Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2

S02 - 5 Health

February 26, 2021 Real Exam English Season 2 Episode 5
Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2
S02 - 5 Health
Show Notes Transcript

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

You will hear some quite deep, almost philosophical questions about healthcare and some really thought-provoking answers. We have a lot of super vocabulary today, from American English expressions to figurative language to replacing offensive words in a polite way. 

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Music: Wholesome by Kevin MacLeod

Thanks to all of the contributors, including Ian from the We Dig Music podcast, Arianwen from the In Mothering podast, Trisha from Conversations with a Random Nobody, Chris, Barbara, Ronny, Zoe, Ofordi, Karen, Keith, Mary, Emma and Ursula.

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Hello and welcome to Real Exam English. Today´s topic is health. If ever there was a trending topic, it was health. We have all been bombarded by news about viruses, immune systems, vaccines and so on. Today we are not going be talking about the pandemic, instead we have some quite deep, almost philosophical questions about healthcare and some really thought-provoking answers. We have a lot of super vocabulary today, from American English expressions to figurative language to replacing offensive words in a polite way.

So let´s crack on with the questions:


At what age do you think schools should start educating children about healthy living?

Right from the beginning. I would say I'm probably biased because I'm a nurse, but definitely I mean, even something simple as hand washing. You can see how that's a big deal right now and you can teach kids at a very early age, so I actually think even before school it should happen at home. But yea you can start educating people on health-related topics from the beginning, nutrition, everything.

Ok, a nice clear straightforward answer there to start off. One really useful word to pick up on here and that is biased. So the speaker said I´m probably biased because I´m a nurse. So biased is basically another way of saying prejudiced.  For instance, my daughter is the cutest kid in the world, but I´m a bit biased.

Do you think our attitudes to healthy living change as we get older?

I think so. I think Particularly in finding work life balance. There is a shifting ideology into what work and life is supposed to look like and as I get older that becomes more important to me as I make job decisions. So I think that yes, our our idea of what is healthy and What is kind of normal Changes as we get older, so for me. It includes things like I workout. I workout everyday right now, but I do it so that I can be Functionally strong so that I can take care of my kids, and if they want to play, we can play and roughhouse, etc. But I'm not trying to workout to get buff or get you know really swole or anything that's particularly you know aesthetically pleasing if that makes sense.

Do you think healthcare should be freely available for everyone?

I do and the reason that I feel that way is Uh I think that…….I crunched the numbers one time now, I would consider myself now…… This is going to be controversial coming from where I come from I consider myself Fairly conservative, but I recognize that in many ways we're already paying for health care to be free to everyone, but not everyone receives the benefit.

OK, some great vocab here. Firstly we had a really key expression which is the work life balance, which of course is the balance between your work life and your free time. This is a great expression to know as it can be used when answering many different questions, both speaking and writing. Then we had to play and roughhouse. So to roughhouse is American English and means to fight in a way that isn´t serious, so you could say the two brothers were roughhousing in the park. In British English you would call it horse play. Then we had two awesome American English word to describe someone with big muscles and they were buff and swole. So you could say the bodybuilders in that gym are all swole, it’s totally intimidating to go in there!

In the second answer we had this expression to crunch the numbers, that means to do the calculations, especially when there are large amounts of numbers. So, the shop owner crunched the numbers and decided it wouldn´t be worth investing in a new warehouse.


Do you think our attitudes to healthy living change as we get older?

They can do, I think they probably do. I think as we get older we feel the creaks in our bones and we can´t quite handle going out and partying all night and drinking ridiculously and there are various other bits and pieces. You know we don´t feel quite as full of vitality as we used to and I think you become more aware of your own body and your condition so if you feel that then you want to take better care of your health. When you are young you think you are invincible so you can do whatever you want and it doesn´t matter. That said, obviously you have plenty of health-conscious young people and you have people of all ages who aren´t very health-conscious. I think, y´know part of it is just people´s personalities really. Some people just don´t care.

We had some great figurative language here, it was that as we get older we feel the creaks in our bones, meaning we are aware of how we are getting older. So a creak is the noise wood makes when pressure is applied to it, like when you walk up an old wooden stairs for example. Now obviously your bones don´t actually creak when you get older, or shouldn´t anyway, so the meaning in our expression is different from the literal meaning of the words, which is what figurative language is, and it´s a super way to impress an examiner. Another example would be “they made a monkey out of her” which means they made her look like an idiot, not like a real physical monkey.  So think idioms, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, that kind of stuff, particularly if you are at a C2 level but also if you are looking for a good C1 mark.

do you think healthcare should be freely available to everyone?

of course I do. Why shouldn't someone be entitled to free health care? What possible reason could there be to not help someone that needed help. There's no possible Humane reason to refuse healthcare. No! you'll never convince me otherwise.

how far Do you agree that you have to spend a lot of money to stay fit and healthy.

I disagree disagree. Can you stay fit by leaving your house and walking? you can. Does leaving your house and walking cost any money? it does not like. Can you afford shoes? Yeah, cool. buying healthy food is marginally more expensive than buying fast food yes. It's not a lot of money.So that is. Yeah, you don't need to spend a lot of money to stay fit and healthy not at all. And I think you should. Stay fit and healthy. don't die. dying sucks. don't do it.

More wonderful advice from the Real Exam English podcast, don´t die, it sucks! Ok, so we had this word humane, which is human with an E on the end. This means to show kindness, care and sympathy towards others, you often hear it used when speaking about animals. For example, in the 21st century the way animals are transported has become much more humane.              


