TOPICS FOR ORAL TEST 2012-05-05 6231 lượt xem



1. How we really spend our time ?

2. Ways to improve your memory

3. Places to visit before you die

4. The remarkable “Jim Twins”  

5. Talking about someone you admire

6. Why did Kevin and Lorna leave their job? What are the good things about the new jobs?

7. Talking about more light-hearted stories

8. Talking about the great international night out

9. Talking about “Tips for visitors to Thailand”

10. Talking about Hot gossip

11. Getting it right

12. The perfect crime … well almost!

13. Talking about some unusual laws from around the world

14. Talking about “Controversy”

15. Talking about “The toughest decisions of their lives”

16. Talking about a successful Italian tourist


1. How we really spend our time ?

Time, it seems, is what we’re all short of these days. One reason perhaps, why there are thousands of studies every year into how we spend our time and how we could spend it better. Some of the results are starting. Did you know for example…?

* Although up to two thirds of modern European women work full-time, they still do the main share of the housework, too. Husbands help in the house more than they did in the past, but in the UK for example, men do an average of just six hours a week compared to their wives, who do over eighteen hours. No wonder that the vast majority of working women in the UK say they are stressed and exhausted!

* According to the latest research by supermarkets, the average British family spends just eleven minutes preparing the main evening meal, and prefers “ready meals” and takeaway to home-cooked food. Almost half of all families in the UK eat together only once a month or less.

* More than half of young people in the UK have a full - time job by the age of nineteen, but the majority of young Spanish and Italian people do not start full-time work until they are twenty – four.

* The average American fourteen – year – old spends only half an hour a day doing homework, and less than a fifth of young people participate in sports, clubs, music or other traditional hobbies. Instead, sixty – five percent say they spend time chatting on their mobiles and hanging out with their friends in the shopping malls.

   2. Ways to improve your memory

A good memory is often seen as something that comes naturally, and a bad memory as something that cannot be changed, but actually there is a lot that you can do to improve your memory. However, it does mean taking responsibility and making an effort. Here are the experts’ top tips.

Take an interest – make an effort

We all remember the things we are interested in and forget the bad ones that bore us. This no doubt explains the reason why schoolboys remember football results effortlessly but struggle with dates from their history lessons! Take an active interest in what you want to remember, and focus on it consciously. One way to “make” yourself more interested is to ask question – the more the better!

Repeat things

Repeating things is the best way to remember things for a short time, e.g. remembering a phone number for a few seconds. “Chunking” or grouping numbers help you to remember them, e.g. the following numbers would be impossible for most of us to remember: 1492178919318483. But look at them in “chunks” and it becomes much easier: 1492 1789 1931 8483.

Form a mental picture

Another way to make something more memorable is to think about something visual associated with it. Form a mental picture and the stranger the picture the better you will remember it! If an English person studying Spanish wanted to remember the Spanish word for duck, “pato”, he/she could associate it with the English verb to “past” and imagine a picture of someone patting a duck on the head.

Invent a story

To remember long lists, try inventing a story which includes all the items you want to remember. In experiment, people were asked to remember up to 120 words using this technique and when they were tested afterwards, so average they could remember ninety percent of them!

Organize your ideas

If we organize what we know in a logical way then when we learn more about that subject we understand better, and so add to our knowledge more easily. Make well-organized notes. Be sure things are clear in your mind. If not, ask questions until you understand!

Listen to Mozart

Many experts believe that listening to classical music, especially Mozart, helps people to organize their ideas more clearly and so improves their memory. Sadly, rock music does not have the same effect!

Take mental exercise

If you do not want to lose your memory as you get older you need to keep your brain fit, just like your body: “use it or lose it” is the experts’ advice. Logic puzzles, crosswords, and mental arithmetic are all good “mental aerobics”.

Take physical exercise

Physical exercise is also important for your memory, because it increases your heart rate and sends more oxygen to your brain, and that makes your memory work better. Exercise also reduces stress, which is very bad for memory.

Eat the right things

The old saying that “eating fish makes you brainy” may be true after all. Scientists have discovered that the fats found in fish like tuna, sardines and salmon – as well as in olive oil – help to improve the memory. Vitamin C and E (found in fruits like oranges, strawberries and red grapes) and vitamin B (found in lean meat and green vegetables) are all good “brain food” too.

