2002 TEM4 Oral English Test Paper 

Task I: Listen to the recorded passage twice and then retell it.

Whenever Mr. Smith goes to Westgate, he stays at the Grand Hotel. In spite of its name, it is really not very "grand," but it is cheap, clean, and comfortable. Since he knows the manager well, he never has to go to the trouble of reserving a room. The fact is that he always gets the same room. It is situated at the far end of the building and overlooks a beautiful bay.

On his last visit, Mr. Smith was told that he could have his usual room, but the manager added apologetically that it might be a little noisy. So great was the demand for rooms, the manager said, that the hotel had decided to build a new wing. Mr. Smith said he did not mind. It amused him to think that the dear old Grand Hotel was making an effort to live up to its name.

During the first day Mr. Smith hardly noticed the noise at all. The room was a little dusty, but that was natural. The following afternoon, he borrowed a book from the hotel library and went upstairs to read. No sooner had he sat down than he heard someone hammering loudly at the wall. At first he paid no attention, but after a while he began to feel very uncomfortable. His clothes were slowly being covered with fine white powder. Soon there was so much dust in the room that he began to cough. The hammering was now louder than ever and bits of plaster were coming away from the walls. It looked as though the whole building was going to fall. Mr. Smith went immediately to complain to the manager. They both returned to the room, but everything was very quiet. As they stood there looking at each other, Mr. Smith felt rather embarrassed for having dragged the manager all the way up the stairs for nothing. All of a sudden, the hammering began again and a large brick landed on the floor. Looking up, they saw a sharp metal tool had forced its way through the wall, making a very large hole right above the bed! (355 words)

Task II: Talk based on a given topic.

Describe an embarrassing situation in which you got very angry.

Task III: Carry out a conversation with your partner based on a given situation.

The geology department of a major university is planning to admit 30 male and 5 female students. However, the results of the college entrance examination show that by average, of all the applicants, females have scored higher than most males. Should the department stick to its original plan?

Student A: You think the department should still stick to the original plan, and you should try to convince your partner. Remember you should start the conversation.

Student B: You DON'T think the department should stick to the original plan, and you should try to convince your partner. Remember your partner will start the conversation.


Task 1 Retell a story

You will listen to the story twice, and after that you should retell the story immediately within three minutes


A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty glass jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2 inches in diameter. He then asked the students if it was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, the pebbles of course rolled into the open spaces between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed: ‘Yes, it was.’ The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up all the remaining space. ‘Now,’ said the professor, ‘I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things, your family, your partner, your health, your children, anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you will be destroyed. The pebbles are the other things in life that matter but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else, the small staff. If you put the sand and pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. It you spent all your energy and time on the small staff or material things; you will never have room for the things that are truly most important. Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life, play with your children, take your partner out dancing, talk with your parents. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks fist, the things that are really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand. They will take care of themselves. ’ (331 words)


Task 2  Talk based on the given topic.

You will have three minutes to prepare and three minutes to talk on the given topic.

Topic: Describe a lesson you learned that has enriched your life experience.


Task 3 Carry out a conversation with your partner based on the given situation.

You will be given a sheet which contains a specific situation and a specified role you are expected to play. Read the sheet carefully. You will have 3 minutes fro preparation.

(3 minutes)

Now begin your conversation. The time limit is 4 minutes


Student A: You think that university students should have PE (Physical Training)class, which helps them in many ways, such as develop good character…etc.

Student B: You argue that PE (Physical Training)class should Not be compulsory to university students.

         2003 TEM4 Oral English Test Paper


Task I: Listen to the recorded passage twice and then retell it.

Just as Jane was joyfully expecting her first child, her active, energetic mother began losing her battle with a brain disease. For ten years, the fiercely independent and courageous mother had fought, but none of the surgeries or treatments had been successful. At only fifty-five, she became totally disabled-unable to speak, walk, eat or dress on her own.