Modern medicine is making it possible for people to live longer. Do you think this is a good thing?

I think it is a good thing if the ability to live longer comes with other Accessibility issues like access to palliative care, access to places like retirement villages, which are kind of a step between sort of nursing homes where you really should kind of be a last resort and somewhere where you're supported but can have some independence.

While I'd like to think that I would love to live for very long age. I would only want to do that if you know, I had the money to look after myself and if I had people around who would be able to help me. so I think it's something that we should strive for but there's other things around  it that will make living longer much more tolerable and more possible.


Some people say that laughter is sometimes the best form of medicine, do you agree?


I think that's true up to a point. I'm someone who loves comedy, loves fun. I have a sense of humor and fun is very important in my life, I seek out whatever it might be funny books, Comedy specials things that make me laugh. And I've never been much of a perfectionist.

I think those attributes make me happier than a lot of people I know.

In the first answer we had some super vocab that can be used when talking about old age, we had retirement villages, nursing homes and palliative care and we also had this great expression to strive for something. This is an excellent one to know because it can be used in a lot of situations in an exam, I´m thinking writing in particular. So to strive for something means to work hard to do something, especially for a long time or against difficulties. So for example, if you are writing a proposal you could say something like “it is crucial that the students strive for the highest grades.”

The second question was Some people say that laughter is sometimes the best form of medicine, do you agree? The speaker said I think that´s true up to a point. This is a nice way of saying you partially agree, you need to know one or two of these expressions for the exam. So you can say I partially agree, I agree in part, that´s true up to a point or I agree with you to an extent. There´s a few of them but make sure you know and practice a couple of them to be able to show the examiner you can disagree politely.


do you think healthcare should be freely available to everyone.

Um, I do if you pay enough taxes. I think am,  I think it should be available to everyone. But I think in those countries taxes should cover a decent level of health care. And if there aren't enough taxes to cover a decent level of health care, then other arrangements need to be made within a society. I think that's the availability of Free healthcare….. in Ireland, you get free health care if you don't work. If you don't have a job if you Don't um if you rely on the State for benefits. But you do have to pay for it If you work, and pay taxes and have a job and so I don't think that's right, I think that It's hard to get it right. I think that there should be a high level of health care for a high level of taxes. arrangements should be made that are fair for people that don't work, fair on the rest of society I mean, not on the people who don't work, and on the people who don't work, but fair financially on the rest of society.

Modern Medicine is making it possible for people to live longer do you think this is a good thing?

Yes, but I think the limits have to be recognized. I think it's a good thing that we're Improving our health and living longer in that way. Extending your lifespan is a kind of a different issue, extending your lifespan when your quality of life May not be um, What is deemed a good quality of life to live with Isn't ethical. I think it's very individualized  area for every Condition and every person but definitely I think it's better that we are improving The health of the nation. And that we're getting results from it, so long as that quality of life is good quality of life that you end up with.

A nice phrasal verb there at the end, which was to end up with. If you end up with something that means you finish with something or someone. An example of this would be, after my classes with Trevor I ended up with top marks and after celebrating all night I ended up with a hangover! Also in that last sentence we had so long as the quality of life is good, which is the same as long as the quality of life is good. You can substitute as with so in some idiomatic expressions like in our example, as long as or so long as and you can also substitute as with so in negative comparatives. For instance, instead of my dog is not as big as yours you can say my dog is not so big as yours. Keep an eye out for this if you have to do Cambridge use of English tasks, it can come up in parts 2 and 4 particularly.


Do you think it's good for our health, to Take regular Holidays.

I yeah, I do agree with that because it gives you a time to kind of check out and just enjoy yourself take care of yourself have fun and then you know, even though you have to get back to the regularly scheduled program. Sometimes it's good to just take a break from things.

How far Do you agree that You have to spend a lot of money to stay fit and healthy.

Oh my gosh, absolutely not. Not Oh my gosh. I hate seeing all of those flat tummy teas and everything that people sell to help people lose weight and it's like I watch some documentaries about how food is processed, how food is farmed and everything And that changed my way of eating an my lifestyle And I didn't need any pills. I didn't need any equipment. I just needed this to, my mind to change an food to change and start moving more and that's it. I don't believe that you have to spend a lot to to get healthy or to get fit.

I completely agree! The second answer here starts with Oh my gosh. So Oh my gosh is a more acceptable way of saying Oh my god, which some people might not want to say because they see it as blasphemous, or rude. This practice of replacing an offensive or taboo word with a misspelt or mispronounced word is common in many languages, like in Spanish you would replace joder with jolin or jope. Other examples in English are jeez or jeepers instead of Jesus, instead of fuck feck or flip, and instead of shit shoot or shucks. Now obviously you shouldn’t be using any of these in an English exam, but you´ll hear them all the time in real life so they are good to know. 


Jeez, that´s time already guys. Hope you enjoyed today´s episode, we covered a lot of different stuff. As well as thinking about how you would answer the questions you heard today make sure you have some vocabulary about Covid too, things like lockdown, quarantine, facemasks, curfew, etc. It´s so ubiquitous that this is vocab that may be useful in many different speaking questions and writing questions too. You should also ensure that you practice partially agreeing and figurative language. We gotta strive for top marks in our English exam right! Ok guys, I´m gonna get the flip outta here. All the best! Trevor