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The IELTS exam has four taped sections that become progressively
more challenging. The listening passages are on a variety
of current topics and are chosen for their suitability
for people entering university. IELTS candidates can only
hear the listening section once.
English learners often
feel the longer talks on the listening part are the
hardest part of the TOEFL test. Short conversations
often use a lot of English language idioms, but the
computer TOEFL exams have long talks, or lectures. These
are similar to academic listening that you would have
to do if you study at a university.
The listening section of the paper based TOEFL test
and the listening section of the online computer based
TOEFL test do differ. In the online TOEFL exam, the
questions integrate listening, visuals and reading skills;
therefore TOEFL test candidates must order steps or
click on maps or pictures referred to in the listening
texts. Questions in the computer based TOEFL test are
more challenging than in the paper based version of
TOEFL because they involve such tasks as classification,
ordering, referring, and insertion. Added to this, the
listening section of the computer based TOEFL test is
computer adaptive. This means that at the beginning
of the section, TOEFL test candidates will be given
one moderately difficult listening question. If this
is answered correctly, the next question will be more
difficult. If the answer is incorrect, the next question
will be easier. There is no specific number of questions
in this section of the computer based TOEFL test. The
number of questions depends on the answers given to
previous questions. You have only one chance to listen
to each question or conversation.
For the FCE - (Cambridge first certificate English) listening
test there are four parts and 30 questions. Part 1 has
8 questions, Part 2 has 10, Part 3 has 5 questions and
Part 4 has 7. The listening section is 40 minutes long
and FCE exam candidates can hear the listening texts twice.
The listening section is worth 40 marks; 20% of the total
The types of listening
skills you need to learn for ESL tests include:
- listening to identify
the gist of a conversation or monologue extracting
specific factual information
- listening to identify speaker
- listening to identify
relationships between ideas or pieces of information,
such as: - cause and effect - order of events - comparison
- following directions
- listening for numbers,
dates, time, etc.
- making inferences
- determining when
a speaker is expressing fact, assumption or opinion.
- listening for main points, detail,
function, location, roles and relationships, mood,
attitude, intention, feeling or opinion
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