TOEFL TIPS for Listening Part

Listening part is the second part of the TOEFL test. Some test takers as international students are weak in this part since they are not familiar with English. Test takers need to be prepared and practice before taking the test. Below are tips for listening part.

1. Take past TOEFL Listening Test and become familiar with the format. Quickly read the comprehension questions before the recording begins – this helps you to listen out for key points.

2. Practice note taking whenever you are listening to something in English Write down key words or phrases, use abbreviations for long words and always write in English. Record only the major points because you won’t have time to write down the minor, unimportant details in the exam.

3. Improve your vocabulary – the more words you know, the easier it will be for you to understand the listening section. Learn new vocabularies and save words you have trouble with.

4. Listen for signal words that indicate major steps, changes or ideas such as seldom, at the moment, in 1975, so far, usually, often, up to now, at the moment. Make sure to also listen out for repetition, synonyms and pronouns.

5. Download listening practice lessons. Listen and stop it at different times. Try and guess what will happen next! This is a great way to practice your ability to connect and combine ideas. Then go back and listen to the lesson in full and see how well you did.

6. Determine the purpose of a conversation or speech. Practice this technique every time you hear English including English movies or TV shows, even people you hear speaking English on the street! This will help you focus on the key points and improve your ability to filter out information that is not necessary for the TOEFL listening exam questions.

7. Recognize key points – who or what is the conversation about? What is the main point of the lecture? Why are they talking about this? Remember, the TOEFL listening exam is testing your comprehension, not your ability to memorize and repeat what you have just heard!

8. Find connections between ideas – how do these points connect to the key ideas of the passage? If they do NOT connect to the key ideas, they are probably not the major ideas of the passage and you should not focus on them.

9. Pay attention when someone in the exercise asks a question. Normally, it is a clue that information is about to be given. However, this is not always true, so be careful for responses that sound a lot like the answer to a question. Listen very carefully as these responses are often there to test your ability to understand the context of what you heard.

10. Categorize the type of exercise you are listening to when taking practice TOEFL listening test. Ask yourself – is it a lecture (mostly one-sided and on academic topics) or a conversation (language is more informal, two or more people)? This will help you understand the flow of the conversation more clearly.

Jaraswan Jarasjaruwan or Pear is a full-time MIM student. She got a Bachelor’s of Science from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. After she graduated, she worked as an educational consultant in Thailand for 2 years. Pear chose to study international business at Portland State University because she is interested in the business field and also the reputation of the university. Currently, Pear is studying Chinese as a third language. Also, she will choose Finance as her specialization in the Master of International Management program.
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