TOEFL listening Preparation Tips: Practice Papers, Book

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    TOEFL listening preparation can be a daunting task. There are usually 4-6 lectures that you listen to in TOEFL. Each lecture has around 6 questions. In addition to this, there are 2-3 conversations, with 5 questions each. 

    TOEFL Listening test practice

    Always rely on the official site for practice tests. This is because you can be sure of one fact that when you appear for TOEFL practice tests, questions will be similar to this. They will replicate the type of questions being asked, along with the content and format. However, after taking up the official site tests, you need to opt for other authentic material providers online, as the content on the official site is limited. Apart from this, you get instant TOEFL scores. While appearing for the online test, you can also give the listening test first and then other sections. Some sites also offer separate test modules for all individual sections.

    Another important thing is the time limit. The practice test available online is shorter than the real TOEFL IBT test length.

    In the table below, you can see how the questions are distributed with regard to time:

    Recording typeQuestionTime
    Conversation52 - 3 minutes
    Lecture64 - 6 minutes
    Total34 -5160 - 90 minutes

    Once you submit the answers, you cannot edit or go back. Therefore, there is no option for skipping the questions. Thus, you need to plan accordingly. Do not take a lot of time focusing on one answer. If you are not able to answer any question while listening to the audio or forgot to take note, then you will lose the mark. However, in many practice tests, they give you the option to rewind and play the audio recording as well as go back to previous questions or sections. But in real test, you won't have this privilege.

    TOEFL listening tips

    There are few TOEFL preparation tips that you need to follow to clear the test and achieve sufficient TOEFL listening score, which is as follows:

    Taking Notes while listening: This is one of the most demanding skills that play a crucial role in clearing the listening section. When you are listening to a conversation, you need not jot down the whole thing. You can use abbreviations or symbols or any specific symbols for marking important things. When the lecture is playing, you can try making a flowchart of the important information provided within. For example, you can add any relevant information, any comparison, any similarity, any results, or any reasons regarding how an event occurred.

    Paying attention to tone: There are various intonation changes in the listening test, which you need to point out. They speak in a dramatic manner, and there is no flat tone. Some of the commonly used intonation patterns are: That's great! (in excitement); Are you serious? (Surprise).

    Expanding your vocabulary: You need to improve your vocabulary for the TOEFL exams. This is because many speakers will use a lot of idioms, university vocabulary, and phrasal verbs. For example, terminologies like Dean, scholarships, pre-requisite, student loan, deadline, and so on.

    Apart from this, there are many online sample practice tests available for TOEFL which one needs to try out before appearing for the big day. Some of these popular tests have been mentioned below.

    TOEFL iBT Sampler: It is available on the official webpage. It has a full practice test paper, along with listening test audio.

    - TOEFL iBT Quick Prep: It has 4 volumes of practice sets. Two volumes are exclusively dedicated to audio recordings for listening test practice.

    - TOEFL iBT Sample Questions: This is a free resource site and an official one. It contains only transcripts of conversation rather than recordings.

    - TOEFL Practice Online Test: These are the previous year question sets that also include audio files. For this, you need to pay an amount of 45 USD for each set. Your exams are also graded once you submit the test.

    - Official TEOFL Prep Book: The official guide to TOEFL Test is available in 3 volumes. Some other books available are Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volumes 1 and 2.

    However, your preparation should not just focus on practicing these test papers. Exposure to varied sources will lead to an increase in your ability to listen. Some of these useful resources are listening to:

    - TED Talks. These are short one-way communications and are quiet engaging in nature.

    - Podcasts. Podcasts are usually on various TOEFL listening topics, which you can listen to based on your preference and choice. The ESL Podcast has great content.

    - News stations. The news presenters usually speak in a clear and lucid manner. You will find it easier to understand and grasp new vocabulary.

    - Conversations. The final step in all this is a person-to-person conversation in the English language. You can practice this with your friends or family members who are well versed in the language. To broaden your vocabulary, you can converse on various interest topics or situations.

    Check TOEFL Preparation Books

    What is the main idea of the TOEFL listening test?

    All practice tests for the listening section have the same basic idea. Some of the examples are as follows:

    - Why does the teacher want to meet the students?

    - What are the problems faced by the students?

    - What subject is being taught by the professor?

    When all these TOEFL listening questions are asked, you need to focus on the central idea of the lecture or discussion. While giving answers to all these questions, try focusing on two important aspects: one is, how did this recording start, and what are the topics or areas it focused on. In addition to this, you also need to focus on connecting links. To ace in the listening test, you need to have good concentration and listening skills.

    Apart from this, listen to the key points that are focused on by the speaker. There are a few signal words that are given out by the speaker while conversing. This can tell you about the beginning and end of the topic.

    *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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