By Mike H. Snow

TOEFL Listening Practice Online

New TOEFL Listening topicsEnhance TOEFL Listening by Podcast from Media

The TOEFL IBT listening exam has two parts, conversations and lectures. Both focus on the North American campus dialogue; the length of each speech or dialogue is around 3-6 minutes. And to mock the real scenarios, common wrong word, duplication, and self-correcting commonly appears in the listening material. The materials are not intended to test the candidate's memory, so encouraged to take notes while listening to do.

1. TOEFL IBT Listening Description

Conversation TOEFL dialogue has two types:

  • Office hours
  • Campus services
Generally, "Office hours" dialogue occurs in the office of professor, the topics are usually regarding courses, such as the requirement to delay the deadline for handing work, or students consult the professor to discuss specific concept. "Campus Services" dialogues take place on campus, and usually don't involve academic content, such as course registration or request accommodation expenses. Each dialog contains five questions.

Lecture TOEFL IBT listening lectures like a professor speaking in real class. Lectures may be: professor of speech, questions of a student to the professor, or questions to the students. Each lecture time is about five minutes, a total of six questions.

2. Topics of Lectures
Content of lectures are involved an extensive range of subjects, candidates do not need to appropriate preliminary knowledge, because the materials are just introductory. All information necessary for the answer should be in listening material. There are possible topics in the following four categories:
  • Arts
  • Life science
  • Physical science
  • Social science
Topics in Arts:
  • Architecture
  • Industrial design / art
  • City planning
  • Crafts and traditional arts
  • Cave / rock art
  • Music and music history
  • Photography
  • Literature and the authors
  • Books, newspapers, magazines, journals
Topics in Life Sciences:
  • Extinction of or conservation efforts for animals and plants
  • Fish and other aquatic organisms
  • Bacteria and other one-celled organisms
  • Viruses
  • Medical techniques
  • Public health
  • Physiology of sensory organs
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal behavior, migration, food foraging, defensive behavior
  • Habitats and the adaptation of animals and plants
  • Nutrition and its impact on the body
  • Animal communication
Topics in Physical science:
  • Weather and atmosphere
  • Oceanography
  • Glaciers, glacial landforms, ice ages
  • Deserts and other extreme environments
  • Pollution, alternative energy, environmental policy
  • Other planets' atmospheres
  • Astronomy and cosmology
  • Properties of Light, Optics
  • Properties of sound
  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Molecular Physics and Particle physics
  • TV, radio and radar technology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Seismology, plate structure, earthquakes, tectonics, continental drift, structure of volcanoes
Topics of social sciences:
  • Anthropology of non-industrialized civilizations
  • Early writing systems
  • Historical linguistics
  • Business, management, marketing, accounting
  • TV / radio as mass communication
  • Social behavior of groups, community dynamics, communal behavior
  • Child development
  • Education
  • Urbanization and industrialization history and its economic and social impact
3. Listening Question Types
At listening section, in addition to traditional single choice, following question styles possibly occur:
  • Multiple-choice questions, the number of correct answers is higher than one, such as two in 4 options.
  • Sort by requirements following the chronological order or steps
  • Corresponding title given classification table.
  • Re-listen, candidates will hear part of the listening material once more, and answer a question by just heard stuff.
Questions in the listening section have 8 types and follow three categories:

3.1 Basic Comprehension Questions
Type 1. Gist-Content
Tips:
  • Remove the option that contains only part of the material
  • Review notes, consider which options your notes linked
Type 2: Gist-Purpose
Tips:
  • Looking for the theme of the dialogue. For example, in the professor's office, a student talked about glaciers paper. But the subject of the conversation is the student needs some help writing essay. The purpose of this dialogue didn't matter with glacier views.
  • In Campus Services dialogues, usually students try to solve the problem. Try to understand what is the problem and how to solve it will help you answer questions on such issues.
Type 3: Detail
Tips:
  • Remember, the content of the examination will not be an irrelevant point. If your notebook contains the main details of the conversation or lecture, then search notes will solve this problem.
  • Do not select an option that includes some dialogue or lecture word; the wrong choice usually contain such words.
  • Not sure which is the correct answer, you need to consider which option is the most consistent and dialogue or lecture.
3.2 Pragmatic Understanding Questions
Type 4: Understanding the Function of What Is Said
Tips:
  • The intent of the dialogue may not match the meaning of the expression of the speaker directly. For example, a secretary asked the student whether he knew the location of the professor's office; she didn't want to get the site from the student.
Type 5: Understanding the Speaker's Attitude
Tips:
  • Pay attention to the tone of the speaker. Does it include apologies? Or full of doubt, cheerful enthusiasm? The tone of the speaker will be able to help you solve some problems.
3.3 Information Contact Questions
Type 6. Understanding Organization
Type 7. Connecting Content
Tips:
  • To questions, you need to fill in a form or sort options, pay attention to the method of taking notes. Notice definitions and steps and write down them clearly should help a lot to solve the question.
Type 8. Making Inferences
Tips:
  • Typically, this kind of problem we need to consider the details of the conversation, and get a conclusion by full context. Besides, the professor lectures may not directly point out the right option, but hinted something. In most cases, the correct option does not appear in the listening materials.
To improve your listening section behavior, you also need to consider some recommendations while examining.
  • Listen when taking notes; only the main points will be investigated, so we do not write down all the details.
  • When listening to lectures, pay attention to the new words and new concepts mentioned by the professor, these are usually vital content in questions.
  • Notice the structure of the lecture, as well as connections among the main points.
  • Choose the best answer, and the computer will ask you to confirm your selection, click OK, you will automatically enter the next question
  • Once you click OK, you will not be able to return to the previous question.
  • Maximize your vocabulary.
  • Focus on content, not to be influenced by the speaker's tone of voice and manner of speech.
  • Guess the speaker's next sentence.
  • Ask yourself when listening to keep the focus, for example, lectures mainly about what.
  • Try to write down keynote, points, important detail.


4. Podcast from Media
The Washington Tmes Front Page