The following listening activity is based on an ABS News video. If you are preparing for IELTS or CAE this will be a great exercise to test not only your listening comprehension but your vocabulary knowledge too. The video is about the frigid conditions in the US at the end of December.
Before watching the video, read the following words and try to guess their meaning if you don’t know it yet.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – TO DROP
After that, try to fill in the gaps (you have to conjugate the verbs), even not knowing the meaning of all the words. Think if the missing word is a verb, a noun, an adverb, or an adjective, this will help you.
The following step will be watching the video. This isn’t an easy one, they all speak really fast, so probably you won’t be able to fill in the gaps while watching the first time.
You can find the answers in the PDF file.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – DROP
- We begin with that ___________________________ taking hold of half the country tonight.
- Part of Pennsylvania and New York still _____________________ out from under five feet.
- And now the Arctic invasion across most of the lower 48 states. This fountain you
see right there behind New York Public Library, mostly ___________________ to ice.
- And take a look at the _____________________ for New Year’s Eve, the coldest in more than 50 years.
- When the ball ___________________ in Time Square the wind chill could meet minus 4 and for millions feeling the cold there’s much worse snow in the forecast as well.
- Tonight the 200 million Americans _____________________ from head to toe.
- That dangerous ________________________gripping more than half the country.
- The cold could be __________________, especially for the very young and the very old.
- Extreme weather is more than an inconvenience, it remains a serious and
potentially life _________________________
- Shelters __________________________ with people trying to escape the frigid temperatures.
- And in Cotton, Minnesota, an _______________________ 41° below 0.
- It feels like your __________________ is gonna be on fire.
- Dave S. had to hire a ___________________ to unbury his car.
- Heavy snow packed on rooftops, ______________________ nearly everywhere you look.
- N. today pushing his _________________________ clearing his home.
- All day truck after truck, we’ve seen them coming here, ______________________ their loads. Some of these piles are 12 feet high.
Downloadable PDF version (without answers): Listening activity – weather vocabulary – Free English Materials For You
Downloadable PDF version (answers): Listening activity – weather vocabulary – Free English Materials For You – answers
This video is hilarious but at the same time, it reveals a view of our times that I find realistic. It is about the amount of money people spend in order to get an education. They feel it is essential because “What kind of job can you get without a proper education, without a degree?”.
It is true, in most cases, you will end up unemployed, with a loan to pay out and frustrated. But then, it is up to you. If you are a creative and brilliant person, you will find a way to make a use of the knowledge you acquired, the education you paid for. You cannot find everything on the Internet. I believe the Internet is like an ocean of information, if you do not know how to swim, if you do not know how to row, you will not go far, you will drown.
Higher education gives you a kind of awareness, it gives you the oars which are vital when you know how to use them. At university you learn critical thinking, you have the possibility to meet like-minded people. Chances are, you will also meet teachers that will not be able to arouse your curiosity, arrogant and with narrow minds, or not able to do their jobs. But if you are lucky, you will meet teachers able to guide you. When you become acquainted with these wise individuals, then it will be worth it and it will change your life.
I agree with this man regarding the amount of money we have to pay in order to get an education which I find excessive too. Education should be free, or at least accessible to those deserving it, those willing to commit to studying hard in order to expand their views, to increase their possibilities.
Then, there is nothing wrong in deciding not to carry on studying after high school, practical jobs are not useless, quite the contrary. We should have the possibility to decide what is the best option for us, depending on our skills, strengths and aims in life.
If you work hard, you like your job and you find it rewarding, you are lucky, not to be judged because you do not have a degree. Being smart has nothing to do with a certificate, with a piece of paper.
I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the video.
To declare: to say or state (something) in an official or public way.
Innate: a quality you were born with, not one you have learned.
Dependent: decided or controlled by something else — + on or upon.
To achieve: to succeed in finishing something or reaching an aim, especially after a lot of work or effort.
Tuition: the act of teaching something, especially to one person or to people in small groups.
Loan: an amount of money that is given to someone for a period of time with a promise that it will be paid back.
To afford: to be able to buy or do something because you have enough money or time.
Purveyor: a person or business that sells or provides something.
Wisdom: knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life.
Elder: used to refer to the older of two people (such as a father and son) who have the same name; a person who has authority because of age and experience.
Sage: someone, especially an old man, who is very wise.
To set apart: (phrasal verb, separable) to be a quality that makes (someone or something) better than or different from other people or things — usually + from.
Buggy: a light carriage pulled by a horse.
Hire: to employ someone; to give work or a job to (someone) in exchange for wages or a salary.
Entrepreneur: someone who starts a new business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.
To let go: to make someone leave their job.
To lack: to not have something that you need, or not have enough of it.
Prospects: chances of future success.
Interactive fill in the gaps exercise:
Downloadable PDF (with answers): HIGHER EDUCATION – fill in the gaps exercise
The international English language testing system (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.
The Academic Module consists of 3 parts:
- Academic Reading: 3 different texts (40 questions) – 1 hour;
- Academic Writing: 2 separate writing tasks – 1 hour;
- Listening: 4 separate sections (40 questions) – 30 minutes + 10 minutes to transfer your answers;
- Speaking: 3 parts – 11-14 minutes.
ACADEMIC IELTS – WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on task 1, writing at least 150 words. Writing task 2 is longer and more demanding. This is why you should spend about 40 minutes on task 2, which is worth twice as much as task 1. You are required to write a discursive essay of at least 250 words.
In task 1, you are required to describe and summarise visual information. The information may be presented in:
You will be assessed on the following criteria:
- Task achievement;
- Coherence and cohesion;
- Lexical resource;
- Grammatical range and accuracy.