TOEFL IBT Listening Practice Test 05 Solution & Transcription


Audio Conversation

Narrator. Listen to part of a conversation between a librarian and a student.

Student Excuse me.

Librarian: Yes?

Student Are you the reference librarian?

Librarian: Yes. How can I help you?

Student Well, I’m looking for a book that compares Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Librarian: Okay. What exactly are you trying to compare?

Student          I’m not quite sure. How about the cost of living?

Librarian:      Oh. Well cost of living is, uh, not very specific. I mean, what aspects of the cost of living do you need to find? Cost of living is a fairly broad topic.

Student          It is?

Librarian:      Well, yes. Do you want this for personal information or is it for a class?

Student          It’s for my economics class.

Librarian:     Unhuh.

Student          With Professor Brooks.

Librarian:      Oh, okay. Well, do you just need numbers … or is it a report… a narrative ?

Student          Just the numbers. I’m supposed to make a chart. It can be either a pie chart or a bar graph And I have to have some demographic information, you know, in order to do the chart. So you want a general comparison. I’m trying to imagine what you’ll put on the graph. Student  Well, I’m not too dear about that. I was thinking I might make several graphs, you know, one for each country, with the cost of basic things on it and then I could compare the graphs.

Librarian:  Was that the assignment? Maybe if you could explain the assignment to me …

Student  Okay. I, uh. I have it right here … somewhere. Just a minute Okay, here it is. Uh.

it says, “make a pie chart or a bar graph with at least four parts, it should be large enough to share with the class.

Librarian: That’s it?

Student  Unhuh. But if s for an economics class, and we have to be able to explain it to every one. So that’s why I was going for the cost of living and my major’s international business so I was interested in comparing several countries.

Librarian: But the professor really only asked you for one chart.

Student  I guess so … but I’m trying to figure out how to compare those countries on one chart and ifs not that easy.

Librarian: Okay. Well…

Student  You think I should just do the one chart then?

Librarian:  If s usually better to follow the instructions for an assignment unless …

Student  Oh. Even if it’s more than, uh, more than the professor asked for?

Librarian:  If s usually better to check with me professor first if you want to change the assignment.

Student  Okay then. I guess I need to choose one country and compare several factors for the one country.

Librarian:  Or. if you want to compare several countries, you probably need to zero in on one factor.

Student  Yeah.

Librarian:  Like the average income for a family of four or…

Student  Oh I see Maybe I could compare the cost of a home.

Librarian:  Right.

Student  So I could find that in an encyclopedia then.

Librarian:  Well, maybe, but you want current data and I’m not sure that you’d find demographics on income and home prices in an encyclopedia Anyway… look, why don’t I show you where you can find some reference materials in economics? Then, you can browse for a while Maybe you’ll find something that sparks an idea. But if you don’t, then just come back to my desk and I’ll look with you.

Student  Thanks. That’s great.


Audio Discussion

Narrator: Listen to part of a discussion in an art history class. The professor is talking about action art.


In the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism emerged among a group of painters that, uh, came to be known as the New York School, although the members included artists from many regions of the United States and several European countries as well. In any case, we know that the brushstrokes were a significant feature of the work of Impressionist and Post Impressionist painters, and like them, the Abstract Expressionists were interested in the expressive qualities of paint, and particularly in the case of action painters or gesture painters … they were sometimes called gesture painters … and they developed new methods for applying the paint. They dripped, threw, sprayed, and, uh, splattered … paint on the canvas … with a view to expressing artistic… actions or gestures… as part of the creative process.

Now, according to your textbook, probably the best-known of the action painters was… who?

Student 1: Pollock.

Student 2r. Jackson Pollock.


No doubt about ft. Pollock was a highly individual artist. He’s famous for huge muralsized works. And … to create them, he’d spread his unstretched canvas on the floor, and he’d approach the work from all four sides, walking around it and attacking it with commercial house paint in cans that he earned with him.

He dripped the paint from sticks or brushes that he dipped in the cans or…or he threw the paint and splashed it in patterns… that, uh,… that reflected the motion of his arm and, uh,… and his body, as he engaged in his so-called action painting. I think you can see how the name applies to this method. So Pollock claimed that this process allowed him to be in the painting, not apart from it.

Let me show you a picture of Pollock with a work in progress.

As you can see .. – and this is Pollock… he’s stepping right onto the canvas, splattening and drip-ping the paint. He’s focusing on the act of painting and he’s using grand, rhythmic gestures . of similar to a dance. In fact, some critics referred to the work as a performance or a choreographed activity He also used to pour the paint directly out of the can, and occasionally threw sand, broken glass uh … pebbles, and string, and other objects … he would throw them onto the canvas^

So, how much of the action art was a result of decisions and how much was pure chance? What do you think?

Student 3: Well, there was probably a little bit of both going on there.

Probably so But Pollock contended that he could control the flow of the paint with the motion of his arm and body … and that his work was not accidental. And it certainly was spontaneous in the sense that it happened very quickly and the decisions that he made were, uh were… of necessity, split second choices So, I would say you’re right, that action art. and Pollock’s work in particular, is a combination of, uh, … of chance, of artistic intuition, and, uh and control. And I should point out that he was known to retouch a drip with the brush on occasion.

Now let me show you an example of the paintings themselves.

Professor What do you see?

Student 2: There’s no visual center of attention Professor Which means… ?

Student 2r. Which means … the image has no foreground, no background, no focus of attention.


I see. However, I think you’ll agree that it does have a, uh  a complex unity, a balance of form and color. Look at the patterns. Wouldn’t you agree that they’re caused by the separation and weaving of one pigment in another? And it was this this … weaving that produced a number of tones from a minimal palette of paints Have any of you ever seen an original Pollock?

Student 3: I have. I wenl to the Guggenheim Museum when I was in New York last year.

Professor Could you tell the class a little about it?

Student 3:

Sure. I thought that the work looked like skeins of yam. Because the dripping and the small objects produced… uh… uh . „

Professor Texture?

Student 3:

Yeah. Texture as well as form, like yam. And I also remember the light that seemed to be in the canvas.


And precisely because of the texture and light, it’s really a disservice to see this as a flat slide.

Student 3: Oh another thing. A lot of the paintings were identified by numbers instead of names.


Oh, thanks for bringing that up. Some people think he did that because he didn’t want to limit the imag-ination. He wanted others to view a painting, without prejudice, so to speak But one piece has come to be called “Lavender Mist’ I’m not really sure whether Pollock actually named it or not, but it’s particu-larly interesting because the artist marked the image with his handprints. I think it’s in your textbook, but again, seeing it with the texture of the paint is a different experience.

Okay. so. after the process of creation, we see beauty, order, unity, perhaps even rhythm in an incredible light emanating from the canvas. Pollock wanted to express his feelings rather then to merely illustrate them, and I think he did achieve that. And, whether you like them or noL and many critics argued and continue to argue their merits, but it’s undeniable that works by PoBock are unique and recognizable … and virtually impossible to copy. It’s also dear that he had a remarkable influence on later artists. Uh, later artists … colorfield painters who adapted the paintpouring methods… and modem artists who chose to work with allover patterns … and the performance artists who continue to push the envelope on activity and process.