21 Jan 2017

How To Get Better At The TOEFL Listening Part


Ahh, listening. One of the very few things everyone says no one else does. Guess what? The TOEFL has a listening section, and it is exactly like what you would imagine. But a million times more boring.

The listening section of the TOEFL is the second portion of the 4-part test, directly following the reading section and (most importantly), before you get to take a break. The listening consists of 4 academic lectures (with 6 questions per lecture) and 2 campus conversations (with 5 questions per conversation), for a total of 34 questions. However, in a stroke of evil genius, the TOEFL is scaled to 30 points which means…no single question is worth a single scaled point.

So, how does one get better at the listening part? Here’s the secret: you’ve got to listen to things in English. You can’t listen to fun stuff like movies or television shows (although listening to them will help you pick up the pace and idioms of natural English). And you have to take notes, because you can’t rely on your memory. Here are 3 great websites to listen to TOEFL type talks:

1. http://itunes.stanford.edu/

2. http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia

3. http://www.radiolab.org/series/podcasts/

While you’re listening, what you want to focus on is taking short notes that will help you to identify the Primary Purpose (TOEFL’s favorite question), as well as some important details. One of the great things about podcasts is you can listen to them more than once in order to make sure that you identified the important parts in your notes. One of the downsides is they tend to be much longer than the TOEFL lectures themselves. But nothing’s perfect, so work with the tools you have, look for more resources, and keep on listening!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us about the listening portion of the TOEFL, or any section of the TOEFL, OR any other test, please contact us! We are happy to help you.

And now a sloth reacts to this information.