GUIDE TO THE LISTENING TEST OF TOEFL iBT : GENERAL OVERVIEW & TECHNICAL INSTRUCTIONS

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By general purpose, the second section of the TOEFLiBT which is the listening part basically aims to test your understanding of spoken material and your ability to answer questions about the conversations as well as the lectures that you hear from the recording audio. It practically contains two conversations and four lectures that usually take place in a university setting, and some of the listening tests in addition to that may also include an extra unscored conversation or lecture.

Perhaps, it is often the case that you as the test-taker will not know which recording will be the unscored one. So, it is important for you to perform well with your ears opened to all of the conversations or lectures while they are being played. After all, by the time when you are done listening to each conversation or lecture from the audio, there is a set of questions which will ask you about the information that has already been presented in the first place.

The following skills that are tested under this listening section include the abilities to:

a. Understand the main idea or topic of the conversation/lecture

b. Understand supporting ideas and details of the conversation/lecture

c. Draw the inferences

d. Identify the speaker’s purpose, method, and attitude

e. Recognize the relationship between parts of a lecture (cause and effect, comparison/contrast, chronological series of events, etc)

f. Understand how the speaker’s intonation affects the meaning of spoken material

g. Analyze and categorize information presented in order to complete the summaries, diagram, charts provided

Technically, when you begin the listening section of your test, you will see a computer screen with a photograph of a test-taker wearing a set of headphones. In other words, the instruction that you see on screen simply tells you to get ready and put on your headphones.

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As you notice from the navigating tools displayed on the top, they basically are the toolbar panels. So, the next screen after you put on your headphones will tell you how to change the volume by clicking on the volume icon on the toolbar button. Subsequently, after you click on the dismiss directions button on the toolbar, the listening section begins immediately. Here is the example.

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By looking from the displayed instruction, the toolbar button number 1 practically tells you that you are taking the listening section at the moment. Button number 2 tells you the number of question that you are working on as well as the total number of questions that you must answer.

Moving on to button number 3 is a clock that keeps track of the amount of time you have to work on the listening section. Then, on the right side of the toolbar are the ‘Testing Tools’. As for this specific navigating panel, the help button (number 5) gives you the direction for the listening section, however, it won’t provide you with any real help at all.

After you have answered a question, you need to click on the OK button (number 6) to confirm your answer, and then click on the Next button (number 7) to proceed to the next question. Remember! You cannot rewind or go back to a previous question the moment you have confirmed your answer or listen to a talk for the second time. Overall, the listening section of TOEFLiBT test is not computer adaptive. In other words, the level of difficulty as you proceed will not change according to your ability to answer the previous question that you have already worked on.

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