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TOEFL listening: A conversation between two students in a chemistry class

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    TOEFL Listening Comprehension Transcript

    Narrator
    Listen to a conversation between two students in a chemistry class.

    Marie: Huh! This isn''t working.

    Peter: What isn''t?

    M: This reaction. I''m supposed to get hydrogen gas, but I don''t seem to be getting anything except air.

    P: How are you supposed to tell?

    M: Well, hydrogen gas should explode when I hold this burning splint up to the test tube- but... nothing happens, see?

    P: Hmm. Very unimpressive. How do you do this experiment, again?

    M: Well, I put some hydrochloric acid into this test tube here. And then I add a piece of zinc metal to it. A reaction takes place and hydrogen gas is produced- it says- which should come out of the glass tubing, over here, and go into this other test tube. But it doesn''t.

    P: Nothing happens?

    M: Well, something happens. The zinc bubbles and bounces around- the acid does something to it. Some gas must be coming off, I guess, but it isn''t flammable. It doesn''t burn at all.

    P: Is there any way else to identify hydrogen?

    M: Not that I ''ve learned. It''s completely colorless and tasteless, I know- it just burns very dramatically.

    P: Huh. Well, I dunno. Shall we run through your experiment again together and see how it goes?

    M: Sure, if you don''t mind- that would be great! I''m sure I''m doing everything right, I''ve gone through it twice now, but I still get nothing, nada.

    P: OK. Lessee.... We need what? Clean test tubes? Two of ''em? Here we are. And... a rubber stopper with ten centimeters or so of glass tubing through it... right...uh...here. That''s it?

    M: Yep. And a graduated cylinder and the Bunsen burner. And the zinc and the acid.

    P: All right: let''s do this first- let''s take the zinc and the HCl from different sources- from, uh, those reagent bottles on that lab table over there. Maybe your bottles are contaminated or mislabeled or something.

    M: Oh, good idea. Trust me to use the wrong reagents.

    P: Just a sec.... here we are... OK, now you run the experiment like you think you should, and I''ll watch what you do.

    M: Well, first I clamp this test tube onto its stand...like this... and put in about five milliliters of the hydrochloric acid....

    P: "About" five milliliters?! Isn''t this a scientific laboratory?

    M: All right, all right. Exactly five milliliters of HCl...like this....

    P: OK. Mmm... and....

    M: Then I take a little piece of zinc metal with these tweezers, like this, and-

    P: Are they all the same size?

    M: Yeah, they seem to be. It looks like they''re pressed out of some kind of machine in standard bits.

    P: And add "one"?

    M: Yeah, one. Like this. And see?- it starts to bubble!

    P: Sure does!

    M: So I slap the stopper into the top of the test tube real quick, like- unh!- this....

    P: Mmm....

    M: And then, I hold the other test tube under the other end of the glass tubing, here...like this, and...uh, wait until I think I''ve collected enough hydrogen gas to ignite, I guess. Is the Bunsen burner going?

    P: Yes, it''s burning- and you also need a splint, right? Here''s one. Hey! Just a minute- how in heck are you going to collect any gas like that?!

    M: Like what?

    P: Like that- holding the test tube under the mouth of the tubing

    M: What? Am I spilling it or something?

    P: No, no- you''re losing it entirely! Hydrogen is lighter than air, Marie. It''s floating UP.

    M: Huh?

    P: It''s floating up. It''s rising from the tube mouth. It''s not falling into your container. Hold it above the tube!

    M: Ack! How stupid! I am so stupid. I''m never gonna pass this course. OK, OK- now...light that for me, will you?

    P: Right...here you go.

    M: And.... POW! Wow, did you see that?

    P: And we''ve got lift off! And you''ve got hydrogen. Congratulations.

    M: Yeah. (sighs) Thanks, Peter. Now all I gotta do is write this experiment up.

    P: No problem. So, what''s your next experiment?

    M: Uh, something about sodium and water.

    P: Oh no!


    Excerpt from the TOEFL test listening conversation

    Peter: ...OK, now you run the experiment like you think you should, and I''ll watch what you do.

    Marie: Well, first I clamp this test tube onto its stand...like this... and put in about five milliliters of the hydrochloric acid....

    P: "About" five milliliters?! Isn''t this a scientific laboratory?

    M: All right, all right. Exactly five milliliters of HCl...like this....

    P: OK. Mmm... and....

    M: Then I take a little piece of zinc metal with these tweezers, like this, and-

    P: Are they all the same size?

    M: Yeah, they seem to be. It looks like they''re pressed out of some kind of machine in standard bits.

    P: And add "one"?

    M: Yeah, one. Like this. And see?- it starts to bubble!
    50 TOEFL conversations
    50 TOEFL conversations
    A great variety of English listening comprehension tests that will help you increase your TOEFL test score.
  • based on TOEFL academic discussions
  • written and recorded by experienced US authors and voice-over specialists
  • 50 TOEFL lectures   50 TOEFL conversations




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