TOEFL Listening Tips for Success
In most cases, the first question after each lecture is a main idea question also known as a gist question. At the beginning of a listening lecture, the professor usually mentions what the main topic of the lecture will be about, but sometimes the topic might be branched into something more specific. Please note the topic can change, so always be prepared to note down any new topics.
Listen to the speaker's tone of voice
Sometimes you'll be asked questions regarding the speaker's attitude or opinion. To answer these questions correctly, tone of voice matters. For example, does the speaker sound excited, confused, sad...etc?
Listen to how ideas are connected throughout the lecture
When listening to a lecture, make note of the way the ideas in the lecture are connected. In other words, how the professor organized the lecture. When you encounter a question asking you how the lecture is organized, you can refer back to your notes. Some of the main relationships between ideas include cause/effect, compare/contrast, and steps in a process.
Listen for key points not specific details
TOEFL listening questions will not test you on small details. For example, you won't see questions that are about a specific year, name, or location. Instead, questions will test your understanding of key points mentioned in the lecture.
Listen for signal words that indicate different parts of the lecture
To help you capture key points in the lecture, you need to learn to listen for signal words or transition words. These words are like the road signs that tell you what is coming next. Signal words can tell you the beginning or the end of a topic. They can also help you move through the middle of the lecture by introducing topics.
|"Okay", "Well", "Now", "But", and "So"
1. "Okay" and "Now" are usually used to transition into a different topic or a different key point.
2. "Well" is usually used before answering a question.
3. "But" and "So" are usually followed by a key point.
All right folks, let’s continue our discussion of alternative energy sources and move on to what’s probably the most well-known alternative energy source--- solar energy. The sun basically provides earth with virtually unlimited source of energy every day, but the problem has always been how do we tap this source of energy. Can anyone think of why it’s so difficult to make use of solar energy?
OK. Another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is Aristotle—Aristotle’s ethical theory. What Aristotle’s ethical theory is all about is this: he’s trying to show you how to be happy—what true happiness is. Now, why is he interested in human happiness? It’s not just because it’s something that all people want to aim for. It’s more than that. But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction. Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.
All right, so far we have been looking at some of the core areas of linguistics, like syntax, phonology, semantics. Now I’d like to talk about the branch of historical linguistics, and the comparison of several different languages, or the comparison of different stages of a single language. Now, if you are comparing different languages, and you notice that they have a lot in common. Maybe they have similar sounds and words that correspond to one another that have the same meaning and that sound similar.
Let's move on to ...|
This brings me to my next point, which is….
So far we have have been looking at…. Now I'd like to….
So now that we've covered…
What … is all about is this…
All right folks, let's continue our discussion of alternative energy sources and move on to what's probably the most well-known alternative energy source--- solar energy. The sun basically provides earth with virtually unlimited source of energy every day, but the problem has always been how do we tap this source of energy. Can anyone think of why it's so difficult to make use of solar energy?
OK. Another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is Aristotle—Aristotle's ethical theory. What Aristotle's ethical theory is all about is this: he's trying to show you how to be happy—what true happiness is. Now, why is he interested in human happiness? It's not just because it's something that all people want to aim for. It's more than that. But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction. Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.
All right, so far we have been looking at some of the core areas of linguistics, like syntax, phonology, semantics. Now I'd like to talk about the branch of historical linguistics, and the comparison of several different languages, or the comparison of different stages of a single language. Now, if you are comparing different languages, and you notice that they have a lot in common. Maybe they have similar sounds and words that correspond to one another that have the same meaning and that sound similar.
(opinion) I think, It appears that, It is thought that|
(theory) In theory, the hypothesis is that
You have an advertising budget to spend, but how do you to spend it wisely. Again, research is the key. Good research gives you facts, facts that can help you decide, well, as we already mentioned, decide the right market to target, and the best media to use. But also: When to advertise? or…or how to get the best rates? Like, maybe you're advertising Sport equipment, and you have been spending most of your budget during the holiday season when people buy gifts for each other. Now, in theory, that would seem a great time to advertise, but maybe a research shows you're wrong, that the customers who buy sports equipment tend not to give it as a holiday gift, but want to use it themselves. In that case, advertising during a different season of the year might give you better results.
We recently noticed an increase in cloud cover over an area of the ocean waters around Antarctica. An increased area of low thick clouds, the type that reflects a large portion of solar energy back to space and cools the Earth. Well, the reason for this increased cloud cover, it turns out, is the exceptionally large amount of microscopic marine plants. Well, the current hypothesis is that these microorganisms produce a chemical that interacts with the oxygen in the air, creating conditions that lead to the formation of the low thick clouds we observed. Well, that's true. It could have huge implications. So, maybe we are talking about controlling the weather. Perhaps, if the microorganisms near Antarctica really are responsible, perhaps we can accelerate the process somehow.
