Practice Listening English Exercises for B1 – Can you believe it?

Getting Ready

Have any of these strange experiences happened to you? Check your answers and compare them with a partner.

Yes

No

1 You thought of someone, and then they called you.

2 You saw a star fall in the sky.

3 Your house key wouldn’t open your door.

4 You couldn’t find your car in a small parking lot.

5 You looked in your refrigerator for a steak you bought, but it wasn’t there.

6 You saw someone who looked exactly like yourself.

Show answers

your own answers

Listening 1

Friends are telling unusual stories about people breaking the law. What did each person do? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a stole money from her office

b pulled out the power cable

     c destroyed the phones

2   a overfed her pet

b stole a pig from a farm

     c didn’t feed her pet

3   a overcharged his customers

b took other people’s customers

     c didn’t pay the telephone company

4   a robbed a grocery store

b stole a truck

     c couldn’t drive a stolen car

5   a sold rare animals

b snuck into Sweden without a passport

     c tried to smuggle animals

6   a stole a car

b tried to rob a drugstore

     c stole medicine from a drugstore

Show answers & Transcript

1 b   2 a   3 b   4 c   5 c   6 b

Transcript

1

A: Did you hear about that woman in Florida?

B: No, what happened?

A: She pulled out the power cable to her office building so she could be sent home early with pay.

B: No way!

A: Yeah, and she had done the same thing to the telephone lines in the past in order to get out of work.

B: That’s awful! What finally happened to her?

A: She lost her job and was arrested for damaging property.

2

A: Did you hear about the woman who has to spend a month in jail because her pet is too overweight?

B: What? No!

A: Yeah, her pot-bellied pig weighs 200 pounds. Most weigh between 65 and 100 pounds. It’s unhealthy for the poor animal to be that big, and it has trouble walking.

B:  So what happened?

A:  Well, the police charged her with animal neglect. She also has to pay a $500 fine.

3

A:  What are you laughing about?

B:  This story I’m reading. You know how call-forwarding works, right?

A:  Yeah, you can have calls to one phone number forwarded to another number.

B:  Right. Well, this plumber in Pennsylvania had the calls to five other plumbers forwarded to his own business.

A:  So he stole the other plumbers’ customers?

B:  Yeah, but just the customers with big expensive jobs. He’s in jail now, and lost his plumber’s license.

4

A:  I just read something amazing in the news.

B:  What was it?

A:  These two robbers robbed a convenience store.

B:  What happened next?

A:  Well, after the robbery, they decided to steal a car.

B:  Yeah? Did they get away?

A:  No. They jumped in the stolen getaway car, but couldn’t drive it!

B:  Why was that?

A:  Because the guy didn’t know how to drive a car with a stick shift! And so the police caught them!

5

A: Did you read this story about the man in Sweden?

B: No, what happened?

A: It says, “Customs officials in Sweden had an unusual experience today. As a man was going through the customs checkpoint, officers noticed that his shirt was moving.”

B:  That’s weird.

A: Yeah, I know. Listen, “When they searched him, they found 65 baby snakes and six lizards inside his shirt. The man said he wanted to open a reptile farm. They arrested him for smuggling.”

6

A:  Did you hear about that guy who tried to rob a pharmacy in Canada?

B:  No, what happened?

A:  He was in the drugstore, and he told the employees there that he was going to come back in half an hour and rob them.

B: So what did they do?

A: They called the police, of course. So when the guy came back 30 minutes later with his friend, the police were waiting for them.

B: Oh, that’s hilarious!

Listening 2

Task 1

Newscasters are reporting unusual stories. Which headlines match their stories? Listen and check (✓) the correct headline.

img

Show answers

1 a   2 b   3 b   4 a

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answer.

True

False

1 The young man ended up with $28,000.

2 A football team wants to hire 200 students.

3 San Bernardo is a city in Egypt.

4 A government worker left a high-paying business job.

Show answers & Transcript

1 True   2 False   3 False   4 True

Transcript

1

A young man in Illinois was having trouble paying his college tuition, so he came up with quite a creative solution. He wrote to a newspaper columnist and asked him to print a request in his column. He wanted the columnist to ask readers to send in one penny to help him pay for his college education. Readers of the newspaper thought it was a funny idea, so they sent in their pennies, and in the end, the young man collected $28,000.

2

An American football team wants to hire 250 students to help them get their new football arena ready for visitors. The job? Flushing toilets. Apparently, when a new stadium or arena is built, you have to make sure all the plumbing is working properly before you can open for business. And the only way to do that is to flush all the toilets at the same time.

