Toefl listening tips

Steve Grant
Steve Grant
May 30, 2023
5 min

TOEFL listening tips and the top things you should know about them.

  1. Practice active listening: One of the most important things you can do to improve your listening skills is to practice active listening. This means paying close attention to what the speaker is saying, asking questions to clarify your understanding, and taking notes to help you remember key points. When practicing active listening, it’s also important to focus on the main ideas and supporting details of the conversation or lecture, rather than getting bogged down in individual words or phrases.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the test format: Another key aspect of TOEFL listening tips is to familiarize yourself with the test format. This includes understanding the types of questions you’ll be asked, such as multiple choice, short answer, and summary completion, as well as the timing and structure of the listening section. By knowing what to expect on test day, you can feel more confident and prepared, which can help you perform better.

  3. Build your vocabulary and grammar skills: Finally, it’s important to build your vocabulary and grammar skills in order to improve your listening comprehension. This means studying English vocabulary and grammar rules, as well as practicing your listening skills in a variety of contexts, such as watching English-language movies or TV shows, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and engaging in conversations with native speakers. By building your language skills, you can better understand the spoken English you’ll encounter on the TOEFL.

  4. Develop your note-taking skills: Note-taking is an essential skill for the TOEFL listening section, as it can help you remember key points and details from the conversation or lecture. However, note-taking is also a skill that takes practice to develop. Some tips for effective note-taking include using abbreviations and symbols to save time, focusing on the main ideas and supporting details, and organizing your notes in a way that makes sense to you. By developing your note-taking skills, you can improve your listening comprehension and perform better on the TOEFL.

  5. Use context clues to understand unfamiliar words: Another important aspect of TOEFL listening tips is to use context clues to understand unfamiliar words. This means paying attention to the words and phrases that come before and after the unfamiliar word, as well as the tone and intonation of the speaker. By using context clues, you can often figure out the meaning of a word without having to look it up in a dictionary, which can save you time and improve your overall listening comprehension.

  6. Practice with authentic materials: Finally, it’s important to practice your listening skills with authentic materials, such as academic lectures, news broadcasts, and conversations between native speakers. This can help you get used to the speed, accent, and vocabulary of spoken English, as well as the types of topics and themes that are commonly covered on the TOEFL. Some resources for authentic listening practice include TED Talks, NPR podcasts, and YouTube videos featuring native English speakers.

  7. Pay attention to nonverbal cues: In addition to listening to the words that are spoken, it’s also important to pay attention to nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. These cues can provide important context and help you understand the speaker’s intended meaning. For example, if a speaker is using a sarcastic tone, you may need to interpret their words differently than if they were speaking in a neutral tone.

  8. Take breaks and manage your time: The TOEFL listening section can be long and mentally taxing, so it’s important to take breaks and manage your time effectively. This means pacing yourself throughout the section, taking short breaks to rest your mind and refocus, and using your time wisely to answer as many questions as possible. By managing your time effectively, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed or rushed, which can negatively impact your performance.

  9. Seek feedback and support: Finally, it’s important to seek feedback and support as you prepare for the TOEFL listening section. This can include working with a tutor or language exchange partner, practicing with friends or classmates, or seeking feedback from a teacher or mentor. By getting feedback on your listening skills, you can identify areas for improvement and make targeted changes to your study plan. Additionally, seeking support from others can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

  10. Use visualization techniques: Visualization techniques can be a powerful tool for improving your listening skills. This involves creating mental images of the information you’re hearing, which can help you remember it more effectively. For example, if you’re listening to a lecture about the solar system, you might visualize the planets orbiting the sun in order to remember their order and relative distances.

  11. Build your cultural knowledge: The TOEFL listening section often includes conversations and lectures that touch on cultural topics, such as history, literature, and social customs. To improve your listening comprehension in these areas, it’s important to build your cultural knowledge by reading books, watching movies, and engaging with people from different cultures. This can help you understand the context and background of the information you’re hearing, which can improve your overall comprehension.

  12. Stay calm and focused: Finally, it’s important to stay calm and focused during the TOEFL listening section. This can be challenging, especially if you’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed. However, by taking deep breaths, focusing on the present moment, and reminding yourself of your preparation and skills, you can stay calm and focused throughout the section. This can help you perform better and avoid making careless mistakes.

  13. Use context to predict what’s coming next: Another effective strategy for improving your TOEFL listening skills is to use context to predict what’s coming next. This means paying attention to the speaker’s tone, the topic of conversation, and the overall structure of the lecture or conversation in order to anticipate what information will be presented next. By doing this, you can stay engaged and focused, and you may be able to answer questions more quickly and accurately.

  14. Practice with a variety of accents: The TOEFL listening section includes speakers with a variety of accents, including American, British, Australian, and Canadian. To improve your listening comprehension, it’s important to practice with a variety of accents and dialects. This can help you get used to different pronunciations and intonations, and can improve your overall ability to understand spoken English.

  15. Use technology to your advantage: Finally, it’s important to use technology to your advantage when preparing for the TOEFL listening section. This can include using apps and websites that provide listening practice, such as Duolingo, Quizlet, and EnglishCentral. Additionally, you can use technology to record yourself speaking and listen back to identify areas for improvement. By using technology in your preparation, you can make your study time more efficient and effective.

In summary, improving your TOEFL listening skills requires a combination of strategies and techniques, including active listening, note-taking, using context clues, paying attention to nonverbal cues, taking breaks and managing your time effectively, seeking feedback and support, using visualization techniques, building your cultural knowledge, staying calm and focused, using context to predict what’s coming next, practicing with a variety of accents, and using technology to your advantage. By incorporating these tips into your study plan and staying dedicated to your goals, you can improve your listening skills and perform well on the TOEFL. Remember to practice consistently, seek feedback and support, and stay motivated and focused on your goals. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve success on the TOEFL and beyond.




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