TOEFL listening sample questions will help in providing a real time experience in listening test section. The main purpose of this document is to give guidelines on how to answer all the questions in listening section.

TOEFL Listening Sample Questions

Listening skills is considered as one of the criteria to take up TOEFL test. Sample questions in TOEFL listening section aims not only to provide the format, but also to help a person to understand the content which a speaker intends to convey. Therefore TOEFL sample questions are divided according to two parts that are mentioned in the following.

Sample Questions for TOEFL Listening Section

The questions for listening test are designed on a student’s observation from an audio, which contains an academic material. The time allotted for a paper based listening section is 40 minutes and for internet based one it is 90 minutes. Questions in listening questions are divided into two parts namely

A. Recorded Academic Lecture

B. Recorded Academic Conversation

Detailed information on the types of TOEFL sample questions for listening section are given below. The following sample Lecture and Conversation are given in the form of an audio in listening section at the time of the actual test:

Academic Lecture and Sample Questions:

Prof: You've been reading about animal behavior. Today we'll discuss one of the most astonishing behaviors in the animal world: dancing bees. Did you know that bees can dance? Well, neither did scientists, until the 1960s. That's when a German scientist, named, uh, Karl von Frisch, noticed something truly remarkable. As he was observing honeybees, he noticed that some of the bees, which he called scout bees, flew out of the hive to look for food. When a scout found a site where there was food, it flew back to the beehive and started dancing. This dance somehow told the other honeybees where the food was, because after the dance, the bees... [False start] some of the bees flew from the hive straight to the site of the food. Von Frisch called the bees that collect the food forager bees. He thought the scout bee's dance told the forager bees three things -- first, the smell of the food it had found; second, which direction to fly to reach the food; and third, the distance of the food site from the beehive. Von Frisch won the 1973 Nobel Prize for this discovery, but many scientists were skeptical of his theory. They didn't believe it was the dance that led the forager bees to food. Instead, they thought it might be, oh, the smell of the food on the dancing bee, or maybe that they just followed the scout back to the food site. Well, very recently, some British scientists used a new type of radar to prove that von Frisch's theory was indeed correct. It is the dance that communicates this information to other bees.

The British researchers found that scout bees perform two types of dances. If the food is near the hive, say, oh, about 50 or 60 meters away, the scout flies in a round pattern, like a circle. This tells the location, but not the direction, of the food site. If the site is farther away, the scout does what's called a waggle dance. It flies in a pattern of ovals and vertical lines. The speed of the waggle dance tells other bees how far away the food site is. The slower the dance, the farther away the food. If the scout flies in a vertical line up the side of the beehive, it's telling the foragers to fly directly toward the sun. If the scout flies vertically down the hive, it's saying, "fly away from the sun." Up is toward, down is away. If the scout flies at an angle to the hive, it's telling the foragers to fly neither toward nor away from the sun, but in between. The bees have a special internal mechanism to know which angle they should fly, based on the sun, the hive and the food site. They can also measure the distance they fly by recording the motion of things they see as they fly past.

Now, um, one problem with von Frisch's theory had been this: It seems to take the forager bees a long time to reach the food site. That's why ... [false start] That's why scientists thought that perhaps it wasn't the waggle dance that led them there. For many years, scientists couldn't follow the foragers after they left the hive, because they didn't have the technology. Just a few years ago, though, the British scientists solved this problem using a new type of radar. They were able to attach a, uh, small radio transmitter to forager bees -- I don't know how, but they did. This enabled them to follow the forager bees' flight after they left the hive. The radar showed that foragers, do, in fact, fly straight to the area of the food site. They don't follow the scout bee back to the site, because the scout goes into the hive after it finishes dancing. Well then, if the waggle dance does lead the foragers directly to the food site, why does it take so long for them to find the actual food? The answer is that the waggle dance leads the foragers only to the general area of the food. It doesn't tell them the exact location of the flowers or plants that have the food. So the foragers have to spend a while flying around the area before they find the exact location of what they’re looking for.

1. Which aspect of bee behavior does the professor mainly discuss?

A. Reproduction 

B. Hibernation 

C. Organization 

D. Communication

Ans: D

Professor is discussing about the way the bees communicate. This is a central idea question where the speaker narrates how do bees communicate with one another to convey the message that one of them have found the where about of food.

2. Why does the professor mention radar?

A. To explain how bees know which way to fly 

B. To show how a theory was proved correct 

C. To illustrate problems with the waggle dance 

D. To confirm the accuracy of the round dance

Ans: B

Professor states that British Scientists used radar to which is attached to forager bees in order to record their behaviour to show the proof. This is how a purpose question is formed.

3. According to the professor, what does the waggle dance tell forager bees?

A. The distance of the food site from the hive 

B. The exact location of the food at the site 

C. How much food they will find at the site 

D. The weather conditions at the food site

Ans: A

A detail connecting question is asked in this fashion. Here the readers might assume, that the scout bee is conveying the message which shows where the food is located.  The professor states that,” This dance somehow told the other honeybees where the food was, because after the dance, the bees... [False start] some of the bees flew from the hive straight to the site of the food”. This means that the scout bee is conveying the message, how much is the distance between bee hive and the food.