3

We all know that Egyptians mummified their pharaohs when they died in order to preserve their bodies for eternity. The Egyptians had an elaborate process for mummification involving various chemicals and techniques. But they may have been better off just going to Colombia, South America. It’s been discovered that the soil in the town of San Bernardo, Colombia contains ingredients that naturally mummify anyone buried there.

4

What would you do if you were bored with your job because you didn’t have enough work to do? Would you quit? That’s not what a man working in a New Mexico government office did. Instead, he decided to sue his employer for “wrongful hiring.” He argues that he left a higher-paying business job to take the government job and ended up with nothing to do!

Listening 3

Task 1

People are talking about unusual stories in the news. What are the stories about? Listen and number the correct picture.

img

Show answers

A 4   B 1   C 2   D 5   E 3   F 6

Task 2

Listen again and answer the questions. Circle the correct answer.

1 How far was the man from the beach?

a one mile

b two miles

 c three miles

2 Where did the twins find each other?

a at a party

b in college

 c a family reunion

3 How much money did the man get?

a $130,000

b $135,000

 c $145,000

4 How far had the camera floated?

a 1,000 miles

b 1,011 miles

 c 1,100 miles

5 Who placed the babies next to each other?

a a nurse

b a doctor

 c their mother

6 Why didn’t the people hear the smoke alarm?

a It was broken.

b It wasn’t very loud.

 c They didn’t have one.

Show answers & Transcript

1 a   2 b   3 b   4 a   5 a    b

Transcript

1

A: Hey, listen to this. “In Florida today, a man was found drifting about a mile offshore. He was on a swimming pool float sound asleep.” Can you believe that?

B: No way! What was he doing out there?

A: Let’s see__ It says, “Apparently, the man had fallen asleep and wasn’t aware that he was drifting out to sea. After rescuing him, the Coast Guard said that he was very lucky that they found him.”

2

A: Wow, did you hear about the twin sisters that were separated at birth?

B: No, what happened?

A: They were adopted by different families when they were babies and grew up in different cities.

B: Yeah?

A: But after high school, they both attended the same college?

B: Wow! And they met there?

A: Yes! They figured out they were twins. They were even in the same class!

3

A: Hey, has an airline ever lost your luggage?

B: Yeah, once.

A: Well, this British guy claimed that different airlines lost his luggage dozens of times. And since the airlines pay you when they lose your luggage, he’s gotten about $135,000 in lost luggage claims.

B: Wow, that’s amazing.

A: It sounds amazing, but it isn’t really. The guy had an illegal scam going. He would check two or three bags. Then when he reached his destination, he would put one bag inside another one and claim that it was lost!

4

A: I just read the most amazing story online.

B: What was it about?

A: Well, this guy in Florida found a camera floating in the ocean in a plastic case. He decided he would try to find the owner of the camera, so he posted the photos online. Believe it or not, people who saw the photos helped him identify the owner of the camera. And it turns out the owner had dropped it in the ocean in Aruba several months earlier! It had floated 1,000 miles!

5

A: Did you hear that amazing story about the newborn twins?

B:  Yeah, one twin was really sick, right?

A: That’s right. She wouldn’t stop crying, and she was turning blue. No one could calm her. Then a nurse at the hospital put her twin sister next to her, and when the healthy twin put her arm over her sister, the sick twin stopped crying and started getting better!

6

A:  Wow, I think I need to get a parrot!

B:  Why? What are you reading about?

A:  I’m reading a story about a parrot that saved two people’s lives. A man and his son fell asleep on the couch watching a movie. While they were sleeping, their house caught on fire. They woke up suddenly when they heard their parrot imitating a smoke alarm. Apparently, their smoke alarm did go off, but it wasn’t loud enough to wake them up.

Conversation Corner: Telling stories

Task 1

Listen to the conversation. Write the missing words.

A: _____. ________. ________. about that guy who sent himself somewhere in a box?

B: What? No! What happened?

A: Well, this guy wanted to go to Dallas to visit his father, but ________. ________. ________. to pay for a plane ticket.

B: Yeah? ________. ________. ________. do?

A: He figured he would save money by mailing himself to Dallas, so he packed himself inside a box!

B: ____ . ________. ________.! That must have been some trip!

Task 2

Practice the conversation with a partner. Be sure to use the correct intonation.

Show answers & Transcript

A:Did you hear about that guy who sent himself somewhere in a box?

B: What? No! What happened?

A: Well, this guy wanted to go to Dallas to visit his father, but he didn’t want to pay for a plane ticket.

B: Yeah? What did he do?

A: He figured he would save money by mailing himself to Dallas, so he packed himself inside a box!

B: You’re kidding me ! That must have been some trip!