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How to get a high TOEFL listening score

TOEFL Listening Preparation Guide

In this guide you will find TOEFL listening practice questions, TOEFL preparation tips, and TOEFL exam information to help you prepare successfully for your TOEFL listening test. This page contains everything you need to know and the essential skills for a high listening score.

TOEFL listening Practice

Below are lists of TOEFL listening questions. Feel free to start your TOEFL preparation now by selecting a question below.

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TOEFL Listening Introduction

The listening section is the second section of the TOEFL iBT test. It contains 2-3 tasks. Each task contains the following:
- 1 conversation: 2-3 minutes between two people
- 2 lectures: 4-6 minutes of either a professor delivering a speech or a professor interacting with students


Each listening audio will follow with a set number of questions:
- conversation: 5 questions
- lecture: 6 questions


So each task contains 17 questions and there are a total of 34-51 questions in the entire listening section. You will have 10 minutes in which to complete these 17 questions in each task. This does not include the time you spend on listening to the lectures or the conversation. The entire listening section (including time spent listening) will take you between 60 - 90 minutes to complete.

On the listening test, once you submit your answer, you CANNOT go back to it like you can on the reading test. Therefore, you cannot skip questions like on the reading test, so you may need to guess an answer if you get stuck. You cannot afford to spend too much time on one question as you may run out of time and potentially miss easy questions, so if you DO get stuck, unfortunately, you HAVE to move on.

How to Prepare for the TOEFL Listening Test

Many teachers will tell you to listen to spoken English from multiple sources such as English TV channels/radios as much as possible. This is not the most efficient way to study TOEFL listening! The type of material in the TOEFL® iBT is academic. The conversations and lectures in the Listening section are of academic nature. When it comes to passing TOEFL, you will not benefit much from watching movies and listening to music in English. Therefore, the most effective way to prepare for the TOEFL listening is to listen to the types of material that you’ll encounter on the official TOEFL listening test.
How to Study TOEFL Listening With TOEFL Listening Questions

First, you need to complete a TOEFL Listening practice and check your answers. It’s important to follow the allotted time frame. If you run out of time, do not complete the remaining questions. We want to help you improve and cheating will provide you with inaccurate data.

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?”.

Provent study method to improve your TOEFL listening score

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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