Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 123 | Discussion Point | Expanse – Cairo’s Overpopulation Problem

We have some wonderful discussion points and an audio about Cairo potentially getting a new capital. Here are some discussion questions and questions to discuss after listening to the podcast down below.

  • Do you think building the new city will solve the problem of overpopulation in Cairo? Why/why not?
  • What impact do you think moving the administrative and financial centers will have on both the new city and the city of Cairo? Why?
  • Do you think citizens will see the new city as an attractive place to move to? Why or why not?



Key words such as nouns and main verbs are usually stressed in English. In direct question with a question word, this question word is stressed, along with other key words. Yes / no questions tend to use rising intonation at the end to show it as a question.

What did you buy? Did it cost a lot?

Polite indirect questions tend to be longer and have reduced stressed on the question heads. Weak forms of the words link together and sounds are left out.

Could you tell me how you decided?

Listen for the key words within the reduced forms of these longer questions.

  1. Listen and read the questions. Identify the key stressed words.
  1. Can you tell me if you bought anything unplanned?
  2. I wonder if I could ask you a few questions?
  3. Can you tell me why you decided to come shopping today?
  4. Can you tell us how these biases can be avoided?
  5. To follow up on that, would you mind telling me how much money you spent on this trip?
  6. So on the basis of what you just said, if i understood correctly, you don’t have a specific budget when you go out shopping….is that right?
  7. Could you please explain what choices you made in terms of actual stores, and what were the determining factors in those choices….


TOEFL iTP | Listening | Part A | Finding the Main Idea of Q & A

Woohoo! We’re back with some TOEFL iTP listening! It’s been a very long time since I’ve done this, but now that I’ve figured stuff out on zoom and how to record audios without interruption, I wanted to give you guys a Main Idea and Subject talk break down for once. In this episode (video and podcast down below), you’re going to hear me break down five questions and how to find the answers. So, if you guys have any questions, let me know. Here are the questions and you’ll have to listen/watch down below for the breakdowns. Enjoy!

1. A) Carla does not live very far away.

B) What Carla said was unjust.

C) He does not fear what anyone says.

D) Carla is fairly rude to others.

2. A) She thinks it’s an improvement.

B) The fir trees in it are better.

C) It resembles the last one.

D) It is the best the man has ever done.

3. A) He graduated last in his class.

B) He is the last person in his family to graduate.

C) He doesn’t believe he can improve gradually.

D) He has finally finished his studies.

4. A) He thought the dress was so chic.

B) He was surprised the dress was not expensive.

C) He would like to know what color dress it was.

D) The dress was not cheap.

5. A) Leave the car somewhere else.

B) Ignore the parking tickets.

C) Add more money to the meter.

D) Pay the parking attendant.



Welcome back to the TOEIC blog, everyone! This is a recap of everything I talked about in my last podcast/video (down below). So let’s dive into some small snips.

1. Offers

Offers start with the would, could, can, may, or do you need.

  • Would you like some help?
  • Do you need anything from the store?
  • May I leave early?

2. Requests

These somewhat fall under the same modals, but the sentence structures are slightly different.

  • Could you tell me how to get to….
  • Would mind if I borrow your pen?
  • Could I borrow your phone to make a call?

3. Opinions

These are loaded with question words, so you need to listen with intent by hearing what’s being asked and listening for the closest answer.

  1. How was his presentation?
  • I don’t think we’ll find a lower one.
  • Good. He really is an amusing speaker.

Test Tactics/Tips

  • Social interaction, including offers, requests and opinions, is a common feature of Part 2.
  • Common distractors from this section include use of the same word/similar sounds or incorrect meaning.
  • Repeat each question and answer choice silently after you hear it. This will help you to remember and compare the meaning.

Listen for more in the podcast down below!

TOEIC Listening



To strengthen an argument, it is necessary to add support from alternative sources. These will typically be quotations from experts or research into the topic. Finding multiple sources of studies to support the same main argument further strengthens the argument. For example; Various studies have also found a correlation between intelligence and crime. Moffitt et al. found that men with a lower IQ went on to commit two or more crimes by the age of twenty. Denno (1994) also tested the intelligence of nearly 1,000 children at different points in their life and found a consistent negative correlation between IQ and criminal behavior.

There is not a strong correlation between low levels of intelligence and crime. In fact, many types of crime require significantly high levels of intelligence in order to commit the crime.

  1. Why is this not a particularly strong argument?
  2. What evidence would strengthen their argument?


ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 118 | Vocabulary Development | Consequence phrases

Here’s a short blog/podcast on consequence phrases that could improve your writing and switch up the phrases you use.

