Lots of different skills are involved in doing well on this part of the exam, however the most important one is simply being able to listen to and understand spoken English. That’s a difficult skill for many students, even for those who are competent in reading and writing in English. So, how do you improve this skill? The answer is by practicing. Every time you listen to spoken English you get a bit better at understanding it. You want to listen to as much spoken English as you can. There are two kinds of spoken English tested on the TOEFL – academic lectures and conversations. You need to get as much practice as you can, listening to factual presentations and conversations in English. Here are eight ways to do that:
Check out: TOEFL Reading and Listening Tips (Video)
#1: Voice of America
This is a service run by the US government and it has a great series called Learning English. There you can find news reports, conversations and even classes on how to speak English.
BBC is also a good option. They also have a service called Learning English which includes news and reports you can listen to as well as English conversations. On the TOEFL you’ll be listening to North American accents, while with the BBC you’ll hear British accents.
NPR is a great source to hear North-American English. It doesn’t have a channel specifically designed for English learners, so this is probably a better option once you’re better at English.
On TV you can hear a lot of conversations. “Friends” is a very popular show for English students.
Movies are another great way to hear lots of conversations. One recent movie with a lot of conversation and a clear accent is “The Hunger Games”.
#6: TED Talks
While TV and movies are great ways of practicing conversation, TED Talks are very good for practicing lectures. They’re also full of fascinating information and tips.
Try using subtitles when you’re watching movies or television. Most videos there days include automatic subtitles, so you can show the text and follow along as you listen. Once you’ve had some practice, you can turn the subtitles off and see how well you understand.
The platform is full of videos that give you great ways to practice English. You can also add subtitles by clicking the CC button at the bottom of the screen.