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The TOEFL iBT will test your listening comprehension skills on the listening, speaking, and writing sections. Therefore, you should follow the flow of ideas so that you can get down, in note form, the main ideas and critical supporting points. Then, you can use your notes to answer listening comprehension questions, speaking tasks, and writing tasks. One skill you should spend time developing is improving your ability to differentiate between transitions and main ideas of campus-related discussions, academic discussions, and academic lectures.
During TOEFL iBT listening tasks, the speaker will sometimes change topics. Whether these transitions occur at the beginning or at the end of a listening task, you need to understand what the change at these key junctures signifies. For example, a lecture may begin like the following: In addition to hurricanes being powerful low-pressure centers that wreak havoc on low-lying coastal areas, tornadoes are another weather phenomenon that can cause a lot of damage.Of course, just from this listening segment, you could get two questions: What was the previous lecture about? What is the main idea of this lecture? The speaker uses the words “in addition to” and “another” as a way of strengthening the ties between the previous lecture of hurricane to the new lecture on tornadoes.
If you pay attention to rhetorical cues, you will better follow the flow of ideas. And guess what? Your TOEFL iBT score will skyrocket beyond your wildest imagination! During TOEFL iBT listening tasks, pay close attention to the beginning and end of the listening tasks and listen for signal words indicating a change of topic. Finally, make certain that you differentiate in your notes between the transition idea and the main idea of the talk.
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