Improving Listening in TOEFL IBT test

04/09/2015 12:17

Maybe it has happened to you that you listen to a TOEFL listening exercise and all of a sudden you are aware that you missed a phrase or sentence, maybe something that was important. You weren’t concentrated, or the speakers may have spoken fast.

Don’t get discouraged. It happens even to native English speakers. They let their minds wander, or simply fail to hear something. You’ve missed something you heard before, and you’ll miss something again in the future. Perhaps you won’t be able to catch everything that’s said to you in an English-language conversation. After you pass the TOEFL, you’ll definitely miss some of what you hear during lectures on an American campus. But you’ll want to make sure you miss as few words as possible when you take the TOEFL itself.

The good news is that the speech you hear on the TOEFL is usually slower than English speech in other settings. Build your skills at listening to normally paced English speech, and TOEFL listening will be easier in comparison.

It is also good to challenge yourself and try to comprehend English speech that is faster than usual. One place where you’ll hear a lot of “fast talkers” is in the movies. In movies, the characters will say certain things very quickly. These lines are usually said during an especially exciting, interesting or funny part of the movie. Fast, clever pieces of speech like this are called “one-liners.” Just as you are motivated not to miss the important stuff in TOEFL Listening, you won’t want to miss these one-liners. Often they are the most important things to listen for in a movie scene. The movie may be less enjoyable if you don’t understand what you heard. Therefore, when you meet such lines in a movie check your understanding by downloading subtitles of the movie. Then, try to analyse how much you understood the first time you heard. What were the words that you didn’t understand? How many times did you need to listen again, or check the transcript?