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to respect; to honor; to admire; to value
drill
exchange
mobilize
esteem
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TOEFL listening: A conversation between two students over lunch

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    TOEFL Listening Comprehension Transcript

    Narrator
    Listen to a conversation between two students over lunch.

    Bill: Hi, Hillary. Can I join you?

    Hillary: Oh-- hi, Bill. Sure. Sit down. What''s for lunch? Oh...you''re having the beef curry, eh? I''d better warn the rest of the class.

    B: I can''t come today. I''ve got to skip it.

    H: Why?

    B: Oh, I''ve got to finish this motivation letter here.

    H: Which one''s that?

    B: It''s my letter for USC grad school. I''ve got to get it in the mail this afternoon. I''ve been putting it off and putting it off, but now I''ve really got to get it done, or I''ll miss the submission deadline. So I''m going to have to miss 360 class, that''s all.

    H: Too bad. Why''n''t you write it before, anyway? You''re one of the most organized guys I know.

    B: Oh, I dunno. I never do know what to say in these things exactly. And this one''s really got me stumped. I really want to get into their graduate International Affairs program-- so this one''s got to be just right, you know?

    H: So...what''s wrong with it? Can I see what you''ve got so far?

    B: Huh? Oh. Sure. Here you go. It''s just that, uh, I can''t find that, you know, balance between eagerness and uh, effusiveness. I mean, how to show them I''m sincere. I want to tell them that I really want to get into that program, and that I think I''ve got the background to do well in it-- but I can''t sound like some, well, wet-behind-the-ears, stars-in-my-eyes wannabe, either.

    H: Yeah. I know what you mean. It''s hard, isn''t it? It''s a fine line to walk. Lemmee see...mmm...this is nice-- "The political turmoil that has brought in the 21st century"...catchy! Hmm... Oh, but this-- "I really feel my qualifications..." Naw, that''s no good, Bill. That sounds really canned. And you shouldn''t have to say you "feel"-- that feeling should come out in the context-- and "really" certainly doesn''t belong anywhere near a formal letter!

    B: Oh.

    H: Just cut that clause out and get right into it: "My qualifications match the prerequisites you indicate and...". Hmm. But then you don''t mention them at all.

    B: Mention what? The prerequisites?

    H: Neither one. You haven''t given any details either about your qualifications or about the prerequisites that USC wants.

    B: Well, they know their own prerequisites, don''t they?

    H: Yes, of course-- but a smart applicant would remind them.

    B: And my CV is going to be attached to this-- and it lists all my education and experience-- in gory detail.

    H: Yeah, but even so-- you ought to give them, maybe, some examples at least, some key examples, here in the letter. If you say they match, then you should match them up right here. You know, like...uh, what?-- you''ve taken a heckuva lot of languages, haven''t you? What are you taking this year?

    B: Uh...second year German and first year Japanese.

    H: Well, put those in here. Be specific. "My language credits in French, German and Japanese, in addition to the fact that I am bilingual in Spanish and English, abundantly satisfy your language prerequisite." You''ve got to impress them with the truth, Bill, really. And nothing sounds more truthful than specific details-- details that can be checked and verified. And then, help them, help them think it out-- "My language experience has already provided me a good grounding in many cross-cultural basics."-- something like that.

    B: But isn''t all that going to make this thing ''way too long? I''ve always read you''re not supposed to go over one, a single, page with a cover letter.

    H: But this isn''t a cover letter. Well, yes, it''s a kind of a cover letter-- but it''s more than that. It''s supposed to show what makes you tick-- who you are, and what you want out of life. What you want out of that USC program.

    B: So...

    H: So don''t worry about length. As long as you''re not just creating padding, not creating filler, as long as you''re giving them good solid useful information about your abilities and goals, they''ll keep reading. And they''ll get a good clear picture of who you are as a candidate.

    B: So, what do you think then? Two pages?

    H: Sure, that''ll be fine. As long as you have something relevant to say.

    B: But I''m running out of time on this.

    H: Look-- isn''t this important? You can do this.

    B: Well, OK then. Whatever you say. Uh-- would you have a chance to take one more look at this thing before I send it off?

    H: Yeah, I guess so. When? I thought you were in a rush to get this off.

    B: Yeah, I am. But I think I can get this revised and ready by the end of our 360 lecture...

    H: -- the one you''re skipping?

    B: Yes. So I could bring it over to you at the end of class.

    H: Or-- where are you going to work on it? Here?

    B: Yep. I''m going to be sitting right here till it''s done.

    H: Well then, why don''t I just come back here after class and find you?

    B: That''d be great, Hillary. I''d really appreciate it.

    H: No problem. Anything to get you out of here and into another university. (laughs)

    B (laughs): Aw, c''mon! Anyway, thanks. Really.

    H: See you in a couple of hours, then.

    B: OK, great!


    Excerpt from the TOEFL test listening conversation

    Bill: ...I''ve got to finish this motivation letter here.

    Hillary: Which one''s that?

    B: It''s my letter for USC grad school. I''ve got to get it in the mail this afternoon. I''ve been putting it off and putting it off, but now I''ve really got to get it done, or I''ll miss the submission deadline. So I''m going to have to miss 360 class, that''s all.

    H: Too bad. Why''n''t you write it before, anyway? You''re one of the most organized guys I know.

    B: Oh, I dunno. I never do know what to say in these things exactly. And this one''s really got me stumped. I really want to get into their graduate International Affairs program-- so this one''s got to be just right, you know?

    H: So...what''s wrong with it? Can I see what you''ve got so far?

    B: Huh? Oh. Sure. Here you go. It''s just that, uh, I can''t find that, you know, balance between eagerness and uh, effusiveness. I mean, how to show them I''m sincere. I want to tell them that I really want to get into that program, and that I think I''ve got the background to do well in it-- but I can''t sound like some, well, wet-behind-the-ears, stars-in-my-eyes wannabe, either.

    H: Yeah. I know what you mean. It''s hard, isn''t it? It''s a fine line to walk. Lemmee see...mmm...this is nice-- "The political turmoil that has brought in the 21st century"...catchy! Hmm... Oh, but this-- "I really feel my qualifications..." Naw, that''s no good, Bill. That sounds really canned. And you shouldn''t have to say you "feel"-- that feeling should come out in the context-- and "really" certainly doesn''t belong anywhere near a formal letter!

    B: Oh.
    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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