4. What does the professor imply when he says this: I don't know how, but they did.

A. The scientists should have been more careful. 

B. It is difficult to put transmitters on bees. 

C. It is not a good idea to use radar with bees. 

D. He does not know how transmitters work.

Ans: B

This is a pronoun reference question. Here the pronoun “they” refers to the noun “transmitters”.

5. What can be inferred about how forager bees find food?

A. They rely solely on the information from the waggle dance. 

B. They rely completely upon their senses of sight and smell. 

C. They use the waggle dance to reach the area of the food. 

D. They use their senses to find the exact location of food.

Ans: D

This is called as an inference question. Here the speaker did not provide the conclusion directly. In the last few lines the professor says,” waggle dance leads the foragers only to the general area of the food” which is implied that the bees use their senses to locate the food.

Academic Conversation and Sample Questions:

M (professor): There is one more section I'd like to spend a few moments reviewing before we close our books for the day. Who here remembers the film we watched last month on hazardous wastes?

W: You mean the one about computer and television monitors?

Professor: Yes, that's the one Lisa. In the film they discussed why some States are making it illegal to dump monitors into regular landfills. Can anyone remember the reason? Yes, Lisa?

W:'s because of the cathode ray tubes, also known as CRT's, inside them. These tubes are high in lead content, and the lead can leak into the ground water. Right?

M: Excellent. It's nice to know that some of you were listening even though it wasn't the most upbeat documentary. Now, does anyone remember the reason why manufacturers place lead in the CRT's of computer and TV monitors in the first place?

W: The tubes are infused with lead in order to shield the viewer from harmful x-rays. There is no known alternative at this time, but I think the film said that researchers are working on it.

M: Yes, that's true. And why wasn't this a problem twenty years ago? Why is it suddenly a major concern?

W: That's simple. It's because nearly every household in the U.S. has a television, and many have three or four. My family is guilty of this, I admit. And, not only are that...people throwing out their TV and computer monitors in order to keep up with the new technology. You know, like the flat screen LCD monitors. With the digital age upon us, this is going to pose even more of a problem. I have to admit, I got a new plasma TV a few months ago, and there was nothing wrong with my old TV.

M: Well, I'm sure you're not the only one Lisa. Now, since you're on a roll...why can't these old monitors just be recycled?

W: Well, unlike paper and plastics, there just aren't any services that provide this type of recycling. According to the film, a lot of companies that recognize the threat are storing their unused equipment in warehouses until some better solutions become available.

M: Yes, and this brings us to our next film. Lisa would you mind dimming the lights? This film is titled Landfill Solutions. It deals with a number of products that can be recycled through innovative means.


1. What is the main topic of the discussion?

A. Harmful televisions

B. A landfill concern

C. Computer equipment

D. Recycling films

Ans: B

This is main idea question. Choice B is the correct answer because the central idea of the conversation does not say that televisions are harmful. It talks about the regular landfill where monitors are dumped in at times. The purpose of this conversation is to show the harm caused by cathode ray tubes, which is inside the monitor. These cathode ray tubes contain high amount lead, which might leak into the ground water.

2. What makes monitors hazardous to the environment?

A. SRT's

B. X-rays

C. Cathode ray tubes

D. Landfills

Ans: C

This is a detail question. Here answer c is the correct choice .The question intends to ask what is the element responsible for making the monitors dangerous to environment. Obviously it is the cathode ray tubes and not the monitor itself.

3. According to Lisa, why can't monitors be recycled?

A. They are too expensive to reuse.

B. There are no companies that provide this service.

C. People are too lazy to take them to recycling plants.

D. Companies prefer to store them for future use.

Ans: B

This is a relationship question. Speaker Lisa means that it can neither be recycled nor can be stored in warehouses, as it will cause some other threat. Above all there is no such service provided by the companies to recycle them, like they do for paper and plastics.

4. What does Lisa mean when she says this:

A. Her family has thrown monitors in the garbage.

B. Her family owns a lot of television sets.

C. Her family feels bad about how much TV they watch.

D. Her family doesn't care about the environment.

Ans: B

This is an understanding function question. According to the conversation Lisa says that they own a lot of television sets and it is not mentioned anywhere in conversation that her family have thrown away the sets into garbage.The basic understanding of this question is in order themselves Lisa’s family owns a lot of television set.

5. What will the class do next?

A. Visit a landfill site.

B. Dissect a computer monitor.

C. Watch another film.

D. Review the film about monitors.

Ans: C

This question makes connection between relevant details. Answer c is the correct answer due to the fact they are going to watch a movie on innovative methods of recycling objects. It is obvious from the previous documentary they have been watching. It shows that there is no service provided to recycle the monitors. But the concluding part talks about something contradictory. The professor asks Lisa to dim the lights since they are going to watch a different movie, but on the same concept of recycling objects. This is where the new movie and the old movie gets connected.

The questions stated under both lecture and conversation can be answered on certain guidelines. While listening to lecture and conversation part, making notes will help to follow these guidelines namely observing the attitude of the speaker, main purpose of the speaker, to imbibe the content and not to get distracted by the accent and to find the relationship between the relevant details.

That’s why it is always a best practice to watch English movies, English news channels and to listen to recorded academic material. This kind of practice will be helpful in overcoming the main barriers like accent and vocabulary.

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