TOEFL Listening Test: Format, Pattern, Tips, Score Calculator

By Samarpita Goswami Updated On - Aug 02, 2022 09:47 AM

To prepare for the listening section TOEFL exam, you need to understand the exam pattern and the kinds of questions it asks. Let us discuss the details like Format, Pattern, Tips, and Score Calculator before kickstarting your TOEFL Listening preparation

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The TOEFL listening test is an integral part of the TOEFL exam and to score well, you need to understand the TOEFL exam pattern will help you get a better score on the test. It also helps you prepare for the questions that will be asked. In this guide, we will cover the entire TOEFL pattern. We will also give you key tips on how to use the test pattern to your advantage. For the entire TOEFL test, we will go over the pattern and provide a rundown of the sections. We will also talk about the various features of the paper-delivered test.

The TOEFL iBT's listening section is designed to help you improve your ability to understand lectures and conversations in English. This section helps you improve your listening skills by assessing how well you understand different parts of a lecture or a conversation.

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TOEFL Exam Format

The TOEFL iBT is a four-hour test that consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, speaking, and writing. Each section has its main skill that you will need to master. The Reading and Listening sections are timed. They vary in length due to the experiments that they contain. The Reading and Listening sections typically last for around 60 to 90 minutes.

There will be no indication of which questions are experimental or not. Instead, just try your best to answer all the questions correctly. During the middle of the test, which is between the Speaking and Listening sections, there will be a 10-minute break. This break is mandatory. The following table shows the order of the sections, as well as the number of questions each section has.

Section

Order

Time

No. of Questions

Reading

1

60-80 mins

36-56 questions

Listening

2

60-90 mins

34-51 questions

Break

3

10 mins

Speaking

4

20 mins

6 tasks

Writing

5

50 mins

2 tasks

TOTAL

About 4 hrs

TOEFL Listening Section Format and Exam Pattern

The TOEFL listening section includes listening for fundamental comprehension and listening for pragmatic understanding. There are two types of listening items in the speaking section: lectures and conversations. Lectures and conversations are usually 3 to 5 minutes long, and they use campus-based language. Each conversation lasts for about 3 minutes, and it has 5 questions. During this time, take notes on any audio item. The test features a variety of listening skills that are related to the main idea of the test. 

The listening section of the TOEFL test is designed to assess your ability to understand lectures and conversations. The test consists of listening for basic and connecting information. It also tests your ability to synthesize and analyze information. The standard listening section of the test consists of 28 questions and is 41 minutes long. The experimental section includes 39 questions and is 57 minutes long.

You can take notes on all the sections of the exam. The test center administrator will also give you pencils and scratch paper. 

TOEFL Listening Category 1 - Conversations

A conversation is a pair of people who are always students and one of them is the professor. The other person can be a student or a faculty member. These discussions usually take place in various locations on a college campus. They are usually focused on university life and can last for about 3 minutes.

TOEFL Listening Category 2 - Lectures

In a lecture, the professor provides short lectures on a variety of academic subjects. Lecture topics can vary depending on the complexity of the course. Some examples of these include astronomy, anthropology, archaeology, and art history. The duration of these lectures ranges from 4 to 6 minutes.

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Themes of TOEFL Listening Section

We've already covered the listening tips for the test and talked about some of the things to avoid during the exam. However, these tips are only useful if your English skills are good enough. If they are not, how can you answer the questions?

If you're not good enough at listening, there's no quick fix. You have to practice and improve it. Understanding the nature of the test's listening recordings will help you prepare properly.

1. Natural Speech - The listening section of the TOEFL test is designed to evaluate a student's ability to handle life in an English speaking environment. During the test, students will hear various types of English language phrases and idioms. If they're not used to this kind of speech, they might not pass the test.

2. Academic Lectures -  It's very easy to get lost while listening to a lecture, especially since it's usually about 4 minutes long. Getting lost is also easy since a lecture is typically long enough to get distracted from the main topic.

3. Academic Keywords -  In TOEFL listening lectures, you'll often hear words that are not usually used in English. For instance, some academic words related to biology might not be familiar to you.

4. Different Accents - Aside from English, the test also includes accents from other countries, such as Australia and the U.K. Try listening to news reports and TV shows from these regions to prepare for the test.

TOEFL Listening Score Calculator

There are 34 questions in the TOEFL listening section and each question has a raw score of 1. The raw score is on a scale of 0-34. It is then converted on a scale of 1 to 30 which is your scaled TOEFL listening score and is published on your report card. Here is a list of TOEFL listening raw scores being converted to TOEFL scaled scores:

TOEFL Scaled Listening Score

TOEFL Listening Raw Score

0

8 and below

1

9

2

10

3

11

4

12

5

13

6

14

7

15

8

16

9

17

10

18

11

-

12

19

13

20

14

21

15

22

16

23

17

24

18

25

19

26

20

27

21

-

22

28

23

-

24

29

25

30

26

31

27

32

28

-

29

33

30

34

Tips to Ace the TOEFL Listening Section

Whether you already know the English language or are still learning it, improving your listening skills can help improve your TOEFL test score. Here are some tips that can help you ace the listening section of TOEFL Exam:

Listen to the Main Idea

Most of the time, the student's first question following a lecture is usually related to the main idea. The first question that students usually ask after a lecture is the main idea. This is very popular since it helps them identify the main idea. At the start of the lecture, the professor usually talks about the main idea of the course. However, sometimes, he or she might veer away from this topic and introduce a new one.

