HomeListening Sub-skills Practice for Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency (4)


Words used on the recording can give you important clues about the roles of the speakers. Choose the correct jobs to match the sets of words below.

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Questions in multiple-matching tasks often involve identifying someone’s emotional response to a particular situation. To do this you need to listen for words which have a similar meanings to words in the questions. For the adjectives below, choose the word which has a similar meaning.

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In the Listening paper, it is important to identify the main emotions and ideas conveyed by the different speakers. Listen to four people talking about their experiences working as sales assistants. Choose the main idea or emotion that each speaker is expressing.

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[spoiler title=’Transcripts & Explanations’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

  1. If you work in sales then you quickly learn how to talk to people in a genuine rather than in an obviously fake, insincere way. You start to realize the importance of remembering people’s names after just one introduction, and even remembering the names of their kids and what football team they support. This sort of instinctive interest in others seems to be hard for some people. But I’m the type who asks people a lot of questions anyway, so working in a very people-focused job was fun for me. I found it all came naturally, rather than being something I had to learn during training. Courses can’t change who you are. 
  2. Whatever you’re selling, you need to understand the product well enough to convince someone else that they need it. I remember many years ago when I first started out, I was attempting to sell a computer to someone. I wasn’t totally ignorant about computers but I really hadn’t done my homework properly when it came to this particular model, and I could feel myself blushing and struggling for words. The customer was looking at me in a funny way, and was obviously not getting the answers she wanted, and that was clearly starting to irritate her. There was nobody around to help, so I just had to struggle on with my explanation, which probably sounded very confusing, though it made perfect sense to me. 
  3. I’ve been in sales for what seems like years now and it does toughen you up. You have to get used to failing and not taking it too personally. You should never be too shocked when you don’t manage to make a sale, because it happens a lot. But I remember when I was 18, trying to sell a washing machine to this rather difficult customer who had come into the shop in a bad mood to complain about something quite different. But it was one of those days when I felt really fluent and persuasive, and the customer looked impressed, or at least I thought he did. But he didn’t buy the washing machine. It wasn’t a rejection of me, but that’s how I took it. I was too sensitive in those days
  4. I started working as a sales assistant when I was 16. It was a part-time job I did while I was at school to get a bit of work experience. I remember being a bit taken aback at first at just how many rules and regulations there were in the shop, but you get used to them in the end. There were also a lot of targets we had to reach each month, and so there was a slight feeling of tension and stress there in the background, which never quite went away. Despite that, my colleagues and I were always able to have a laugh about the customers and their rudeness or their unreasonable demands. I don’t think the job would have been the same without having my mates to cheer me up.




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