Drink coffee

Caffeine may not be too good for you, but like exercise, it increases your heart rate and sends more oxygen to your brain. A cup of coffee really does help you concentrate when you sit down to study. And if you don’t like coffee, don’t worry – experts believe that chewing gum has the same effect.


3. Places to visit before you die

Natural world – 1st the Grand Canyon, USA

Known to native Americans as the ‘Mountain lying down’, the Grand Canyon stretches for 443 kilometres where the Colorado River cuts through northwest Arizona. The canyon is a baby by geological standards – only five or six million years old, although the rocks at the bottom are almost two billion years old. It is the incredible colours of these different layers of rock that delight visitors – over five million of them every year. Surprisingly though, after making the long journey there, the average visitor spends only fifteen minutes looking at the Canyon.  Even so, visitors should still be careful:  every year an average of five people fall over the edge. A viewer’s opinion: ‘It’s just incredible, you feel as if you have died and gone to heaven’.

Romantic city – 1st Venice, Italy

What could be more romantic than going down a Venetian canal in a gondola? No wonder Venice is the favourite of lovers all over the world. This unique city is located on 118 flat islands, and has over 200 canals and 400 bridges. Visit the Piazza San Marco, one of the most beautiful squares in the world with its 500-year-old buildings, and marvel at the Basilica of St Mark, and the Doge’s Palace, the home of many of Venice’s most famous paintings and sculptures.

A viewer’s opinion: ‘Imagine going back in time to a life without cars, where magnificent art and architecture were all around you – this is what you experience when you go to Venice’.

Modern city – 1st Las Vegas, USA

A surprising choice as your favourite city, Las Vegas means the ‘meadows’ in Spanish, but meadows are probably the only thing you can’t find here. Even for those who aren’t interested in gambling. Las Vegas is one of the most exciting cities in the world. ‘The strip’, in the centre of town, is five kilometres of the most extravagant hotels you will ever see, including replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian Pyramids and ancient Roman Palaces.  It uses almost 24,000 kilometres of neon lights! Famous for its ‘quickie’ weddings (both Elvis Presley and Richard Gere were married here) you can even arrange a ‘drive through wedding’ and be back in the casinos in an hour!


4. The remarkable “Jim Twins”  

Twins have a lot in common even though they grow up in different backgrounds. The most remarkable case is that of Jim Springer and Jim Lewis who had been separated from birth and were reunited at age 39. Though they were brought up by different families, the Jim twins had a lot of similarities in their lives. Firstly, they both grew up with an adopted brother called Larry. They had the same height of 184 cm and same weight of 83 kg. The twins were also found to have married women named Linda, divorced, and married the second time to women named Betty. Next, they both named his first son James Alan and their pet dogs Toy. They both loved motor racing and hated baseball. Surprisingly, they had the same handwriting and the same facial expressions. Furthermore, the twins both spent their holidays at the same beach in Florida every year. Even their homes and gardens were very similar. Lastly, they both died of the same illness on the same day.


5. Talking about someone you admire

The person I admire most in the world is Nelson Mandela.  He was the president of South Africa during the 1990s, but before that he spent more than twenty-five years, I think, in prison. He was put in prison because of his political beliefs. He wanted to get equal rights for black people in Africa, and the government put him in to prison because of his political views…um…he was a lawyer before he went to prison and he presented himself at his trial. Some of the things he said during trial were amazing. They’re still famous speeches, I think.

The reason that I admire him is that in spite of the fact that he spent such a long time in prison he never changed his views. It would’ve been quite easy for him to perhaps stop campaigning for the rights of black people, but he never did that. Right until the end of his time in prison, he was still campaigning. When I went to South Africa, I met somebody who was in prison with him and it was amazing to hear how they were. They found it so easy to forgive the government and the people who’d put them in prison, they weren’t bitter or angry about it.

I think he’s really influenced the way people think about how they can make changes, political changes, by standing by what they believe in and stating their beliefs very clearly.


