TOEFL Strategies for Listening Section


toefl   TOEFL listening section, tests the ability of a student, especially a non-native English speaker, to understand spoken English (accentuated) in educational setting. Listening is an important skill to understand the concepts and ideas. Only when the concepts are understood completely it becomes a lighter task to score in the listening section of TOEFL test. In order to develop the listening skills for TOEFL, there are certain set of listening strategies or steps. They are explained in detail given below.

Requirements for TOEFL Listening Strategy

Listening strategies for TOEFL aims at providing each and every minute detail that are required to respond to all the questions within the given time in this section. Responding to the questions in time is very important because, it will help TOEFL candidates to save time, which they might spend on, one specific part of the test section.

There are certain steps in strategies that would help in managing time in each part of listening test section (recordings). There are some basic requirements for listening skills which serves the steps in TOEFL listening strategies as detailed below:

  • Basic Comprehension

When students listen to a recorded lecture or a conversation, they should understand the central or main idea in it. Then they should skim the recording
for key points, important facts, purpose and the relevant details that connects the key points.

  • Practical Understanding

It may also be called as “pragmatic understanding” where the meaning of a word should be taken, according to the context. Students are needed to find the intended meaning of the speaker i.e. from his point of view. A wide range of vocabulary is necessary for this process because, the recordings in listening test are usually from academic background. Practical understanding also becomes a must to find the purpose of a lecture or a conversation.

  •  Relate Ideas given in multiple information sources

Relating ideas is the final state where the key points and the important facts are compared to find the relationship between them. This method would initially lead to construct an argument. Then a string of supportive and non supportive elements are categorized and as a result the causes for the events are traced. This is where a student would end up identifying the conclusion which is expressed indirectly.

  •  Inference

Inference is to find the implied conclusion in recordings from the author’s point of view. The conclusion might be implied or expressed indirectly anywhere in the passage.

These are the basic requirements necessary, in each part of the strategy of listening section, which consists of two recorded lectures and one long conversation. These fundamentals are to be followed, in the following few preparatory steps.

Strategies in Preparation

  • Spoken English From Various Sources And Accents

There are variations between the accents of English. It is the best to listen to English from various sources like television, music, radio etc. And also it is good to listen to the native speakers of English with different pronunciation and dialect. By doing this students would be able to improve their listening skills and also they will get used to different kinds of accents. It will be helpful very much if they listen to academic passages or conversations.

  • Making Notes

While listening to a recording, notes should be jot down. These notes would help you to remember the important points given by speaker. The reason is also that, during the test you will be given only one chance to listen to a passage. Note making will help you to remember the details and the clues effectively.

  • Main Idea

The main idea of a passage should be identified in a recording, as a first task while taking notes. Main idea of a lecture is usually given in the introductory part. The other details would be given in the rest of a lecture. Once the main idea is found it becomes a lighter task to find the purpose of the speaker.

  • Pointer Words, Important Facts And Relationship Between The Facts

The pointer words may be defined as signal words or clues, given by the speaker. These keywords should be collected along with important facts and events. This should be done in order to compare them and identify the relationship between them. In turn this would give you the cause of the events.

  • Summary of Observation

Give a summary of the recording which was listened, using the notes that are taken down. During this process, only important facts, relevant details, main idea and the key facts are covered. This is a good time saving technique, to prevent going through the notes again and again.

  • Building your Vocabulary

Above all it is also important to build a student’s vocabulary, to find the meaning of a word, according to the context of the speaker. Students should get familiar with the words which they consider as new ones and practice them in their everyday life.

Strategies in exam

1. As you listen to each short conversation, focus on the second line of the conversation. The answer to the question is generally found in the second line of the conversation.

2. Keep in mind that the correct answer is probably a restatement of a key word or idea in the second line of the conversation. Think of possible restatements of the second line of the conversation.

3. Keep in mind that certain structures and expressions are tested regularly in Listening Part A. Listen for these structures and expressions:

  • restatements
  • negatives
  • suggestions
  • passives
  • conclusions about who and where
  • expressions of agreement

4. Keep in mind that these questions generally progress from easy to difficult. This means that questions 1 through 5 will be the easiest questions and questions 26 through 30 will he the hardest questions.

5. Read the answers and choose the best answer to each question. Remember to answer each question even if you are not sure of the correct response. Never leave any answers blank.
6. Even if you do not understand the complete conversation, you can find the correct answer.

  • If you only understood a few words or ideas in the second line, choose the answer that contains a restatement of those words or ideas.
  • If you did not understand anything at all in the second line of the conversation, choose the answer that sounds the most different from what you heard.
  • Never choose an answer because it sounds like what you heard in the conversation.

The steps and the requirements in TOEFL strategies for listening section, which are elaborated above should be followed and practiced to manage time while taking up the test. The most important part in listening section is to concentrate on the subject of the speaker, and a student does not have to be distracted by the accent.


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