Note-taking is a very useful skill for practicing your IELTS Listening section. Now listen to the following monologue and try to write down as much information as you can (Don’t read the question during this time). Then use your note (Don’t listen to the file during this time) answer question below.
1. Britain and New Zealand are __________________ in size.
2. Britain has a population of __________________.
3. How many British people do the volunteer work? _______
4. Who can benefit from “Meal on Wheels”? _____________
5. What is a traditional British food? ___________________
Britain is an island which is about the same size as New Zealand or Uganda, Australia is sixty times its size. It is just under 1,000 kilometers from north to south and about 500 kilometers across, at its widest part. The climate is temperate and changeable. Its population is about 58 million, consisting of 48.5 million in England, 5 million in Scotland, 3 million in Wales, and 1.5 million in Northern Ireland.
The majority of British people work in service industries such as trade, catering, tourism, TV, plus a wide variety of business services. About 20% work in manufacturing and 5% in construction. Then approximately 1.5% supply energy and water to other British citizens, while another 1.5% are involved in agriculture, forestry or fishing.
Do-It-Yourself or “D-I-Y” as it is known, is a popular leisure activity in Britain. Many people spend their weekends carrying out various improvements to their homes, such as replacing the kitchen cupboards, or decorating a bedroom. Other people lovingly tend their gardens, growing shrubs, flowers, and sometimes vegetables.
Half of British households keep a pet of some kind, and a quarter of the population is involved in some sort of voluntary work, helping others in their spare time without being paid for what they do. One example of volunteer work is Meals-On-Wheels. Volunteer drivers collect prepared lunches from a center and deliver them in their own cars to elderly people who are unable to leave their homes easily to buy food for themselves. The recipients of Meals-On-Wheels pay a small charge for this service to cover the cost of the food.
Britain is an individualistic society, and people are often tolerant of other people’s eccentricities. One can find those with special talents or unusual hobbies interesting, amusing, and even endearing. Common topics of conversation are weather, sports, current events, and what is planned for the next weekend, or what was done the previous one.
British people have become more adventurous in their eating habits since they became a multi-racial society. There are Chinese, Indian, Italian, French and Spanish restaurants in many towns and certainly in every city.
Food served in pubs has also become more varied in recent years. However, the traditional fish and chips are still popular and are widely available from fish and chips shops all over the place. The British diet typically includes some sweet things such as cakes, biscuits and desserts. Many people struggle with a weight problem as a result.
Newspapers in Britain can be divided into two main types: popular and serious. Popular papers are physically smaller and are more sensational in their reporting of news. They are called tabloid papers. Serious newspapers are larger and attempt to report current events in a more analytical way. They are called broadsheet papers. Each newspaper has its own political affiliation or bias. The Times, for example, generally supports the Conservative Party, whereas, the Daily Mirror supports the Labour Party.
Compulsory education begins at the age of 5 and finishes at the age of 16, with some students continuing their schooling until the age of 18 when they enter some form of higher education. The exams taken at age 16 are called GCSE, short for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Students often take 8 or 9 subjects at the GCSE level. The exams taken by 18 year olds are the “A” level, short for Advanced levels. In general, only 3 subjects are studied at “A” level.
Divorce is becoming increasingly common in Britain nowadays and many non-married people cohabit or live together without getting married. There is a preference for smaller families, with the average household size being about 2-4 people. Approximately 70% of people own or are buying their own homes. Most people live in houses rather than flats; about 4 out of 5 choose to live in houses.
The stereotype of a British person is someone who is reserved, polite, private and perhaps rather cold and exclusive. This is certainly not true of all British people. In fact, many people in Britain are warm and humorous. They often laugh at themselves and try to see the funny side of life. British humor is frequently of a sarcastic kind. In sarcastic humor, mocking or ironic language is used to convey scorn or insult, but it should not be taken literally or seriously. The British person is simply “pulling your leg”.