TOEFL Listening: Section details, Question Types, Score, Preparation Tips and More

    Rachita Mitra Rachita Mitra
    Content Curator

    TOEFL listening section appears to be a difficult section for the candidates, as here the candidates have to listen to and understand recordings in different English accents. Let’s understand the details of TOEFL listening section here.

    TOEFL Listening Score Statistics

    In India, the test-takers secured 24 (on an average) in the listening section in 2017 and in 2018, the average score was 23.

    Globally, the TOEFL Listening Mean Score in 2017 was 20.2 for the males. In 2018, it was 20.5. The Listening Mean Score of the females in 2017 was 20.4 and in 2018, it was 20.7. So, it is a clear indication that females secured higher scores in the listening section in the past years. To be more specific, the female candidates who applied for the non-business program secured the highest points in the listening section (21.7). Though the mean score of females is highest in the listening section, the mean score of males applied for the non-business programs (21.9) is even higher.

    TOEFL Listening Mean Score Comparison

    TOEFL Listening – Overview

    In the TOEFL listening section, examinees are measured on the proficiency of their listening skills. Here, the candidates listen to the recordings and answer the questions asked based on these. Basically, in the listening section, candidates will get

    TOEFL Listening test

    The most important point here is: the topic of the recordings can be diverse. The accent can be any native English and the recording will not repeat – it will be played only once. The questions will not appear until the conversation is over.

    TOEFL Listening Topics

    The topics of the recordings and conversations are mostly academic and the TOEFL Listening topics are from science and arts.

    Weather scienceLiterature
    Geographical areas and their theoryBiography
    Solar energyCurrent happenings from journals, magazines, and newspapers
    Planets, astronomy, and cosmologyMusic and theory
    Light, sound, and radiationArt (cave, folk and tribal art)
    Particle physicsPhotography
    Hardware technologyArchitecture and design
    Chemistry of inorganic thingsAnthropology
    Computer scienceLinguistics
    PhysiologyChild development and pedagogy
    Evolution theoryCommunication
    Fishery scienceBusiness management
    Bacteria and VirusesLeadership
    Medical techniques-
    Animal and plants behavior-
    Nutrition and public health-
    Animal communication-

    TOEFL listening conversations are based on the university or educational institute lectures. These diagnose the candidate’s ability to understand the words and sentences spoken by the faculties and other students. Some characteristics of these conversations are:

    • One person is always a student. Another is either a faculty, or librarian, or university staff, or administrator, and so on.
    • Conversations take place in a university setting – library, cafeteria, dormitory, classroom, and more.
    • The conversations are inclined towards problem-solving that one of the students is facing.
    • There will be a visual presentation of the setting on the computer screen.

    Due to the variation of accents, the TOEFL Listening topics will appear difficult to the listeners. TOEFL listening comprehension test answers are available in PDF to give a better idea of the questions of this section.

    TOEFL listening section – Question Types

    TOEFL Listening Practice paper shows that there can be different types of questions, like:

    TOEFL Listening Questions Type

    Check the TOEFL listening practice papers to understand the different types of questions of this section. TOEFL IBT listening practice test online can make the candidates familiar with the question types and the types of recordings. A few factors must be kept in the mind of test-takers:

    • Generally, TOEFL listening section questions are multiple-choice questions
    • Each has four choices and a single correct answer
    • For a few questions there can be more than one correct answer; however, these questions too worth 1 point
    • Not a single question in the listening section carry multiple points
    • Partial correctness is not possible here
    • Once an answer is marked and the candidate is moved to the next answer, it’s not possible to change the answer
    • Skipping an answer is not possible

    Changes Made By ETS in the Listening Section

    As per new changes made by ETS in August 2019, in the TOEFL listening sections:

    • There will be 2 listening materials, not 3
    • First one will be a long set with one conversation and two lectures and 17 questions to be answered in 10 minutes
    • The second one or the short set will include one conversation and one lecture with 11 questions to be answered in 6.5 minutes
    • If a third set is given, it will be ungraded

    A quick note on Pre-exam Guidelines of TOEFL listening

    The listening exam will begin with a photograph of the examiner on the computer screen instructing the test taker to wear the headphones. Then, there will be instruction on volume control using the volume bar on the toolbar.

    TOEFL Listening score

    The TOEFL listening scoreis calculated based on the obtained raw score in this section. TOEFL listening raw score is the score secured by the candidate depending on the number of correct answers. TOEFL listening raw score ranges between 0 and 34. With the help of TOEFL raw score to scaled score conversion, the raw scores of the listening section are converted into TOEFL listening scaled scores. The scaled score is the sectional score for the listening section and this scaled score is used for calculating TOEFL overall score.

    The following table shows the TOEFL listening raw score and their equivalent scaled scores:

    TOEFL Listening Raw ScoreTOEFL Listening Scaled Score
    8 and below0

    TOEFL Listening Preparation Tips

    For a better score in TOEFL listening, a few tips are mandatory:

    • Listen and build a habit of listening to different English accents
    • Listen attentively
    • Take notes – note only the important factors
    • Learn the technique of memorizing

    Check    TOEFL Preparation

    TOEFL listening preparation tips are also necessary to crack this difficult section. After going through the score statistics, it must be clear that it’s not difficult to score high in this section. But, the proper practice is mandatory for that.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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