Study Abroad TOEFL®

Put an ear to the ground and take our tips for how to ace the listening Section of the TOEFL® Test

While the listening test isn’t the most difficult module among the four modules for a TOEFL test, it does come with its share of pitfalls. One could try going ham at the listening section hoping that it works out, or you could take our advice and ace the test. Here are some of our tips and tricks that you can use to overcome the listening module. Integrating them into your practice sessions may be providential in getting those extra points which just might make all the difference.

What is the structure of the Listening module?

Before discussing the fine print one ought to know the end goal of the listening test. The TOEFL listening test tries to simulate the environment of a University. Likewise, it becomes imperative that test takers are sensitized to the atmosphere of the institutions they’re willing to study in. They should be capable enough to handle conversations with their peers or understand whatever is being explained to them by their instructors. Basic comprehension, understanding of the speaker’s tone and state of mind, and the ability to put two and two together are the elements that are given much focus in the test.

The structure of the Listening Module in TOEFL

  1. 3 to 4 lectures with a time frame of 3-5 minutes, 6 questions per lecture
  2. 2 to 3 conversations with a time frame of 3 minutes each, 5 questions per interaction

The overall time limit for the listening exercise comes anywhere between 41-57 minutes.

The first case imitates the classroom environment complete with excerpts taken from lectures. However, the second set which is based on conversations usually makes use of student-teacher or student-student interactions.

What are the tips to ace the listening section of the TOEFL test?  

Learn to take notes efficiently

While it may seem like an afterthought, taking notes when listening to the tape makes all the difference in whether you manage to catch hold of small snippets of information. It’s always good to focus on the details that support the flow of conversation.

The importance of note-taking becomes all the more apparent when the listening tests which involve lectures come into play. Using abbreviations for long technical terms will help in a pinch, especially when trying to recall some specific detail off the top of your head. Using symbols to express emotion, for instance using ‘?’ to express doubt or perhaps using ‘!’ to express surprise and exclamation can help retain the context more so in tests that involve conversations.

Keeping in mind the types of questions

Yet, another part of the Listening test that requires accurate judgment is the types of questions that can be asked in a given conversation or lecture. Questions can be angled to the following possibilities.

  • Content – What is the topic conveying?
  • Purpose- What is the purpose of the conversation?
  • Details- What details can be wrested from both the lecture and the conversation?
  • Speaker’s Mentality and Reaction

Understanding Passage Type or Conversation Structure

Conversations in TOEFL Listening usually have a one-track mind. There are two participants in the conversation with one mentioning a problem they face while the other typically try to offer a solution. Furthermore, a series of instructions will be given to the initial speaker to help overcome the said problem.

On the other hand, lectures have a slight variation in character:

  • An Explanation of History
  • Scientific Advancements
  • Step-by-Step Sequence
  • Compare and Contrast

Focus more on the content than the subject

Trying to make the head or tail of a passage can be challenging if you aren’t focusing on the story that is being mentioned. Try to avoid being caught up in fancy words or technical vocabulary, what matters is the relevance of the said term with regard to the passage. If the term is given only a passing mention then we the listener ought to give it only as much attention.

The main idea of the topic takes center stage along with the details and/or explanations that are being provided by the Professor, Lecturer, or Speaker. What you manage to know from the passage matters a lot more than figuring out exotic words.

Sharpen your Listening skills

Previously, we took a look at a variety of tips that can help you out during the test. Even so, the preparation leading up to the test also requires proper planning. Sharpening your listening skills by listening to podcasts, audiobooks or documentaries will help out a little. If that is a little drab for your tastes try watching web series, movies, or news. Avoid using any subtitles because then you’ll instinctually rely on information being relayed from the subtitles than the actual audio.

Learn to devote attention to listening

More often than not, our attention is often displaced when our eyes catch hold of something remotely interesting. Similarly, when listening there is often a possibility that our attention will wane. The information then acquired is full of pitfalls and may cause us more worry later on in the assessment.

Try to rely only on the audio to provide you with the necessary details. While it may seem like an uphill task initially you’ll soon get the hang of it. Distractions are natural, what matters is whether you can keep your attention riveted to the audio or not.

 The Listening test might seem a little daunting at first; however, with planned practice, you too can ace the listening Section of the TOEFL® Test. If you found our tips useful do leave a comment down below. For more similar content visit our website here.