Renewed: 01.09.2014, 17:51

Listening

General Advice

  1. A key element of the listening test is that you have time after each segment to check your answers. You also have time before each text to read what is next on your paper. Use this time. If you know what the possible answers say, you can listen for the ideas.
  2. In between each section, you will have time to relax and empty your brain of what has gone before. Please empty your brains thoroughly at this point so you are ready to listen attentively in the next section.
  3. Once you have answered a question, move on. Studies have shown that if you go back and start second-guessing yourself, you’ll change your answer from a correct one to one that’s not so much so. Go with your gut instincts when you’re not sure. There’s no penalty for guessing. If you can’t answer a question, make your best guess and then leave it.
  4. The questions will not test your knowledge in English on specific vocabulary or grammar, but your ability to understand both the key points and the details of a recording.
  5. You will have to read, listen, and write, in that order, so be calm and ready. Focus.
  6. The best practice you can do is listen to a variety of texts in a variety of accents. Our tests mostly use speakers with American and British accents, so focus on those. The internet and television are your friends, so use them both well.
  7. For sentence completion tasks, once you have written you answer, go back and reread the entire statement to make sure it makes sense.
 

 Specific Advice

  1. Read the questions first and focus on the key words to listen for.
  2. The information in one question or answer may help you as a lead-in to the next, so stay with the flow of information. Your predicting skills can help here, so get out your crystal ball. Use what you read in the questions and previous answers to predict what’s coming next. This is not so much a conscious activity as subconscious.
  3. If you miss one question, forget it and go on to the next. It is much better to miss one question than to sit and rack your brain and miss the entire next text.
  4. Listen for synonyms from the question or stem. They are your friends.
  5. Try not to obsess about words you hear that you don’t recognize. Keep listening. You can figure some things out from context. Try to get the general idea, with some details.
  6. Always look at the example. It tells you what we’re generally looking for and indicates where question 1 will start.
  7. The stem you see in the question is a great clue to what we’re looking for. Based on the way it’s set up, you can even predict what grammar units we’re looking for.
  8. Sometimes we will want you to copy information directly from the recording (i.e., in a chart). In other answers, we want you to generalize and talk about key points, without quoting directly from the recording. In other words, sometimes we want you to use our words and sometimes your own.
  9. After you’re finished, go back and reread your answers to check for grammar and spelling errors. Then empty your brain for the next part.

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