefit of having a gap year each speaker mentions.

Speaker 1
dealing with disappointment
Speaker 2
a chance to consider future plans
Speaker 3
making long-lasting friendships
Speaker 4
increased independence
Speaker 5
overcoming financial problems

Speaker One

I knew I’d be short of money if I didn’t work before going to university, so I decided not to jet around the globe, and found a job in the nearest town instead. I had to live in because of early shifts, and only realised on about day two it meant I couldn’t keep up my tennis – which was a blow, because I was a very keen player. But I got over it in the end, which just goes to show nothing’s that important. Anyway, I was having too much fun with the rest of the staff to fret about it – I wonder if they’re all still there? The worst part of the job was when guests complained, which they frequently did!

Speaker Two

Well, I took a gap year because I thought I hadn’t seen enough of the world. I considered doing an overland trek across the Sahara, or helping out somewhere as a volunteer. Then I found a remote village in Kenya where they needed my skills – they’re all football-mad there – and a Nairobi businessman agreed to pay me a living wage. I settled in OK, although I never got the hang of the language, and that year gave me some serious thinking time. I realised I didn’t want to complete my course back home, even though I’d already spent quite a lot of money and time on it. It’s all good experience anyway. CPE Listening Tapescript

Speaker Three

The whole thing was a disaster from start to finish. I’d had a sort of feeling it might turn out badly. We didn’t have the right training or equipment, and because there was no office back-up, we couldn’t get news forwarded to our families. And the leader – well, I wonder how experienced he really was. He couldn’t speak the porters’ language at all. You could say our pioneering spirit was crushed by the time we got back to base camp! On the other hand, we did bond as a group, and I see a couple of them regularly and have done ever since that time. So perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

Speaker Four

I know some agencies will organise your gap year and sort out, say, working for a charity, but I’d much rather do what I did – just go off on the spur of the moment and see where you end up. It was absolutely brilliant, even though it took all the money I’d saved up for it – the fare and the hotels and eating in restaurants were to blame for that. At least I know I can cope on my own now and that’s a new thing for me. Sadly, I haven’t managed to keep up with the people I met in all those different cultures – I’m not surprised though – that’s life.

Speaker Five

I was told to stick to the script whether it was in French, German or Spanish. People don’t even ask many questions – it got quite boring after a while, because I felt there wasn’t any real communication between me and them. And if it’s raining, you get wet just hopping on and off the coach. I didn’t have high hopes before I started, although it certainly was a good way of earning some much-needed cash, and there were some nice people at head office, but in the end I did wonder if I couldn’t have found something a bit more inspiring. How often do people get a year off in their lifetime?