TOEFL Strategies for Listening Section
TOEFL listening section, tests the ability of a student, especially a non-native English speaker, to understand spoken English (accentuated) in educational setting. Listening is an important skill to understand the concepts and ideas. Only when the concepts are understood completely it becomes a lighter task to score in the listening section of TOEFL test. In order to develop the listening skills for TOEFL, there are certain set of listening strategies or steps. They are explained in detail given below.
Requirements for TOEFL Listening Strategy Listening strategies for TOEFL aims at providing each and every minute detail that are required to respond to all the questions within the given time in this section. Responding to the questions in time is very important because, it will help TOEFL candidates to save time, which they might spend on, one specific part of the test section. There are certain steps in strategies that would help in managing time in each part of listening test section (recordings). There are some basic requirements for listening skills which serves the steps in TOEFL listening strategies as detailed below:
When students listen to a recorded lecture or a conversation, they should understand the central or main idea in it. Then they should skim the recording for key points, important facts, purpose and the relevant details that connects the key points.
It may also be called as “pragmatic understanding” where the meaning of a word should be taken, according to the context. Students are needed to find the intended meaning of the speaker i.e. from his point of view. A wide range of vocabulary is necessary for this process because, the recordings in listening test are usually from academic background. Practical understanding also becomes a must to find the purpose of a lecture or a conversation.
Relate Ideas given in multiple information sources
Relating ideas is the final state where the key points and the important facts are compared to find the relationship between them. This method would initially lead to construct an argument. Then a string of supportive and non supportive elements are categorized and as a result the causes for the events are traced. This is where a student would end up identifying the conclusion which is expressed indirectly.
Inference is to find the implied conclusion in recordings from the author’s point of view. The conclusion might be implied or expressed indirectly anywhere in the passage. These are the basic requirements necessary, in each part of the strategy of listening section, which consists of two recorded lectures and one long conversation. These fundamentals are to be followed, in the following few preparatory steps.
Strategies in Preparation
Spoken English From Various Sources And Accents, There are variations between the accents of English. It is the best to listen to English from various sources like television, music, radio etc. And also it is good to listen to the native speakers of English with different pronunciation and dialect. By doing this students would be able to improve their listening skills and also they will get used to different kinds of accents. It will be helpful very much if they listen to academic passages or conversations.
While listening to a recording, notes should be jot down. These notes would help you to remember the important points given by speaker. The reason is also that, during the test you will be given only one chance to listen to a passage. Note making will help you to remember the details and the clues effectively.
The main idea of a passage should be identified in a recording, as a first task while taking notes. Main idea of a lecture is usually given in the introductory part. The other details would be given in the rest of a lecture. Once the main idea is found it becomes a lighter task to find the purpose of the speaker.Pointer Words, Important Facts And Relationship Between The Facts, The pointer words may be defined as signal words or clues, given by the speaker. These keywords should be collected along with important facts and events. This should be done in order to compare them and identify the relationship between them. In turn this would give you the cause of the events.
Summary of Observation
Give a summary of the recording which was listened, using the notes that are taken down. During this process, only important facts, relevant details, main idea and the key facts are covered. This is a good time saving technique, to prevent going through the notes again and again. Building your Vocabulary, Above all it is also important to build a student’s vocabulary, to find the meaning of a word, according to the context of the speaker. Students should get familiar with the words which they consider as new ones and practice them in their everyday life. The steps and the requirements in TOEFL strategies for listening section, which are elaborated above should be followed and practiced to manage time while taking up the test. The most important part in listening section is to concentrate on the subject of the speaker, and a student does not have to be distracted by the accent.
In this conversation the student is concerned about her statistics class. She is doing poorly and is considering dropping the class. She feels that the professor speaks too quickly and she is unable to note the important points. The professor offers a few suggestions. First he suggests bringing in a tape recorder. Secondly he suggests getting a tutor. Finally, the professor says that it might be possible to get into the class she wants without his course if she talks to the psychology teacher about it. I prefer the final option. In my experience some prerequisites do not pertain to the course that requires them. Statistics is quite a general course that may be useful but is not always necessary.
Transcript for listening question 5 conversation:
S: Hi professor Jones. Thanks for agreeing to see me on such short notice. I just realized that the deadline for dropping classes is at the end of this week.
P: I have to assume you are considering dropping my class. I had a quick look at your last two quiz marks. You failed the first and just passed the second one. What is it that is causing you the most trouble?
S: Well, to be honest, I’m only taking statistics because it is a prerequisite for a psychology class I want to take. I really am not very good with numbers.
P: Have you been to all of my classes?
S: Yes, every one of them. But to be honest you speak a little bit too quickly for me. I find it difficult to get detailed notes.
Professor: Well, perhaps you should think about bringing in a tape recorder. That way if you miss something you can listen to it again when you’re studying at home.
S: I guess I could try that. I’m not sure if I can afford a tape recorder right now. My student loan hasn’t come in yet.
P: Another option is to get a tutor. If you’re interested I can recommend someone. She’s a tutorial assistant for one of my other classes, but she does private tutoring on the side. She doesn’t charge much because she’s really looking for the teaching experience. She wants to be a professor.
S: So you don’t think I should just drop the class?
P: Well, I guess that depends how important the psychology class is. Sometimes professors make exceptions too. You could always contact the psych professor and ask if it’s possible to get in without my course. I’d be willing to sign something to prove that you’ve at least made a valid attempt.