KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! Lesson 19 WHEN I GROW UP

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Listen Up!  Lesson NINETEEN HERE!

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Entrance exam season is right around the corner, and we’re here to make sure you are 100 percent ready for it.  For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with additional listening material that you can use to practice and improve your aural comprehension skills.

Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic—one that is interesting and useful in its own right, but one that is also the type of topic test-makers love to include on their exams.  Then, after listening to the passage, you will answer ten comprehension questions.  Before we listen to today’s passage, When I Grow UP, here are a few tips:

  • It goes without saying that you should always listen to the passage carefully.  Give it your undivided attention.  That means: no outside distractions.  (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage a second or third time.)
  • You can make brief notes of key points and details, but don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.
  • Key vocabulary words are explained in the bonus track.  Each key word is clearly defined and accompanied by common synonyms and antonyms as well as sample sentences that show you how the word is used, and how to use it.  What better way to augment your active vocabulary!
  • The comprehension questions “test” three general areas: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT.  (These are explained on the website and are available to download.)  The questions come in three different types or formats: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER.  The question format will vary, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully before you answer the questions.



When I Grow Up

Listen to Listen Up! Lesson NINETEEN: PASSAGE ONLY TRACK

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Ask the average six-year-old boy what he wants to become when he grows up and the most likely response will be,  “I want to be a professional soccer (baseball, football, basketball) player!”  Children of that age have big dreams, and to them nothing is out of reach.  But fast-forward five years and that same child will usually have a more pragmatic reply.  “I enjoy writing,” he might say, “so I’d like to become a journalist.”  Nowadays, it seems, it’s never too early to start thinking about future career choices. Many elementary schools weave “Career Week” and work-shadowing programs into their curricula to encourage kids to begin preparing, through academic study or applied skills, for life as an adult.

But the world is changing rapidly; thanks to automation, skills that are applicable and marketable today may be obsolete in the not-so-distant future.  This is especially true for occupations that don’t require higher-level education.  According to Business Insider, 25.8% of sewing-machine operators will be out of work by 2020, and as many as 31,000 American post-office positions will be replaced by computers and automated systems.  Florists, typists, and even computer programmers have also been identified as “endangered” professions.

So earning a degree at university appears to be the obvious course of action for tomorrow’s generation.  But what if you’re simply not “college material” in the traditional sense?  Even if you receive satisfactory grades in school, what if all you’ve ever wanted to do was to own a flower shop or become a surfing instructor?   After all, not everyone is cut out for working on Wall Street.   We don’t all want to become doctors, accountants, or lawyers.  And despite Business Insider’s prognosis, the world will continue to demand people with various hands-on skills.   Without such workers, who would grow our food crops, build our homes, or keep our cars running smoothly?

Fortunately, many accredited universities around the world have had the foresight to begin offering unorthodox and specialized courses for those people who are less academically inclined.    At the London Southbank University, for example, you can earn a degree in Baking Technology Management.  Students in this course not only learn how to bake the perfect baguette, but they also take modules in financial organization and business management.  Mississippi State University, meanwhile, offers a comprehensive four-year degree in Floral Management.  Students study all aspects of horticulture, as well as the design, purchasing, distributing, and marketing of floral arrangements.    And if surfing is what you’re into, then why not head to Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia?  Surfing culture and history classes, as well as fitness and environmental courses, all contribute to a recognized bachelor’s degree in Surf Science and Technology.

With more than 30,000 different undergraduate courses offered worldwide, ranging from Astronomy to Whiskey Distilling, you’re bound to find a program that you can be passionate about and enjoy.   Of course, you still have plenty of time to think about what you want to do when you finish your schooling.  But when it does come time for you to make a career choice, you might want to listen to the wisdom of Chinese philosopher Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”



Today’s questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE and based on FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and your understanding of key vocabulary words.

Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:


  • The answer is specifically stated as a detail in the text.