As the mother grew closer and closer to death, the baby grew closer and closer to life. Jane was afraid that her mother and her baby would never know each other. Her fear seemed well-founded. A few weeks before her due date, her mother lapsed into a deep coma. The doctors did not hold any hope. It was useless to put in a feeding tube, they said, for Mother would never awaken. So Jane brought Mother to her own bed in her own house. As often as she could, she sat beside her mother, talking about the baby moving inside her.

On February 3, 1989, at about the same time Jane began to feel birth pains, Mother opened her eyes. Jane called home.

"Mom, listen. My baby is coming! You're going to have a new grandchild. Do you understand?"

"Yes," Mother answered.

What a wonderful word! The first clear word she'd spoken in months.

By the time Jane brought her son home, her mother was sitting in her chair, dressed and ready to welcome the baby. For two weeks, Mother clucked, smiled and held the new-born baby. Then she quietly became unconscious and, after visits from all her children, was finally free of the pain.

For Jane, memories of her son's birth will always be bittersweet, but it was at this time that she learned an important truth about living. While both joy and sorrow pass quickly, and often come together at the same time, love has the power to overcome both. And love can last forever. (317 words)

Task II: Talk based on a given topic.

Tell a story that illustrates the need for love.

Task III: Carry out a conversation with your partner based on a given situation.

Student A: You will be traveling later this week and you are wondering about the advantages and safety of flying. Recent news reports of air crashes have made you nervous and you cannot decide if it is safe to travel by airplane. You turn to your friend for advice about whether you should go by air or by train. He/She tried to persuade you to take a flight by listing some advantages. Eventually, you refuse to accept his/her opinion and make your own decision.

Student B: One of your friends is taking a trip later this week and he/she is undecided about whether to travel by air or by train. Not knowing what to do, your friend comes to you for advice. You try to persuade your friend to take a flight in spite of reports of air crashes. Eventually, you fail to convince him/her and your friend buys a train ticket instead.

                 2004 TEM4 Oral English Test Paper

Task I: Retell a story
    When she was 22 years old Pat Jones decided that she wanted to travel around the world and see as many foreign places as she could while she was young. When she finished college at home in Britain Pat chose to visit Latin America first, so she managed to get a job as an English teacher in a secondary school in Bolivia. Pat spoke a little Spanish, so she was able to communicate with her students even though they did not know much English.
    A sentence she had once read somewhere stuck in her mind: if you dream in a foreign language, it means that you have really mastered it. Pat repeated this sentence to her students and she hoped that someday she would dream in Spanish and they would dream in English.
    One day Tim, one of the worst students in her class, came up to her and explained in Spanish that he had not done his homework. He said that he had gone to bed early and had slept badly. Pat was quite angry with him, for she did not think that his explanation had anything to do with his homework. But Tim told her that he dreamed all night and his dream was in English.
    "In English!" Pat thought. She was greatly surprised, since Tim was such a bad student. She was also secretly jealous. Her dreams were still not in Spanish, but she decided to encourage her student and asked him to tell her about his dream.
    "All the people in my dream spoke English," Tim said. "And all the signs were in English. All the newspapers and magazines and all the TV programs were in English."
    "But that's wonderful," said Pat. "What did all the people say to you?" she asked.
    "I'm sorry, Miss Jones. That's why I slept so badly all through the night. I didn't understand a word they said. It was a nightmare!" Tim answered. (324 words)

Task II: Talk based on a given topic

Describe one of the most unpleasant dreams you've ever had.

Task III: Role-play

Student A: Nowadays higher education is getting more and more expensive. To quite a number of families it has become a big financial burden. You try to discuss this problem with student B. You think that parents should pay tuition for their children since college students do not yet have any regular income.
Student B: Nowadays higher education is getting more and more expensive. To quite a number of families, it has become a big financial burden. You try to discuss this problem with student A Your opinion is that it is unfair to put this big burden on parents since college students are already adults. Students themselves should find ways to pay their own tuitions