Match the causes (1-8) with their effects (a-h)

  1. As a consequence of their upbringing children with ____
  2. Teenager behavior may be influence by ____
  3. Poor academic performance may result in ____
  4. The desire to gain the approval of their peers may prompt ___
  5. Risk-taking can trigger ___
  6. the onset of adolescence may bring about ____
  7. Criminal tendencies stem from ____
  8. Sleep deprivation can exert a direct influence on ____

a. low self-esteem and a propensity toward criminality.

b. teenagers to behave in a delinquent manner.

c. criminal parents are more likely to display criminal tendencies.

d. a combination of genetics and social environment.

e. a hard-wired desire to seek out risk.

f. teenage emotions and behavior.

g. an increase in delinquent behavior.

h. a rush of dopamine in the adolescent brain.

Choose the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences.

  1. Labelling someone a criminal can trigger / may result from increased propensity for crime.
  2. Criminal behavior may be influenced by / exert a direct influence on levels of intelligence.
  3. Teenage delinquency may prompt / result from a desire to seek out reward.
  4. Many claim that criminal tendencies trigger / stem from a disruptive upbringing.
  5. Better understanding of teenage brain development may prompt / result from changes in the judicial system.
  6. The onset of adolescence stems from / brings about dramatic changes in the teenage brain.


ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 126 | Discussion point | Terra-forming & Life On mars

Oh, the TOEFL readings in regards to life on Mars has been on my conscious, and it was another expanse that made me act this into a lesson, along with a video, questions, and an infographic to explain space travel. Fascinating topic for many out there. Let’s dive in! Before you listen to the podcast and audio within it, here are some questions to ponder.

  • What would you do if you were asked to go to Mars?
  • What do you think you would miss most while on the mission?
  • Describe the longest period of time you have spent away from friends and family.
  • Do you feel the money spent on space exploration could be better spent on improving conditions on Earth?


ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 117 | Reading/Listening | Is Your brain Ready Yet?

Welcome to another reading/listening! Today we’re going to be activating prior knowledge, and the task for you is to write down three stereotypes about teenagers and how they behave. Remember, STEREOTYPES. Share away! And in saying that, the rest of the questions are either on the blog (or down below).

Identifying Main Ideas

Listen to Is your brain ready yet? Complete the article with the headings (a-f)

a. Impulse control under pressure

b. Peak performance and rapid decline

c. Questioning the stereotype

d. Synaptic pruning in the adolescent brain

e. A call for delayed decision-making

f. Hormones, risk, and reward


ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 115 | Listening | Lecture on memory, questions & the mind

Here are some close listening techniques on how to follow abstract argumentation, as well as listening for main ideas. Nonetheless, you’re going to practice and number the main points (on my blog if you’re reading this elsewhere) in order.

The lecturer….

____ compares two different ideas introduced previous.

____describes a question type that gives the answer.

____examines a question type that introduces new emotions.

____explains the choice of lecture focus.

____identifies a question type that suggests too much.

____introduces two issues to be discussed.

____justifies the argument against the mind bucket comparison.

____presents an argument against questionnaires.

____provides a conclusion combining the two issues.

____supports an argument with evidence from research

Arguments: are often presented in stages. Recognizing these stages helps the listener to follow and understand the line of reasoning and evaluate the conclusion reached by the speaker.

Assumptions: the speaker presents the premise of the argument, making one or more statements. The speaker may identify these explicitly as the argument.

Reasoning: evidence is provided to support or refute the argument. The speaker can include reasoning for both sides, showing consideration has been given to more than one perspective. this often strengthens the eventual conclusion.

Conclusion: Having given the argument, and possibly summarized it, the speaker indicates his or her position.

Implicit assumptions are common in day-to-day life. In these cases, speakers, deliberately or not, include points they assume the audience believes, and provide no reasoning for these. Recognize these assumptions.


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Business English Podcast | Episode 003 | Anytime, Anywhere: Mobile Phone Etiquette

Have you taken a moment and looked around on a train and wondered why that one particular person was having a full conversation on the phone while everyone else was listening in on it?

When it comes to mobile phone etiquette, people lack it in so many different ways. I understand, having a student who runs multiple businesses is difficult because she would have to pick up the phone maybe 5 times per outing. However, there are times when you’re at the gym, restaurant, supermarket, crowded public areas, and CINEMAS — when you SHOULDN’T pick up the phone!

In today’s Business English podcast, that’s what we’ll be discussing. You will also take a test and see where your etiquette skills are.

Tune in down below in the link!