I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying new or used books for school? Do you pay for your own books or do your parents pay for them? Do you pay cash or do you buy them using a credit card?

HELPFUL TIP: Students can often save a lot of money by buying used textbooks instead of new ones. Ask a fellow student if they have the book you need, or you can sometimes buy the book online.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. The man is selling his science book, Today’s World for ___________.

A. $13

B. $30

C. $33
2. Why is the woman surprised by the price of the science book?

A. She thinks that the book is in pretty bad condition.

B. She feels that she can find the book cheaper on the Internet.

C. She says that the textbook is an old copy.

3. Which book does the woman NOT buy?

A. an English writing textbook

B. a math textbook

C. a novel

4. The man’s textbook on marriage is called, Finding the Perfect _____________.

A. Friend

B. Partner

C. Someone

5. Why does the man want to study cooking?

A. He wants to learn to cook because he lives on his own.

B. He wants to major in hotel management in the future.

C. He has a friend who’s taking the same class.

Score =
Correct answers:

Carl: Hey, Sis. Are you interested in buying some used books for school? You can really save some money that way.
Ashley: Well, what do you have?

Carl: Well, let’s see. I have a science book called, Today’s World, and I’m selling it for thirty dollars.

Ashley: Thirty? That’s a little expensive for a beat-up book like that.

Carl: Maybe so, but I bought it for sixty. Plus, I wrote a lot of notes in the book that should help you with the class . . . if you could read my writing.

Ashley: What else are you selling?

Carl: Okay, I have English writing textbook for fourteen dollars, a math book for twenty-three, and a novel for only seven bucks.

Ashley: Uh, Hmmm.

Carl: It’s up to you. You know, these things go fast. I mean you have to listen to my advice as your older brother.

Ashley: Psh. I’ll take the English book and the novel. I need both of those for sure. I think I’ll hold off on buying other books for now. [Okay.] Teachers are always changing their minds about textbooks. [Alright.] And, what are those books?

Carl: Which ones? Ah, ah, nothing. Never mind.

Ashley: Wait, wait, wait. Finding Your Perfect Someone. You’re selling it for forty dollars? What’s, what’s this all about? And the price?

Carl: Well. You . . It’s a . . . It’s just a marital relations class. You know about finding a partner. You know, mom’s always, you know, on me about that. What does it matter to you anyway?

Ashley: Forty dollars? That’s a little expense.

Carl: Well, they guarantee results, but ah, never mind. You would never understand.

Ashley: What about this one? Introduction to Gourmet Cooking? Why did you take this class? You hate cooking.

Carl: Well, um, I have a friend who’s into cooking, and she’s [She?] . . . I mean, my friend’s taking the class. I mean, ugh, does it really matter?

Ashley: A marriage class . . . a close female friend . . . a cooking textbook . . . I think I get the picture. Mom’s going to be excited about this.

Carl: Ah, you got it all wrong. So, do you want to buy any of these textbooks or not?

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • sis (noun): informal for sister
    – Hey, sis. Do you want a ride to school today?
  • beat-up (adjective): in bad condition
    – I don’t care if the book is all beat-up as long as it is cheap.
  • buck (noun): informal for dollar
    – You can save a few bucks if you buy used books from friends or online.
  • hmmm: a sound that people make when they are thinking about what to say
    Hmmm. That’s a difficult question. Let me think about it.
  • psh: expression of lack of respect
    – Did she really say that she studies really hard? Psh. She’s always skipping class, so there’s no way she is doing well in school.
  • hold off on (phrasal verb): wait
    – My daughter decided to hold off on attending college this semester.
  • never mind: don’t worry about something
    – Well, never mind. I think I’ll buy the book online instead. Thanks for offering to sell me your book.
  • be on someone (phrasal verb): complain about someone or something that a person does
    – His wife is always on him for spending so much money on textbooks and then not attending classes regularly.
  • be into something (phrasal verb): be interested in something
    – My brother is really into swimming. He goes to the pool everyday.
  • ugh: expression of dislike or disgust
    Ugh. I can’t believe you didn’t pass that class even though you spent so much money on books and tuition. I guess that’s your fault because you never went to class much.
  • get the picture (idiom): understand
    – Kathy says she doesn’t want to go out with me, but I think I get the picture now. She’s just not interested in me.