TOEFL Listening - How to Take Notes

TOEFL Listening - How to Take Notes


The ability to take quick and effective notes is a valuable skill. These five tips will help you learn how to take notes and keep listening to the text at the same time.


Check out: Note-taking Skills for TOEFL, IELTS (Video)

  1. Know what to write down and what not to write down

You should write down main ideas, details about main ideas, and facts that are difficult to remember, such as dates, names, numbers etc. Do not write down insignificant words (the, a, an), random words, insignificant details, phrases that indicate organization (The main point is…)

  1. Use symbols and abbreviations

Did you ever want to create your own language when you were a kid? Here is your chance. You must create your own language in order to write faster and remember information. Think of it like texting and the abbreviations you make such as b/c for because and w/o for without.

  1. Anticipate the organization of the lecture

There are two main structures on the TOEFL test: a lecture with an introduction, body and conclusion or a narrative with a beginning, middle, and an end.

And there are styles of organization such as: theory and evidence, cause and effect, steps of a process, and comparison of two things. Make sure you listen at the beginning for clues for the organization style.

  1. Listen for transition and connector words

First, next, another, now… You should not write down these words, but mentally prepare for a change of topic. Remember that often the professor will ask a question when indicating a main point.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

Did you know how to walk when you were born? Of course you didn't. It all happened with practice. How can you practice? You can listen to radio programs, podcasts, movies, the news etc.

Check out: 8 Ways to Practice TOEFL Listening

Watch the full video to hear examples and valuable tips. And good look on your exam!


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