If the text reads, “John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina,” you might be asked where Gillespie was born or in which year was he born.


  • The answer may not be directly stated in the text, but can be understood or inferred from the details given. A direct hint may be given, from which you would have to work out the most logical answer (usually based on a MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE question).

For example, if the text describes a “hot and muggy afternoon,” you might be asked what season it is. If the text reads, “In 1872, an abandoned railroad track in the mountains of Pennsylvania became the first roller coaster ride in America,” you may be asked a question like:

“The railroad tracks …

  1. were made of poor quality steel.
  2. had not been used for a while.
  3. were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
  4. were too damaged to use.

You must use the hints given in the passage to work out the most likely answer.  In this case, the answer, based on “hot and muggy,” to the first question would be “summer,” and the answer to the second question would be B, with the hint being the word “abandoned.”


  • The answer is not directly stated in the text and you might have to read more deeply or “between the lines.”

You may be asked to describe a character’s feelings, reactions, or intentions.  For example, if the question is, “How do you know Joanna felt sad on the last day of school?” you would have to find evidence in the descriptive language the author uses.  Perhaps Joanna had tears on her cheeks, or she was walking with her head hanging low, or perhaps she had a frown on her face.

Listen to the question carefully and write your answer.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.




1. According to the passage, what is the most likely response from an average six-year-old boy who is asked what he wants to be when he grows up?

a) He would not have an answer to such a grown-up question.

b) He is most likely to say that he wants to do the same job as his father.

c) He is likely to say that he wants to become a professional athlete.

d) Most boys that age want to become firefighters or policemen when they grow up.


2. These days, why have many elementary schools added Career Week and work-shadowing programs in their curricula?

a) Such programs are included to add variety to a child’s education.

b) Career Week and work-shadowing programs try to get children to make a career of the more respected professions like medicine and the law.

c) Such programs teach children the importance of going to university and earning a degree.

d) Career Week and work-shadowing programs encourage children as young as ten to begin preparing for life as an adult.


3. Why will some skills that are applicable and marketable today become obsolete in the not-so-distant future?

a) The world is changing rapidly and certain skills will be replaced by automation.

b) Not enough people are interested in becoming sewing-machine operators.

c) Colleges and universities won’t have the budget to offer courses for certain skills.

d) Fewer people are interested in learning hands-on skills.


4. According to Business Insider, how many American post office workers will be out of work by 2020?

a) As much as 25.8% of the U.S. post office work force will be unemployed by 2020.

b) As many as 31,000 post office workers will be replaced by computers and automation.

c) None.  Without the post office, we would not receive mail or packages.

d) More than half of all post office-related jobs will be replaced by robots.


5. Of the examples given below, which profession is not mentioned as being on the list of endangered professions?

a) Bakers

b) Typists

c) Florists

d) Computer programmers


6. The unorthodox and specialized courses being offered at many universities these days are aimed at

a) people specifically interested in becoming professional florists.

b) people who haven’t made any career decisions.

c) people who would otherwise drop out of high school.

d) people who are less academically inclined and more interested in learning a skill.


7. Students in the Baking Management course at the London Southbank University will take modules in

a) distributing and marketing.

b) horticulture and baking.

c) financial organization and business management.

d) design and personnel management.


8. What university offers a course in Surf Science and Technology?

a) New South Wales University.

b) Mississippi State University.

c) Southern Cross University.

d) The University of Australia.


9. Approximately how many different undergraduate courses are currently offered worldwide?

a) Around 30,000.

b) The number of courses offered differs from country to country.

c) There are some 50,000 undergraduate courses available.

d) Not nearly as many as there should be to meet the demand.


10.  What did the Chinese philosopher Confucius mean when he said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life?”

a) He meant that as long as you are doing what you love, you will have plenty of time to rest.

b) He implied that as long as you are doing something that you love, work will not feel like work, but will be more like pure enjoyment.

c) He meant that if you don’t want to work too hard, you should do something you like doing.

d) He meant that if you do a job that you enjoy, you can retire early and not have to work at all.




Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. Answers to today’s listening comprehension questions will follow immediately after the closing jingle , so please stay tuned in. 

Listen to the Listening Comprehension Questions and Answers HERE.

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You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.






Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.

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But fast-forward five years and that same child will usually have a more PRAGMATIC reply.

PRAGMATIC is an adjective that means dealing with things realistically, and in a way that is based on common sense, experience, and evidence.  Realistic and practical are the nearest synonyms.

Despite being only ten, Peter is already PRAGMATIC when it comes to organizing his priorities and managing his time. 

Rather than letting my emotions influence me, I always try to offer my teenaged children PRAGMATIC advice.  

The new school principal, Mrs. Rivera, has a much more PRAGMATIC approach to education than her predecessor, which has earned her the respect of teachers, parents, and pupils. 

PRAGMATICALLY is the adverb form of PRAGMATIC.

After a devastating loss in the election, the defeated but dignified candidate responded PRAGMATICALLY and candidly to questions from the press.



Is teaching handwriting APPLICABLE in today’s society?


But the world is changing rapidly; thanks to automation, skills that are APPLICABLE and marketable today may be obsolete in the not-so-distant future.

The adjective APPLICABLE is derived from the verb APPLY, which, in one definition, means to be relevant to.   Look at these examples for clarification.

Please only answer the questions on the form that APPLY to you directly. 

What I said about reviewing pages 62 though 84 only APPLIES to those of you who scored 70% or lower on this week’s biology test. 

APPLICABLE means relevant to or appropriate for a particular situation.  Pertinent, fitting, and suitable are some near equivalents.

As more and more children are able to use computers from a very young age, some critics contend that teaching children handwriting is no longer APPLICABLE to today’s needs. 

When filling out a job application, make sure you fill in details about your past work experience where APPLICABLE. 

Gordon’s comments were not APPLICABLE to today’s discussion topic and should be disregarded. 



Surf Science and Technology: One of the UNORTHODOX courses offered at Southern Cross University


Fortunately, many accredited universities around the world have had the foresight to begin offering UNORTHODOX and specialized courses for those people who are less academically inclined.

Something that is UNORTHODOX is contrary to or goes against what is normal, traditional, or accepted.  Some synonyms include unconventional, offbeat, revolutionary, and novel.

Mr. Barry’s UNORTHODOX teaching style is popular among his pupils, but it has been criticized by parents and other teachers. 

Johnson’s singing style may be UNORTHODOX, but to fans of his music, he is nothing short of a genius. 

Some of the older church members feel that using social media to attract younger people to the church is UNORTHODOX and goes against God’s intended way of spreading his word. 

In contrast, ORTHODOX means following or conforming to the generally held beliefs of a religion, practice, or philosophy.  Synonyms for ORTHODOX include conventional, mainstream, and accepted.

While my younger sister Amelia is quite adventurous and daring, I prefer to maintain a more ORTHODOX lifestyle. 

American author Mark Twain was famous for his rebellion against ORTHODOX religion and the moral views of his time. 



Julliard’s: For the more artistically INCLINED.


Fortunately, many accredited universities around the world have had the foresight to begin offering unorthodox and specialized courses for those people who are less academically INCLINED.

In the sentence above, INCLINED is an adjective that means having a natural talent, ability, or preference to do something.  For this usage, INCLINED is used with an adverb such as academically, musically, or artistically.   Disposed and minded are some other words you can use in place of INCLINED.  Look at the following examples.

Hadley House Preparatory School’s curricula is geared towards pupils who are more musically or artistically INCLINED. 

Students who are less academically INCLINED often go to a vocational school or begin working straight after graduating from high school.  

INCLINED (when not paired with an adverb) generally means wanting to do or having the tendency to do something.  Liable, likely, and in the habit of are near synonyms.