6. Why did Kevin and Lorna leave their job? What are the good things about the new jobs?


I lost my job when my company where I worked closed down, and it was terrible. All these men unemployed and no jobs for them anywhere. And so my wife, Sally decided to go back to work. She’s a legal secretary and there’s always lots of that kind of work, but she has to work long hours.

So basically we changed places. I look after the baby and take the other two to school, and do the shopping and the cooking and the housework. And I must say it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done! Before I used to think my wife had an easy time while I was working. Now I see mums and housewives in different ways.

At first I hated it. I was desperate to get back to work, but now I’ve started to enjoy it. I never used to see much of the kids and now I’m watching them grow up, and now I’m part of everything they do. I still feel a bit lonely sometimes. Em, I miss the people I worked with, but at last the other mothers at school talk to me now and I’ve even met some other ‘house-husbands’ at the school gate. But I don’t want to do it for ever. I’m still looking for another job.


Ian and I were both doing well in our careers in the city, but we were working really long hours, often twelve hours a day and often traveling two hours a day as well-and still living in a tiny flat, because flats are so expensive in London. And when we decided to get married and start a family, we just realized we don’t want to bring our children up with that kind of life, that kind of stress. We came down here for a holiday and just fell in love with this place. It just seemed like the ideal place for children to grow up, and when we found the hotel, it was perfect – like a dream come true. I must say, it’s been a lot harder than I thought.

Running a hotel is a twenty-four hour job, and we’ve had lots of problems that we didn’t really expect. The people in the village weren’t that friendly at first, through it’s getting better now, and we’ve had quite a lot of money problems and things like that. After the baby’s born it’s going to difficult too, Ian will have to work even harder, because I’ll have the baby to look after. But even with all those problems I still really love it. I really enjoy meeting new people all the time. It’s still the place where I bring up my children, and I don’t miss my life in London at all. At the end of a long day, I just look out at the view and listen to the sea. I still think we’re really lucky to be here. 


7. Talking about more light-hearted stories

“ Home is a dangerous place”

The most ordinary items in your house can cause an accident, according to government figures. Every year, more than 2,000 people are injured by soft toys, 700 by envelops, and 1,500 by tissue paper. Another 37,000 people blame slippers for their injures, nearly 2,000 blame wallpaper, and almost 18,000 accidents are caused by armchairs. But by far the greatest danger in the house comes from carpets. Last year around 165,000 accidents involving carpets were reported.

‘Bono’ hat goes first class’

U2 star Bono reportedly paid out €1,300 to fly his trilby hat first class to Italy. The singer had forgotten to pack his favorite hat for a charity convert with Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, so complicated arrangements were made to get the hat safely from England. A taxi took it from West London to Gatwick airport where it was put in a first -class seat on a British Airways flight to Bologna. A hired driver then picked up the hat and sped to Modena – Pavarotti’s home and the venue for the concert. A spokesman for the star said, ‘including tips and insurance it cost about €1,300 to fly the hat here, but that is nothing compared to the money that will be raised for charity tonight’.


8. Talking about the great international night out

Go out any Saturday night in cities as far apart as Beijing and Berlin, and the chances are you’ll find people eating pizzas, dancing in clubs and discos or enjoying a little karaoke. But have you ever wondered how these things started?


Pizza has a long story. The ancient Greeks first had the idea of putting vegetables on large flat pieces of bread, and ‘pizza ovens’ have been found in the ruins of Roman cities. But for centuries one vital ingredient was missing – the first tomatoes were not brought to Europe until the sixteenth century, from South America. It was the nineteenth century before Rafaele Esposito, a baker from Naples, began to sell the first modern pizzas. He was asked to bake a special pizza for a visit by the Italian King and Queen in  1889, and also the first pizza Margarita was created, named after the Queen.

Pizza became a favorite dish in Italy, but it was after the Second World War, when thousands of American soldiers went home from Europe, that pizza really became an international dish. Soon there were pizzerias all over the USA, and American chains like Pizza Hut spread the idea around the world. Today the average American eats over ten kilogrammes of pizza a year, and the world’s largest pizza (measuring thirty metres across) was baked not in Italy, but in Havana, Cuba.


