Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2


October 14, 2022 Real Exam English
Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2
Show Notes Transcript

Native English speakers answer questions about happiness from previous B2, C1, C2 and IELTS  exam papers.

In this bonus episode, we hear speakers from the USA, England, Australia and New Zealand answering questions about happiness.

For classes or transcripts go to

Music: Wholesome by Kevin MacLeod

Thanks to all of the contributors, including Ian from the We Dig Music podcast, Konner from The Blunt Report podcast(, Rosemary, David, Mary Alice, Ofordi and Ursula.

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Hello and welcome to Real Exam English. This is a bonus episode is about happiness. Yeay, everyone wants to be happy right. Well in this episode we have speakers from Australia, England, the USA and New Zealand, all answering questions about what makes them happy. As usual we will zone in on some of the impressive language that they use expressions and you can find the transcript over on the website, 


Ok, here we go:


Will the things that are important to you now still be important to you when you are older?

I hope that it will change at least a little bit, but I hope that's the major base of things that are important to me now are still important to me in the future. And some examples of that is, you know, health and looking after myself and fitness is super important to me now. And as we know, there are a lot of people who get older and that sort of falls by the wayside and is less important, and I'm worried. I'm certainly concerned that that is going to happen to me too when I don't want it to but opposite to that, I hope the certain things change. I hope that I discover more about myself and I discover more about what I enjoy and what is important to me and those around me and I hope my interests and the things that are important evolve as I evolve as well.

And the question is, there's a saying that school days are the happiest days of your life. What do you think?

This question of all the questions spoke to me probably the most because I absolutely hated school so much with a passion, and I think this is absolute nonsense. The period of time that I spent teaching English in Korea. I felt so sorry for the students because they have to study so much. And this just shows that this is kind of nonsense. 'cause I felt really sorry for them, and I kept telling a lot of the students. Don't worry, school is not forever. School days were some of the worst days I have ever had working. Going to university is way better because you can choose what you want to do. You're an adult. Nobody cares, really. If you pass or fail, you're on your own. Things like this are much better, so saying at school is the best where you're under this period of control and you're doing things you have you hate, but you have to. It's definitely, definitely not true.


A couple of great answers from Australia there and we had a couple of great expressions too. The first one was that peoples fitness falls by the wayside as they get older. If something falls by the wayside, then people stop doing it, or making it or using it. Like, wearing facemasks has fallen by the wayside, hardly anyone does it anymore. Or the use of ipods has fallen by the wayside as most people have smartphones these days. 

In the second answer he said he hated school with a passion. If you hate something with a passion, then you really hate it. Like, I hate use of English part 4, with a passion. Note that there is usually a pause before you say “with a passion”, like I hate opera music, with a passion. 


Will the things that are important to you now still be important to you when you are older?

Yeah, 'cause music has been important to me for like almost 30 years and I imagine it will continue to be in like important to me. My wife is super important to me. I can't imagine she will become unimportant to me at any point in time. Yeah, these you know. I mean, there's not much. Yeah, these are the things that are most important to me. Friends, Yep. Super important. I don't think I'm gonna become some kind of weird hermit that never listens to music, so yeah. All of these things will remain important.

What do you think people could do to make the world a happier place? 

Think about other people when you do things. That is it like. When you do something here, like if someone did this to me, would that fuck me off? Would that annoy me? Yes. And if the answer is yes. Don't fucking do it. That's the key, right, just. Think about how you impact the world and if you come back with the conclusion that you're going to impact the world in a negative way. Don't fucking do it.

Ok so in the first answer here the speaker says that his wife is super important to him, meaning of course that she is really or very important. This use of super, to intensify an adjective, has become much more common in recent times. When I was a kid back in 1980s Ireland we didn´t use super in this way at all, like super nice or super important, and amazingly saying that you are super into something was only first used in 2009, but is really common these days, or super common even, to use the parlance of today. So, I guess the point here is that English, like all languages, is constantly evolving. Therefore, it´s important to keep listening and reading and watching, so that you can stay super up to date with all of the new developments.


