English Reading Exercises for A2 – The worst jobs in the world?

1. Complete the collocations in the sentences. Use the words below.

an advertisement      an application      the day      a degree

a job      a job      the job      a team

1) brother has left school and is looking for ________ . He’s like to work in a hotel.

2) I noticed ________ for an interesting job in the newspaper.

3) I sent in ________ for a holiday job at a fast-food restaurant.

4) They offered mum ________ in a department store, but she decided not to take it.

5) sister joined ________ of programmers who work on video games.

6) brother has ________ in engineering from Cambridge University.

7) During the summer holidays I worked at a theme park and had ________ of selling ice cream.

8) Joe took ________ off work so that he could visit his mum, who is ill.

Show answers

1) a job   2) an advertisement   3) an application

4) a job   5) a team   6) a degree   7) the job   8) the day

2. Look quickly at texts A-C. Match each text with the correct photo (1-3).



Jeff Haslam spends a lot of his time underground. He works in London’s sewers – the tunnels under the roads that carry away waste water ___ and other, much dirtier things! His job is to keep the sewers clear. ‘We work in teams of six,’ says Jeff. ‘It’s very dirty work. And of course we work in the dark.’ He has to wear special clothes, a mask and a helmet with a light. ‘The most difficult thing is clearing the fat and oil from the sewers under the Chinese and Indian restaurants,’ he says. ‘Last month we removed 1,000 tonnes of fat!’


Many people like to work outdoors, but few would like Charlie Radley’s job. Charlie lives in Alaska and works on a fishing boat. Each fishing trip lasts about a week. ‘It’s extremely cold and often stor,’ says Charlie, ‘so we wear warm, waterproof clothes.’ Charlie can earn a lot of money if they catch a lot of fish, but if they don’t, he earns very little. ‘I’ll do this job for a year or two more,’ says Charlie, ‘then I’m going to look for another job – something warmer and drier!’


Sandy Smith is a lumberjack – somebody who cuts down trees. Sandy noticed an advertisement for lumberjacks on the internet. Lumberjacks work long hours and are not very well paid, but as Sandy likes to work outdoors, she decided to apply for the job. ‘It’s a very dangerous job,’ says Sandy. ‘We work with big, dangerous machines, and we’re always a long way from the nearest hospital – so I’m always very careful!’


Show answers

1) A   2) C   3) B

Reading Strategy

When you complete gap-fill sentences about a text, the words you need to write are in the text. However, the words immediately before of after the gap may be different. Think carefully about the meaning and look for synonyms and paraphrases.

3. Read the Reading Strategy. Then complete the sentences with information from the text.

1) Jeff Haslam’s job is to keep the ____________ clear in London. (1 word)

2) Jeff has a ____________ on his helmet because he works in the dark. (1 word)

3) Charlie Radley spends a week at a time on his ____________ (2 words)

4) Charlie wants to get a different ____________ in the next year or two. (1 word)

5) Sandy Smith first found out about her job on ____________ (2 words)

6) Lumberjacks have to work ____________ but do not earn a lot of money. (2 words)

Show answers

1) A   2) B   3) B, C   4) A, B   5) C

Extra exercises


Sometimes you need to match questions with paragraphs in a reading text. Read each paragraph quickly before you look at the options and try to think what question the paragraph is answering. Then look at the options to see if your idea is there.

1. Read the Strategy. Then read the paragraph below and think of a question that it might answer.

Although four out of five wildfires are caused by people, nature also plays a part. Dry weather, hot temperatures and strong winds combine. Then all you need is a spark in the form of lightning, a broken power line, or a burning campfire. The fire can then last for weeks and spread across thousands of kilometres of land.

Show answers

(Possible answer) How do wildfires start?

2. Read the text and match the interview questions A-F with paragraphs 1-4. There are two extra questions.

a What is the most dangerous part of being a firefighter?

b What is the most important personal quality for a firefighter?

c How physically fit do you have to be?

d How did you become a firefighter?

e Why did you decide to become a firefighter?

f What other skills do you need?

1) ____ __

I’m Jack Gomez, and I’m a firefighter in California. I remember watching an interview with a firefighter pilot when I was a child. He’d been fighting a fire for about five days. He was exhausted, but he was still there, talking about how many lives were being saved. He was so optimistic and committed that I thought that I wanted to do the same thing. And I never changed mind.

2) ____ __

I did a training camp to get wildfire qualification card – you can’t fight fires in the US without one. I learned how to fight controlled fires, and how to put them out again. I also learned how to use all the equipment. The camp was really hard, but I passed first time – which was a big relief to me! After that I applied for a job, and I was lucky enough to get one.

3) ____ __

One of the things you have to do in the early days is the pack test. This consists of a five-kilometre walk while carrying a backpack that weights twenty kilograms. You must be able to complete it in forty-five minutes or less without jogging or running. This shows how strong you are. If you can’t do this, how can you carry the heavy fire equipment, or fight fires in difficult conditions for hours at a time?

4) ____ __

You can be out alone in vast forests and national parks, and sometimes the smoke is so thick that you can hardly see. So it’s important to be able to know where you’re going, to be able to map read, and to use a compass. Also, you must know how to put up a tent, cook outdoors, drive a truck, and have other basic survival skills.

Show answers

1) E   2) D   3) C   4) F

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