toefl guide

Proven Study Method to Improve your TOEFL Listening Score

James Liu October 12th, 2021

We already talked about how you should prepare for the TOEFL listening section by listening to TOEFL listening audios in How to Prepare For the TOEFL Listening. In today’s article, we will show you how to study for the listening section using TOEFL listening practice questions.

How to study TOEFL Listening with TOEFL Listening Practice Questions

First, you need to complete a TOEFL Listening practice and check your answers. As you are listening to the conversation or lecture, you must practice taking notes. Here is a guide on how to take notes in the TOEFL listening section. 

The next two sections are broken down into steps depending on if you passed or failed the listening practice.

Please note that a pass or fail is not the normal above or below 50% mark. It all depends on what your target TOEFL score is, so some people may need to score over 80% on all sections, so anything below that would be considered a fail. However, the average should score above 60%, so we will go with that percentage for the remainder of this article.

Scored below 60%

Step 1: Listen to the same recording again. As you listen, specify the parts of the recording which you are having trouble understanding and make a note on the script (You can print out the transcript). Typically, the cause of the misunderstanding is from unfamiliar words, so look up their meaning and practice their pronunciation...If you’re having trouble, It can help to read them out loud.

Step 2: Now that you understand the unfamiliar words, read the sections of the script that you had problems understanding. This process of speaking what you hear is called “echoing” and is a type of “active listening” activity. Studies have shown it helps develop listening skills more effectively than just passively listening (passive listening).

Step 3: Take the TOEFL listening practice again and see if you can improve your score. If not...repeat steps 1 & 2 until you can fully understand the entire listening conversion/lecture.

Scored above 60%

Step 1:  Re-listen to the sections of the audio where you had doubts. Maybe you were unsure about a question and guessed between two answer choices. This would be a good question to locate in the audio and learn where your doubts came from.

Step 2: Analyze the questions you got wrong. If you find you continue to get the same question type wrong, there must be a reason. It’ll be your job to figure out why you keep missing the information in the listening to answer the question correctly. A question you can ask yourself is “why wasn’t that information in my notes?”.

Follow these steps and you’ll see it works wonders

Completing the above step-by-step process should take you around 45 to 60 minutes per TOEFL listening practice. Of course, if you answered all or most questions correctly, it’ll take you much less time.

Therefore, by committing yourself to 3 hours a day, you can complete more than 50 TOEFL listening questions in less than three weeks. With this intense training, you will see a significant improvement in your TOEFL Listening score.

We have one more suggestion for you! Spread out your 3-hour listening training throughout the day with other TOEFL sections like take a TOEFL practice test or start your speaking TOEFL preparation. This is an optimal learning schedule because exposing yourself to the English language constantly and consistently each day will catapult your learning and you’ll have a much easier time taking the TOEFL test.


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