And speaking of intensifiers, in the second answer the speaker said “don´t fucking do it”, now of course he could simply have said don´t do it, but by using fucking here he makes it more emphatic. He also had a phrasal verb to fuck off, meaning to annoy. Like, it really fucks me off when someone parks in my parking space, or you can use it as an adjective too, I was really fucked off when someone stole my bicycle.  Obviously, this is not for use in an exam situation, you should avoid using any profanities in an exam, but it is useful to know in case you are watching any TV series or happen to be speaking to another potty-mouth, similar to our guest!


Just a reminder that if you are interested in taking classes to study English I have some great groups open for B2, C1 and C2 levels, we have a lot of fun and you learn a lot too of course. Check out for details, or gimme a shout if you have any questions, I´ll be happy to respond!


In what ways do you think people’s lives are happier now than fifty years ago?

What….. do I think we need to look….I don't know, I don't. I don't really know if I agree with that, but I think of in what ways are pockets of people happier now than they were 50 years ago? And so I think of legions of women who are happier because they could pursue university studies that maybe they couldn't before pursue degrees or determine that they don't want to be parents and that they feel you know more fulfilled. So in terms of fulfillment and happiness, I think that that's……There's certain aspects of that.

Two really interesting and opposite ways to talk about groups of people here. Firstly, we heard that there are pockets of people happier now, pockets here meaning isolated groups or areas, like pockets of German immigrants can still be found around Argentina. Then after that we heard legions of women are happier today, legions meaning huge numbers of people or things. An example would be, when the team won the match legions of supporters celebrated in the town square. Two super bits of vocab there!


What has been the happiest time in your life?

The happiest time in my life has been actually living abroad and working as an English teacher. So helping young people people to improve their future by teaching them a language that they really need.

Some people say that an easy life is a happy life. Do you agree?

Uh, no, I don't agree. I've been happier working and getting to know people and enjoying different cultures and you know different people from around the world. So no, I wouldn't say an easy life is necessarily a happy, not happy life. Maybe later in life, but there's nothing wrong with working.

Ok so here the speaker say she is happy getting to know people. This means she started to find out what the people are like by spending time with them and this is something I hear people making mistakes with quite a lot actually, they might say something like I knew my girlfriend in university or it took me a while to know the city. So, if you are talking about the process of becoming familiar with a person or place use get to know. I´m getting to know my new classmates in university, we got to know our neighbours pretty quickly, he’s quite hard to get to know as he is so shy and reserved.

In what ways do you think peoples lives are happier now than fifty years ago?

That's quite a difficult one. In what ways are they happier now? I mean, I suppose if you exclude the pandemic, Uhm, because you know that's kind of made a lot of people unhappy for various reasons. Uhm, I think people are able to generally are able to travel more so they're able to see their families more if they want to experience new things, learn about stuff, uhm. They can, they can meet you, you know, I think society generally is a lot more diverse than it has been and was 50 years ago in terms of attitudes, but also in terms of sort of you know the groups of people that are around and that you can mingle with and you can learn from there’s lots of technology, reading, all kinds of arts and cultures, so there's various different sort of aspects towards society that's made it kind of easier to do things.


Do you like stories with happy endings?

To be honest, it depends on the story. I think I mean I find that they can be great, but I can also I also find that sometimes they're quite formulaic and then for me that becomes quite annoying. I think you know some stories are better suited to a not happy ending, because life isn't always happy and not everybody gets that kind of, you know, dream job or romance or you know happy ending that they're looking for so I think it kind of depends on the genre of the story, really.


In the first answer we had this verb to mingle, which means to mix with other people. You´ll often hear this at a party or maybe a work conference, where you can go and mingle with the other guests. In the second answer then we heard that happy endings in movies can be quite formulaic meaning they follow a particular pattern, or formula. It´s a little bit tricky to pronounce but also fun if you can manage it, formulaic. An example sentence would be English classes with Trevor are far from formulaic, they are dynamic and go with the flow. 


Ok then, so speaking of going, that´s about it for today, hope you are happy with that lesson and not too fucked off. Haha, ok then till next time take it easy