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How to Improve your TOEFL iBT Listening Skills–Without using a TOEFL Book! By Michael Buckhoff
So, you have decided to take the TOEFL iBT, and you are not sure if you are ready. Or, you have already taken the test and your ears weren’t fast enough for the long conversations and lectures on the listening, speaking and writing sections of the test. First, you should consider what listening skills you need when taking the test. Second, you should consider how you should go about getting those listening skills.
What You Need to Do During the listening section of the TOEFL iBT
(Listening competencies that Educational Testing Service is looking for.)
1. When instructors speak English, I can understand their directions about assignments and due dates.
2. I can understand a speaker’s attitude or opinion about what he or she is saying.
3. I can recognize why an English speaker is saying something (for example, to explain, to complain, to agree, to disagree).
4. I can understand the main ideas of lectures and conversations.
5. I can understand the relationships among ideas in a lecture.
6. After hearing a lecture in English, I can recognize which points are important and which are less important.
7. I can understand important facts and details of lectures and conversations.
8. I do not have any problem understanding what people say in English.
How You Can Develop Strong Listening Skills for the TOEFL iBT
(The following suggestions are aimed at students who are already living in the United States but can be easily adaptable to those living in other countries.)
Research shows that the more you immerse yourself into a new language, the more proficient you will become in your listening, which translates into a TOEFL iBT score of which you can be proud.
1. After three weeks of living in the US, start listening to the Radio and TV in English.
2. Begin listening to 5 and 10 minute segments of radio and TV.
Record and listen to the segments over and over. Then listen to 10 and 15 minute segments and gradually increase from there. The key is that you learn to concentrate while you listen. Try to catch the main ideas of the talks.
3. Join a club on campus or attend open forums, university discussions, or debates so that you can hear spoken English. Attend 1 or 2 meetings a week. Be an active participant by asking the speaker/participant questions.
4. If available, join an ESL conversation group to talk and make friends.
5. Join an intramural sports team so you can have contact with native speakers of English.
6. Attend all ESL and Open University Classes. Learn to anticipate questions about the lectures so that you can improve you note-taking abilities. Don’t miss class. The more academic English you can hear, the better your listening will become.
7. Don’t spend all your time talking with people from your own country.
8. You use the Internet to practice 3-5 minute long listening segments. Practice 3-6 times a week.
Over time and after regular practice, you will find that you will improve your listening comprehension proficiency.