Introduction to Listening skills in TOEFL

Listening and grasping the information refer to the primary, basic or the principal skills. The Listening section measures your ability to understand the English spoken in academic settings in the USA. For the Listening task you are given 40-60 minutes.
The Listening section in TOEFL contains 6-9 listening tasks that include:

  • A minimum of 2 questions between two people – such as two students or a student and a professor, a librarian, in store, restaurant etc;
  • A minimum of 2 lectures;
  • A minimum of 2 lectures, with student comments and questions interspersed;
  • Each task is followed by questions.

 

For the listening task you will need headphones. If you need, you can adjust the volume during the test. You may also take any notes that will help you to answer the questions. A sheet with your notes will be destroyed after you pass exam.
It is not permitted to go back to previous questions. So you should answer each question in proper order. A question should be answered before you can go on to the next question.

Listening questions
There are three different categories in TOEFL test:

  • Basic comprehension questions;
  • Pragmatic understanding questions;
  • Connecting information question.

There are several different types of questions:

  • grasping the main idea;
  • determining the purpose;
  • catching details;
  • determining attitude;
  • understanding conclusion;
  • making implications;
  • connecting content.

Listening topics
Topics for listening can cover a wide range of subjects. There are four major categories: arts, life science, physical science, and social science.
Arts lectures include architecture, music, literature, photography, urban planning, crafts, and industrial design.
Life science includes public health, animal communication, conservation biochemistry, medicine, bacteria, nutrition, and animal behavior.
Physical science includes climate, geography, landforms, environment, pollution, astronomy, optics, physics, technology, mathematics, and computer science
Social science lectures include anthropology, linguistics, education, history, business, psychology, and mass communication.

Listening strategies
To improve your listening skills, get used to the radio and television news, interviews, and discussions. Try to grasp the main idea, catch some new words and then look them up and remember. Listen to various academic talks, lectures, and educational documentaries.
Begin a systematic vocabulary improvement program to expand your vocabulary. Use the subject books, tapes and CDs.

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