Tips for the TOEFL listening

TOEFL Listening is considered the hardest part of the TOEFL test. In the listening part, you have to listen to lectures in a wide range of fields, from astrology to archaeology, with vocabulary that may have never reached your ears once before. In this post, we will provide some small tips that can help you do well in the listening part of the TOEFL test.

Write only keywords or phrases

As a matter of fact, your writing speed can never be comparable to the professor’s talking in the TOEFL listening. Thus, do not ever write down every word you hear; keywords are enough. When you are listening, don’t let some trivial words or phrases distract you; all you should focus on is to catch the keywords or main phrases and script them down as quickly as possible.


Neat format

Writing as fast as you can is good, but try to put everything in a neat format. A messy note will make it difficult for you to pick out the necessary information for the questions; and remember one thing: time is limited. Try to use indentation, charts, numbers or marks to show the orders and relationships between phrases or words. A proper note is one of the most powerful weapons for the TOEFL test.

Catch the main topics

To make it easier for you to understand the lectures, try your best to catch the main topic, which usually lies in the first two sentences. The professor always states what area and the main issue he is going to discuss before starting his lecture, so listen carefully and write them on the top of you note. Knowing the main topic helps you generate some basic ideas and related vocabulary in your mind so that you can catch the words easily when you hear it during the listening. Also, even if you cannot listen to anything, at least you can make guesses based on your knowledge (or luck, maybe).

Take note in your native language

Who said that your notes have to be in English? Try taking notes in your native language! If you hear a word whose meaning you remember, but cannot recall its spelling, you can use your native language instead of wasting your time trying to write it in English. Also, if some certain English words are longer than the words with same meanings in your native language, feel free to choose the shorter forms. No one marks your note, so you can write whatever you want in any way you like; as long as you can answer the questions, everything will be fine.

Keep calm

The fundamental thing to remember when you are taking the TOEFL is to keep calm. TOEFL is very tough and intensive, but you have prepared well, so there is no reason to be afraid. If you cannot understand anything in listening, try to write down every word or number that you hear. Even if you miss an important keyword, keep on listening and taking note instead of panicking and torturing yourself. The more you panic, the more words you will miss and the more mistakes you will make.


We hope that the tips above can help you in some ways. If you have any other tips or experiences, feel free to share with us. We Hope to hear you Speak!  

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