Have you ever wondered where the modern disco started? Before the Second World War, men and women going to night clubs danced in couples to live bands. But in Paris during the war, jazz bands were banned in clubs. People still wanted to dance, so they took along their gramophone players instead, and the very first ‘discotheques’ were created. The idea remained popular after the war, partly because it was cheaper to pay a DJ than a whole band, and soon Parisian discotheques were copied in the USA and other countries.

It was the arrival of a dance craze called ‘The Twist’ in 1961 that really made discos though, as for the first time couples danced without touching each other. Ever Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of the US President, was photographed doing the dance. Fashion, music and technology have moved on quite a bit since then, but the basic idea has never lost its popularity.


If dancing isn’t your thing, perhaps you prefer singing? Everyone knows that karaoke comes from Japan, but it is not the Japanese for ‘drunk and tone-deaf’ as you might think! It actually means ‘empty orchestra’. It all started in a small music bar in the city of Kobe. One night when the usual guitarist didn’t turn up, the desperate bar owner recorded some music and invited his customers to sing instead. The craze soon spread, and special karaoke machines were invented. The idea was that however badly you sang everyone applauded at the end, and it proved the perfect way for stressed Japanese businessmen to unwind.

Today, just twenty years after it started in Kobe, you can find karaoke bars all over the world. It is so popular in China that restaurants normally have several karaoke machines going at the same time. These days, you can hire karaoke machines that not only play music and videos, but also have smoke machines, laser lights, and even dancers and a DJ to accompany you, while you make-believe for a few minutes that you are a star. As one karaoke fan put it, ‘It’s something everyone should try at least once in their life.’


9. Talking about “Tips for visitors to Thailand”

Thailand is famous for its hospitality, and the average visitor will have no difficulty in adapting to local customs. The following tips are mostly common sense, but to avoid giving offence foreign visitors may find them useful.

a.       When addressing a Thai person it is polite to use just their first name / surname.

b.      In more formal situations you should use the word ‘Khun’. This is like ‘Mr’ and is used for addressing men / both men and women.

c.       It is not usual to shake hands when you meet a Thai person – instead you do a wail – you put your hands together as if you are saying a prayer, and bow your head slightly. You should always do this when you meet older people / your friends.

d.      Couples should be careful how they behave. Thai couples tend not to hold hands in public and it is acceptable / not acceptable for couples to kiss in public.

e.       The head is very important in Thai culture. It is not respectful / acceptable to touch another person’s head.

f.       Remember, if you are invited to someone’s home it is important to take your shoes off / keep your shoes on.

g.      In Thailand, people tend to serve food in large bowls in the centre of the table. Everyone helps themselves, using chopsticks / a spoon and fork.

Finally remember that it is very important to show respect to the Thai royal family. Thai people always do this, and expect visitors to do the same.


10. Talking about Hot gossip


For the hottest gossip on the good, the bad and the famous, read Immelda!!

Actress Glynnis Parsley and tennis star Andy Martinez have finally decided to get married – once Andy’s first wife Alana agrees to divorce!! However, I have heard that Alana won’t give Andy a divorce because he hands over the couple’s twenty-five million dollar mansion in Palm Beach. ‘We hope to get married later this year,’ a smiling Glynnis told me. ‘Or maybe next …

CSN TV have announced that Britain’s Duchess of Cumberland is to present her own chat show on cable television later this year. Filming will start when the Duchess returns from her latest skiing holiday in Austria – and she says that the programme is going to feature Hollywood celebrities as well as many of the Duchess’s own friends. ‘I want to do the best job I can as a TV presenter’, the Duchess told me last week. ‘I would like people to recognize me as a talented TV presenter, and not just as one of the best-dressed and most glamorous women in the world.

Rock star, actress and mother Myra Bellina is about to buy a very special home for herself and her baby daughter, Dolores – the Mediterranean island of Santo Domingo! She is also planning to build a copy of the cathedral in Florence at her home in Florida and is apparently thinking of converting her ranch in Colorado into a private zoo for Dolores and herself. But she will not allow Dolores to have a boyfriend until she is twenty-one. ‘Like any mother, I just want Dolores to have a normal life,’ Myra told me.

Show business legend Valerie Reinhard, who is holding her seventieth birthday celebration at the Astoria Hotel, Las Vegas on Friday next week, says she plans to invite all seven of her ex-husband to the party. ‘What if they all arrive at the same time?’ I asked Valerie last week. ‘I’m sure they’ll all have a lot to talk about,’ she replied.


