The TOEFL listening section tests your ability to listen to and understand spoken English. There are two types of listening exercises:
- Lectures (4-6)
- Conversations (2-3)
Lectures are one speaker, usually a professor, talking about a single academic topic. An example might be a professor discussing the impact of mobile phone on marketing.
Conversations are two or more people talking about a campus situation. An example could be a student talking to a librarian about a missing book.
You will be asked different question types for each listening. You have three possibilities:
- Multiple Choice (1 answer)
- Multiple Choice (2 answers)
- Organizing Ideas (Tables)
TOEFL Listening Strategies
The strategies and tips below will help you succeed on the TOEFL listening section.
You should use your notes to help you remember the important information you will need to answer the questions.
Listen for tone and attitude.
Some of the questions ask for purpose or reason for why a speaker does something. So you should listen for the tone and the attitude to better answers these questions.
Focus on important information.
You do not need to remember small details. Pay attention to larger ideas.
Watch out for distractors.
You will hear most of the options, but only one is correct. The other three are distractors. Take a look at this
He arrived at 7 pm and left at 9 pm.
When did he arrive?
a) 7 pm
b) 9 pm
This is a simplified example, but you can see how distractors work. You heard 7 and 9 pm, but only one is correct. Because you hear 9 pm you may think it is the answer. But that’s not true. Remember, just because you hear it, does not mean it’s the answer.
Be ready for natural speaking.
The speakers on the listening section will use natural speaking patterns. This could include hesitations, delays, or filler words, like um, uh, ah, like, but, etc.
Also be ready for corrections and rephrasing, slang, and idioms.