Pay attention to the following transition words which can help you capture the main ideas and examples:
|Type of connection||Transition words|
|These words show the order of ideas.||
Firstly (or "First of all")/Secondly/Thirdly (or "Lastly")
For one thing/For another thing/Finally (or "Lastly")
In the first place/in the second place/Finally (or "Lastly")
|These words show the addition of information||In addition, furthermore, additionally, also, next, moreover, what's more, on top of that|
|These words shows conclusions.||To sum up, in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, all in all, all things considered ,overall, taking everything into consideration, in a nutshell|
|These words demonstrate contrast||Conversely, on the contrary, by contrast, by way of contrast, on one hand/on the other hand|
|These words compare or demonstrate similarity||Similarly, likewise, by the same token, along similar lines|
|These words show result.||As a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore|
|These words state a generalization.||Generally, on the whole, in most cases, in general|
|These words clarify a point.||That is, in other words, to put it simply, That is to say, just to reiterate|
|These words give examples.||For example, for instance, take something, for example, to give a clear example|
|These words state an alternative.||Alternatively, as another possibility|
Tips to Improve TOEFL listening score
Unlike the reading section, in the listening section you CANNOT skip answers and come back. If you skip a question, you will not be able to go back and answer it.
Make an educated guess on questions you are unsure of
When you don't know the answer, try to figure out which choice is most consistent with the main idea of the conversation or lecture. Another way is to eliminate obvious wrong answers.
Don't take more than two minutes to answer a question.
If you spend more than two minutes on a question, you might run out of time. It is not worth it. Leave time for other questions that you have more confidence on. It's better to have an educated guess and move on than it is to miss out on potential easy questions because you ran out of time.
|=||refer to, occur, ..etc||A concept that people make choices to describe a situation in a positive or negative way is referred to as word framing
Word framing = ppl describe a situation in ✓ or X way.
|∵||Because, as a result of, due to, because, owing to||Due to the increasing popularity of e-books, there has been a fall in paper book sales.
∵↑e-books, paper books $↓
|∴||Therefore||Element 43 has radioactive decay, therefore element 43 doesn't last very long, which means if that ever had been present on earth,
it would have decayed ages ago.
Elem43 has radioa. decay ∴ it ≠ last long
|=>||result in, lead to, contribute to, give rise to, cause||Carbon dioxide significantly contributes to global warming.
CO => global warming
|≠||isn't, doesn't, don't, can't etc.||
Element 43 has radioactive decay, therefore element 43 doesn't last very long, which means if that ever had been present on earth,
it would decayed ages ago.
Elem43 has radioa. decay ∴ it ≠ last long
|+||many, lots of, a great deal of, etc.||Because potatoes have the ability to provide abundant and extremely nutritious food crop, no other
crop grew in Northern Europe. As a result, the nutrition of the general population improved tremendously and population
soared in the early 1800s.|
∵ potatoes /nutri crop/+vitamins => popul↑ in Europe 1800s
Older and more experienced birds who nest in the high density shrub areas have significantly more offspring than those
in low density areas, which suggests the choice of where to nest does have an impact on the number of chicks they have.
older birds /nest in high shrub ++offsprings birds/nest in low shrub
|+++||Superlatives||What was even more surprising were all the large
organisms that lived down there. The most distinctive of these was
something called the tube worm. Here, let me show you a picture.
The tube of the tube worm is really, really long. They can be up to one
and half meters long, and these tubes are attached to the ocean floor,
pretty weird looking, huh?
! +++special = tube warm /long/tubes attached to ocean floor
|-||Little, few, lack ,in short of/ be in shortage of, etc.||As I said the monsoon migrated itself, so there was less rain in the Sahara.
The land started to get drier, which in turn caused huge decreases in the amount of vegetation,
because vegetation doesn't grow as well in dry soil, right? And then, less vegetation means the soil can't hold water and
the soil loses its ability to retain water when it does rain. So then you have less moisture to help clouds form, nothing
to evaporate for cloud formation.
- rain in Sahara
land ++dry => vegetation↓
--vegetation => soil ≠ hold water => -water to form cloud
|!||Important, interesting||But what's particularly interesting about these volcanoes is that most of the volcanoes here on Earth are not shield volcanoes.
Instead, they are other volcano types, like strata volcanoes, for example, which are a result of tectonic plate movement.|
! volcanoes on earth ≠ shield volcanoes = strata volcanoes
tectonic plate => volcanoes on earth
|&||And, also, in addition, etc.|
|~||about/around, approximately, etc.|
|...||And so on|
|$||Sales, money, cost|
|x||Wrong, incorrect, bad, detrimental, negative, etc.|
|✓||Right, good, positive, etc.|