11. Getting it right

·         All the things we need at present to prove our identity will disappear: credit cards, driving licenses, keys, and so on. Computer programmers will be able to recognize our unique appearance. Doors will open, cars will starts, pay phones and parking meters will automatically bill you.’

·         ‘It will be a very comfortable world; there will be technology to keep our house tidy and the grass in your garden green. Televisions will be able to to study and learn their owners’ reactions and suggest programmes to watch. It will make sure that commercials that annoy you are not repeated’.

·         ‘The world economy will change.  The wealth of a country will depend on its workers’ technical knowledge. India has already become a high-tech superpower. Any developing country could do the same in ten years.’

·         ‘Computers themselves will design and ‘breed’ new computers programmed in ways that no human being can understand.’

·         ‘We will have machines that are a billion times more intelligent than we are, but only in narrow, specific ways. Computers won’t ever be intelligent in the ways that we are; we cannot programme a computer to do what a mosquito does, certainly not what a human being does. Machines will do what they are good at and people will do what they are good at. Humans will do the creative tasks, leaving the boring work to computers.’


12. The perfect crime … well almost!

1. A daring criminal has finally been arrested in Malaga, Spain, two years after attempting to steal over three million euros. Spanish police yesterday told the story of how the forty-year-old man, Martin Dempsey from Manchester, was caught.

Two years ago, professional thief Dempsey discovered that the cash was going to be sent to Spain on a special flight, in the luggage hold. So Dempsey packed himself into a cargo crate, and got himself booked onto the same flight as the money. Once the plane took off, he cut his way out of the crate with a pocket knife, found the money successfully, and packed himself and money back into the crate. The plane landed safely, and everything seemed to be going perfectly to plan, when unfortunately the baggage handlers who were unloading the plane dropped Dempsey’s crate and he fell out. Dempsey grabbed as much money as he could, yelled ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m fine’ to the astonished baggage handlers and disappeared across the runway before anyone could catch him. And he would have remained free, if he hadn’t been arrested two years later for drink-driving in the Costa del Sol where he was now living. His DNA was found to match DNA from the airline crate, and Dempsey has at last been charged with the robbery.

2. Guildford Crown Court yesterday heard how mugger Toby Williams, twenty-four, unemployed, had snatched the handbag of Barbara Walsh a sixty-five-year-old retired teacher, in Crowndale Road last June. Inside Williams had found not only cash, but also a cheque for five thousand pounds, made out to Mrs Walsh.

Williams, who pleaded guilty to charges of theft and fraud, told the court how he discovered that he had all the correct identity documents to cash the cheque, the only problem being that he was nota sixty-five-year-old woman.

However, the ingenious Williams did not give up. Using the photograph on Mrs Walsh’s driving license as a guide, he dressed himself up as an elderly woman, and went to present the cheque at a local bank. At first, all went according to plan: the bank clerk did not seem to suspect anything wrong. That was, not until she looked at the cheque for by an amazing coincidence, the bank clerk was Alexandra Walsh’s thiry-two-year-old daughter. She recognized her mother’s cheque immediately and Williams was soon under arrest. Williams, who has been found guilty, will be sentenced later today.

3. If it had been successful it would have been the world’s biggest robbery. Several years ago, a team of over 200 police officers foiled an attempt by a gang of professional thieves to steal diamonds worth around $350 million from the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, London. The plan was remarkably simple. The thieves crashed a JCB digger into the side of the Dome near where the ‘Millennium Star’ and twelve other priceless diamonds were displayed. They then threw smoke bombs and smashed holes in the security glass protecting the diamonds. They planned to escape with the diamonds in a speedboat waiting outside the Dome on the River Thames. But what they did not realize was that the police had been watching them for weeks. The gang had already attempted a couple of unsuccessful robberies, and all of the members were being followed. They had noticed how often they visited the diamonds at the Dome and had worked out what they were planning. On the morning of the attempted robbery, the Dome was actually full of police officers who were dressed as cleaners, with their guns hidden in bin liners. However, as it happened, the whole gang were arrested without a shot being fired. But even if they hadn’t been stopped, the gang would have been sadly disappointed – the diamonds had been replaced with replicas: the real ones were safe in the bank!


