IELTS® Listening Practice 55

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between a student and a tutor about career planning. First, you will have some time to look at questions 21 to 24 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 21 to 24.)



T: Right. How is your research going, Petra? I believe you were looking into career planning strategies. 

P: Well, I've been reading up on that, yes, and I've been focussing on the differences between aptitudes and interests, and how they both relate to career choices. It's really important for young people to be able to make an informed decision on their future career based on their own strengths and weaknesses

T: Well, let's start with interests. What are they, exactly? Did you find a suitable definition?

P: Well, what it comes down to is that interests are the result of what you do, what you learn, and who you know. These factors change greatly from year to year in young people, as their knowledge and experience grows. It is difficult to be interested in something if, for example, you do not understand what it is. A job title such as 'marine biologist' or 'industrial engineer' does not say much about what that career is like, and so how could someone be truly interested in pursuing either of those careers, without knowing more about what they actually entail?

T: I see. And what about aptitudes? How are they different?

P: Well, aptitudes are the result of inheritance and early development. They are not changeable as interests are. Research has shown that a person's aptitudes stabilise at around age fourteen, and remain pretty much unchanged from that point for the rest of his or her life. They have little to do with what you know or learn, and the many testing programs used by educational institutions can provide an objective source of information about a person's natural strengths, thus making education and career planning more precise and effective.

(Before you hear the rest of the conversation, you will have some time to look at questions 25 to 30 [20 seconds]. Now, listen and answer questions 25 to 30.)

T: Petra, let's go back to what you said about interests. You mentioned that these are very changeable but what are the factors that influence them?

P: OK, well, interests can be greatly influenced by outside factors. A person may not be interested in financial management because, for example, an acquaintance has that particular job and is dissatisfied or frustrated. Someone else might be interested in being a journalist because of a writer father. Dreams of becoming a mechanic can come from a favourite uncle who collects vintage cars. An interest in old cars or writing or finance could be guided by aptitudes into related directions more suited to natural abilities.

T: But dreaming of being a doctor or being the child of a surgeon does not mean you will have the necessary abilities to be a successful and satisfied physician.

P: Exactly, and that's where aptitudes come into play. Aptitudes are innate abilities. Identifying your natural strengths is a way to find out which careers are appropriate for you as an individual, regardless of any other factors. If you have a strong interest in a particular career or occupation, that is something to consider. Your aptitude test results might be able to indicate which aspect to explore that would best suit you. Being a doctor is not the only role in the field of medicine, just as working in a classroom is not the only way of teaching.

T: Right. You also mentioned something about testing programs that measure aptitudes. Can you talk a bit more about those? 

P: Sure. Some schools and universities administer what is called an 'interest survey' as part of a career testing program. They use it as a way to gain some insight into the students' present way of thinking about their future. They are often able to relate an interest to a career based on their pattern of aptitudes, and they are careful to emphasize the important differences between what a person's interests are and what their aptitudes are.

T: Yes, exploring what your interests are and what types of careers match them is one way of making sound education and work choices. Petra, according to your research, are such tests actually effective in helping students decide on a career plan?

P: Absolutely, they can be very effective. The main thing is being able to identify specifically why they are interested or uninterested in a career can be helpful in determining whether or not that career is appropriate for them. Aptitude testing in particular is a very useful tool for students and anybody who wants to make a plan of action for their career steps. I believe the reason that these tests are so useful is because they provide the students with an unbiased, factual representation of how they think and work.

T: Thanks, Petra. Now, let's move on to…

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