Parents at the school would be more INCLINED to get involved in fund-raising activities if they knew for sure that the money raised was being spent specifically to benefit the children. 

During the course, there will be plenty of free time in the afternoons for walking or cycling, if you are so INCLINED.

As usual, Cody didn’t feel INCLINED to stay and help clear up after the party. I should have known. 

Be careful about what you say in front of Sylvia.  She’s INCLINED to gossip and spread rumors. 

The commonly used noun form, INCLINATION, means a characteristic disposition or tendency to do something or act in a particular way.  The nearest synonyms are propensity and bent.

It is most people’s natural INCLINATION to root for the underdog.

The prime minister’s INCLINATION to build up the military is causing great concern and friction in the region.



HIT for a COMPREHENSIVE full-body workout!


Mississippi State University, meanwhile, offers a COMPREHENSIVE four-year degree in Floral Management. 

COMPREHENSIVE is an adjective that means including or covering all or nearly all of the elements or aspects of something.   Synonyms include all-inclusive, complete, extensive, in-depth, and thorough.   COMPREHENSIVE can be used when talking about a wide range of topics, as you will see below.

High Intensity Training is a COMPREHENSIVE workout that helps tone all of the muscles in your body in just thirty minutes. 

If you purchase the COMPREHENSIVE wedding package, you can sit back and relax and let the wedding planner do all the work. 

The report Jenna submitted to the committee includes a COMPREHENSIVE list of all the money, materials, and labor needed to build a new outdoor classroom.

What insurance companies don’t tell you is that even if you have COMPREHENSIVE coverage, you will not be compensated for damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes. 

In British English, a COMPREHENSIVE school is a school that is designed for all levels of pupils.

Most of the children from the surrounding village schools will go to the COMPREHENSIVE school in the middle of town. 

In addition to being eligible to attend the COMPREHENSIVE school, children from this area have the option of going to a grammar school, if they do well on the 11+ exam.



Earning a RECOGNIZED degree.


Surfing culture and history classes, as well as fitness and environmental courses, all contribute to a RECOGNIZED bachelor’s degree in Surf Science and Technology.

When a degree is RECOGNIZED, as in the example above, it means that other educational and official institutions accept it as valid.  Here, RECOGNIZE means to acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of something.  It’s important to note that some university degrees are not RECOGNIZED by other institutions—especially those earned at colleges that are not properly licensed or authorized by a governing body.

Without a RECOGNIZED degree from an accredited university, you will not be considered for this position. 

Some but not all of the degrees offered at Open Universities are RECOGNIZED by the Department of Education.

English may be the most commonly spoken language in South Africa, but there are actually eleven officially RECOGNIZED languages for conducting meetings in Parliament. 

More generally, RECOGNIZE means to know (that is, be able to tell) who someone is or what something is because you have seen or heard him/her/it before.

At first, I didn’t RECOGNIZE Martin when I bumped into him yesterday.  When did he start growing a beard?

Hoping not to be RECOGNIZED by her fans, the popular actress always wears a wig and sunglasses when she goes out to public places with her family.

Apparently, newborn babies have a strong sense of smell that enables them to RECOGNIZE their mother by scent.

RECOGNIZE also means to be aware that something is true, valid, or official.  Acknowledge is the nearest synonyms.

It’s one thing to RECOGNIZE your faults; admitting them to others and working to overcome them is something else altogether.

Although Denmark claims to have territorial rights to the North Pole, Canada and Russia refuse to RECOGNIZE this claim. 

Smoking cigarettes was not RECOGNIZED as a health risk until 1957, when Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

Last Wednesday, the Vatican officially RECOGNIZED the state of Palestine in a new treaty.

Finally, RECOGNIZE means to give official thanks to someone for something he or she has done or achieved.

More than one thousand college-bound seniors in Louisville, Kentucky, were RECOGNIZED by the city’s mayor for their commitment to learning and higher education.

Elton John’s contributions to British music were RECOGNIZED with an award of a knighthood from the Queen.