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How to Practice Listening
There are a few different ways that you can study listening, that you can practice listening. I’m going to talk about three different methods in this lesson. So first, how do you practice listening in a more general setting for general listening practice? Not just for the.
How do you get better at listening to english? All right well, my first recommendation is this three times approach. If it’s possible this is really, really helpful. So, you’re gonna listen to a recording three times. The first time, you’re just listening. This will make more sense in a moment, but the first time don’t repeat things, don’t listen to the same phrase again and again.
And just listen for the big ideas, the big picture. You only need the gist, not all the details. If you don’t understand something exactly. Well, guess what you think it probably means. And then, you’re going to come back and listen again to get all the details the second time.
That second time, you’re not only listening but reading, too. So that will give you all of the details and all of the vocabulary and phrases and maybe new grammar structures that you didn’t know before. So this is really helpful for building your vocabulary. But, were not done. If you’re going to really learn the new phrases and new vocabulary, you need to practice saying them, you need to practice sounding like the person who speaks in the recording that you listen to.
This helps with your pronunciation, with your accent, a lot as well. So, the third time you listen and repeat. And when you do this, when you listen and repeat, it might take a long time because you might repeat the same sentences again and again. Here, your goal is to get the speed and sound of a native speaker or a near native speaker.
So, you’re going to stop a recording after every phrase or sentence and repeat it in the same way that is sounded. So, you’re really focusing on not just what words are here, but how it sounds and the purpose of this is two fold. First, you are improving you’re pronunciation to sound more like a native speaker but also you’re learning how it sounds when a native speaker says something.
By imitating it you learn better what the natives sound is. And that means when you listen the first time to another recording you will better be able to understand the native accent, the native sound. If you can comfortably imitate it yourself then you can understand it when you hear it better. Okay, so this is nice if you can do it.
And there’s not always an opportunity for it, because you need a listening and text right for Step 2. And you need to be able to repeat it for Step 3. Videos are really the most helpful here. You can watch documentaries for one, documentaries are great for the TOEFL because they are more likely to be academic not about stories like drama in movies or TV but really about information, about history, that’s more like the TOEFL.
TED talks are great for this. Ted.com has lots and lots and lots of talks in English with subtitles, so that you can do that read and listen practice. Step 2, very, very easily with TED talks. And other TV and movies, just in general, is quite helpful, but I should warn you, that other TV and movies might not be so helpful for the TOEFL in particular because if you’re looking at American TV shows, sitcoms it’s not very similar to the style of recording you hear on the TOEFL.
The vocabulary might be different, it might be more conversational, there may be more idioms that are not like idioms on the TOEFL, et cetera. But, it doesn’t hurt, it can only help your general understanding, so it’s still good to do. I recommend doing more than just watching Iron Man with subtitles. You should also be doing something academic, something with information and history.
Okay. What about when you can’t do this three times practice? For example, if you are on the subway or if you’re driving your car, how do you read and listen in those cases? You might not be able to. Are you walking down the street?
That’s okay. Listening anywhere and everywhere is still helpful. So, I do recommend listening when you’re traveling even if you can’t watch a video. So, you could watch some podcasts or, sorry, listen to some podcasts, talk radio, anything that has people speaking for a long time about one subject, one topic similar to lectures in the TOEFL.
And you could also listen to recorded lectures. There are many Universities that offer recorded lectures just like this, and I will provide a link underneath this video to a blog post, which has those recorded lectures, or has a link to some recorded lectures that you can practice with. So, when you are moving around, continue with that TOEFL-like listening practice.
Really, though, anything that’s in English is helpful. Keep listening in English all the time, if you can. If you have more specific TOEFL-like practice. That’s better for training how to take the test, right. Watching a Ted.com video is very helpful for your listening but it doesn’t teach you how to take the TOEFL exactly.
So for that, when you do TOEFL practice, imitate the test. So, take notes when you listen, listen first, and then answer the questions only listening once, and do not read the questions before you listen because that is not similar to the test you want to imitate it. So, listen one time and then after you listen look at the questions.
Answer all the questions after listening again, after listening, right? Don’t start the questions, don’t look at the questions before you listen. But answer all the questions after listening, not just one question, then listen again, and another question, then listen again. It’s not like that. And you’ll want to listen a second time or third time after you answer all the questions.
You can actually use the three times method, right? First, you listen then, you listen and read and then listen and repeat. And that is very helpful, it’s extra helpful if you’re also getting TOEFL practice, right? First, you imitate the test, and then you do the 3x method.
That’s probably the best way to practice TOEFL listening in general. Okay, so to recap there are really three ways you can practice here. First, there’s watching videos with the 3x method. You can do it while traveling just anywhere, everywhere as often as possible. Radio is very helpful. Talk radio.
And imitating the test with TOEFL practice material like Magoosh or like official material from ETS. And when you do that remember to imitate the test as closely as possible.
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