13. Talking about some unusual laws from around the world

a. In the 1920s in the USA, ‘prohibition’ meant that you weren’t allowed to produce or consume alcoholic drinks. Eventually, though, the government had to change this law. Firstly because it was actually creating crime, and secondly because people were drinking more alcohol than ever before!

b. In Italy in the 1930s, Italians weren’t allowed to use foreign words. That’s why Italian is one of the few languages that doesn’t use the word ‘football’!

c. In Switzerland, women couldn’t vote until 1971. In New Zealand, on the other hand, women were allowed to vote from 1893 – making it the first country in the world to give women the vote.

d. Seventy-five years ago, in Britain, anyone could drive a car on the open road without taking a driving test. People didn’t have to take a test until 1935, when the first practical road test was introduced. From 1996, the test was changed and learners had to take a theoretical test as well.


14. Talking about “Controversy”

  1. All forms of hunting for sport (including fishing) should be banned.
  2. It should be made illegal for parents to smack their children.
  3. Terminally ill people who wish to die should have the right to do so.
  4. People should not be allowed to work for more than thirty-five hours a week.
  5. Everyone should have the right to carry a gun if they wish to.
  6. Young people should have the right to get married at sixteen without their parents’ permission.
  7. Smoking should be banned in all public places.
  8. There should be capital punishment for anyone who commits murder.
  9. Anyone who steals should be sent to prison, no matter how small the thing is that they steal.
  10. It should be against the law to kill animals for food.
  11. Everyone should have the right to a free university education.
  12. Military service should be compulsory for all young men and women.
  13. Parents should have the right to choose the sex of their unborn child if they wish.
  14. People who smoke should not have the right to free medical care from the state.


15. Talking about “The toughest decisions of their lives”

The toughest decision of their lives

Andew, who was thirty-five, was an experienced rower who had won international competitions. However, Debra, who was twenty-seven and a physical education teacher, had only learned to row the year before the competition. But she soon found she enjoyed life on board the tiny seven-meter boat. From early on, however, it was clear that Andrew was suffering from acute anxiety, and had developed an irrational fear of the ocean-something tried to overcome this and they continued their journey. Then one day, the boat was caught in a violent storm. Debra found Andrew in the cabin shaking and unable to even talk to her. It was clear that Andrew could not continue. With the nearest rescue boat five days away, Debra and Andrew had to make the toughest decision of their lives. Should Debra abandon the race in order to return home with her husband, or continue to Barbados, knowing that she would have to face the danger of the Atlantic alone.

At this stage, Debra could easily have given up and gone back to England with her husband. But she passionately believed she could complete the journey alone and become only the tenth woman ever to across the Atlantic by rowing boat. Andrew supported her 100 % in her decision. They spent the five days needed for the rescue vessel to reach their boat preparing for the solo journey.


16. Talking about a successful Italian tourist

Possibly the world’s least successful tourist is Mr. XFC Nicolas Scotti, an Italian living in San Francisco. Some years ago he decided to fly back to Italy to visit relatives. During the journey, the plane made a one-hour stop at Kennedy Airport. Thinking he had arrived in Italy, Mr. Scotti got out of the plane and spent the whole  day in New York thinking he was in Rome. The great traveler noticed that modernization had destroyed many of Rome’s ancient buildings and he later told friends that he was surprised so many people spoke English. In fact, Mr. Scotti’s English is rather limited, but when he asked a police officer for directions, he managed to choose an officer who had emigrated from Italy several years before, and so was able to answer in fluent Italian. After Mr. Scotti  had spent several hours riding around on a bus, the driver decided to hand over his passenger to another police officer, who tried to explain to Mr. Scotti that he wasn’t in Rome, but in New York. Mr. Scotti refused to believe him, but told the officer how surprised he was that the Rome Police Department had hired a policeman who didn’t speak Italian. eventually, the officer decided that Mr. Scotti’s adventure had gone on long enough, so he drove Mr. Scotti back to the airport at top speed in order to catch the San Francisco plane. Mr. Scotti then told his interpreter he now knew he was in Rome as only Italians drove that way.



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