Pay Attention to the Speaker’s Tone of Voice

Sometimes, people ask about the opinions or attitudes of the speakers. Before answering these questions, pay attention to the tone of the voice of the individual.

Comprehend the Connection of Author’s Ideas

Before listening to a lecture, note the way the ideas are connected. This will help you identify the various ideas in the presentation. One of the main ideas that can be linked to a lecture is how the professor organized the presentation. Doing so can help you identify different ways to approach the same issue.

Focus on Key Points and Details

Although listening questions are designed to test your understanding of the concepts mentioned in the lecture, they do not test your ability to identify small details.

Identify the Signal Words

To capture key points in a lecture, you need to learn how to listen for transition words and signal words. These words help you keep track of the beginning and end of the lecture.

Make an Educated Guess for Difficult Questions

Don't give up when you can't predict the answer. Instead, try to come up with a strategy that fits the main idea of the lecture.

Follow the Sequence

The questions that are presented in the listening section should be answered in order they were asked.

Decide a Time Limit for Your Question

If you spend too much time on a particular question, it might end up costing you time. Instead, try to answer other questions that are more challenging and provide a better answer.

TOEFL Listening Section - Verdict

Many teachers suggest that students listen to English-language broadcasts and newspapers in order to improve their listening skills. However, this method is not very efficient for studying. The purpose of the TOEFL listening test is to determine how well you can communicate with others in English. This means that you should not rely on listening to movies and music in order to improve your skills. Following academic structure is the right way to score higher in the academic TOEFL Listening Section. 

For more doubts and queries related to the TOEFL listening section or any other exam preparation, write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com.

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FAQs

Is TOEFL listening hard?

TOEFL listening is not as hard as it might seem to be. But, the only con of the TOEFL listening section is that you need to hear large chunks of information and have to retain them in memory. This problem can, however, be overcome by making notes and retaining the most important information.

Is 27 a good TOEFL listening score?

Yes, 27 is a good TOEFL listening section score. Anything above the average score of 21 is considered as good for the TOEFL listening section. A score of more than 26 will take you to the 75th percentile. The top universities generally require a listening score of more than 25 therefore a score of 27 will put you in a good place.

How can I practice listening in TOEFL?

You can practice listening in TOEFL by following some simple guidelines. It is necessary to take notes while listening to the recordings as you cannot remember every bit of information. Speaker’s tone and voice are important as questions come on the attitude of speakers. Keep track of how the ideas are connected to the text as it will help you to answer questions even if you are not sure of them.

How long is the TOEFL listening section?

The TOEFL listening section ranges from 41 to 57 minutes. The length of the TOEFL listening section depends on whether you get experimental questions or not. There can be five audio clips to listen to and answers have to be given based on the questions that will follow the clips.

How many questions come in TOEFL listening?

The number of questions that come in TOEFL listening is 28 to 39. In standard TOEFL listening sections, 28 questions come and if experimental questions come, then the total number of questions reaches 39. Students get around 35 sections to answer each question. 6 questions come from each lecture and 5 questions come from conversations.

What is the TOEFL listening syllabus?

The TOEFL listening section syllabus consists of three to four lectures which are around three to five minutes long with passages containing 500 to 800 words. There are two to three conversations about three minutes long that contain 15 to 25 mutual dialogue exchanges. As the listening section syllabus requires alertness, students have to attentively listen to the audio.

Is TOEFL listening harder than IELTS listening?

TOEFL listening section may seem harder to students than the IELTS listening section as students can answer the questions while listening to the audio in IELTS. On the other hand, in the TOEFL listening section, students have to take notes while listening to the recordings and can answer only during the time allotted to complete this section.

What type of questions are asked in the TOEFL listening section?

There are eight types of questions that are asked in the TOEFL listening section. They are detail questions, inference questions, attitude questions, function questions, gist content questions, gist purpose questions, connecting content questions and organisation questions. With thorough practice, you will be able to understand the types of questions and the ways to answer them.

Where can I practice for the TOEFL listening section?

You can practice the TOEFL listening section with the help of our study abroad coaches who have years of experience in training students to excel in standardised exams like TOEFL with the help of our test-prep services. They will guide you with strategies and tips to excel in the TOEFL listening section.

Do I need headphones for TOEFL listening?

Headphones are not allowed for the home version of TOEFL listening. But if you are appearing at the TOEFL test centre, you will be provided noise-reducing headphones. There is a special microphone attached to it for the purpose of speaking. The volumes of the headphones can be set before the TOEFL exam begins.

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