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Top tips to prepare for Listening section of TOEFL

Posted on September 16, 2020
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TOEFL Coaching

The TOEFL exam consists of the following sections:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing

A minimum score of 80 out of 120 indicates average English proficiency. The better you score, there are better chances of your application being accepted.

In the listening section of the exam you will be required to listen to 6 or 9 recordings, and then answer 5 to 6 questions per recording. The total duration of this section is 41 minutes.

Your scores in the listening section of the TOEFL exam depends on your understanding of the prompts and your familiarity with the English language. Here are some top tips to help you improve your score in this section>

Focus on intonation

Recognize the intonational rhythm.  However, you don’t have to study intonation as much as you would for the speaking section. Knowing the tones of important words and transitions in sentences, though, is key to understanding what you hear.

Learn to differentiate between sounds

You don’t have to study each sound as intensively as you would for pronunciation in the speaking section. But make sure that you can hear the difference between somewhat different but distinct sounds in English.

Learn to infer meanings

As you listen to TOEFL lectures, conversations and audio recordings during your practice sessions, think about other words that the speaker might have used. This will come in handy on test day, when the correct choice of answer is often a paraphrase of the text rather than an exact quotation. Also, there may be times when the speaker is using a word you don’t know. Use your inference skills in that case. 

Learn to listen better

The fastest way to answer questions on the TOEFL listening test more precisely is to turn into a good note-taker. Learn to keep pace with what you hear, and take notes carefully but quickly. This includes knowing which information is important, and what information you are likely to ignore. It also involves proper pacing for effective note-taking.

Become familiar with the test format

The listening section consists of specific types of passages and questions and understanding and knowing what to expect will help you greatly when you actually take the test.

Be familiar with various types of listening passages

You’re going to hear conversations involving opinions, problem-solving and student life. You’ll also hear academic lectures, some that include the participation of students and some that don’t. Be aware that different kinds of recordings require the test-taker to have different approaches.

You will listen to: lectures and conversations. Conferences are fairly formal and well organized. In fact, lectures do have a similar structure to simple academic writing.

Conversations aren’t so straightforward. There are a number of features in conversational English which sometimes make them difficult to follow. These include verbal pauses, repetitions, interruptions, speakers talking over each other, etc.

Usually, the recordings are slower than natural voices during the listening section. But besides speed, everything else is completely natural about the conversations.

Some recordings are short, and a few are long. No matter how long the tapes last, you can only listen once. You’ll need to take notes while you pay full attention to the recording.

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