During the TOEFL iBT, you will have a lot of listening: campus-related talks, academic discussions, and lectures on the listening, speaking, and writing sections. To get a high TOEFL iBT score, you will need to understand and take notes on the keys points of these listening segments. Then, using your notes, you will answer listening comprehension questions, you will speak about what you hear, and you will write about what you hear. Therefore, both your listening and note-taking skills are needed in order for you to score high on the TOEFL iBT.
However, many of my TOEFL iBT students (And maybe you!) have considerable difficulty trying to understand because TOEFL iBT speakers use blending, the process of combining the final sound of one word to the beginning sound of another word. Blending is especially prevalent during TOEFL iBT campus-related discussions. Moreover, since the TOEFL iBT uses speakers from the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, you will listen to a variety of pronunciations which may make it hard for you to understand. So how do you get used to the very fast TOEFL iBT English that you will hear on the TOEFL iBT.
Obviously, you need to practice listening to TOEFL iBT listening exercises and concentrate deeply on what you hear. You should take notes of the main ideas and critical supporting points as you listen. This type of preparation is rigorous and mentally fatiguing, so you should supplement your TOEFL iBT listening practice with something more relaxing and less stressful: music.
Listening to one song a day every day until you get your target TOEFL iBT score is suggested.
1. Listen to the song and write down every word. Start and stop the song as many times as you need but make sure you can catch every word from the singer. This is called listening dictation.
2. Compare your transcription to the official lyrics. If you do not have the lyrics, typing the singer and the name of the song in your browser, do an internet search. As long as it is not an obscure song, you will easily find the lyrics.
3. Pay close attention where you incorrectly transcribed the song; then play the song again so that you can improve your listening abilities.
4. Once you have studied a song using steps 1-3, create a playlist on your music device so you can listen to the song as you complete your day-to-day activities. This reinforces what you learned earlier.
5. Your goal is to create a playlist of at least 30 songs.
This suggestion is a tired-and-true method of making your ears faster to conversational English. In fact, it helped me to improve my listening comprehension dramatically when I first studied Spanish.
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