The main purpose of TOEFL listening syllabus is to help candidates in their preparation for listening test. The complete details in each part of the test are given in detail in this article.

TOEFL Listening Syllabus

Listening skill is considered as one of the basic need to take up TOEFL test. It is important for a non native English speaker to listen to English and understand the content, beyond the accent in which it is spoken. To help students from non native English speaking countries, to score well in listening section of the test, TOEFL listening syllabus was designed. The details in listening syllabus are explained in the following paragraphs.

Complete TOEFL Listening Syllabus

TOEFL listening syllabus is designed according to the format and timing given for listening test section in TOEFL. The test is offered in two formats namely an internet based format and paper based format. Even though most of the test centers offer internet based TOEFL, listening syllabus is designed in such a way that it meets both the requirements of paper based and the internet based listening test. Listening syllabus in TOEFL is structured as the following:

  • 4 to 6 recorded lectures, with each lecture 3 to 5 minutes long
  • Each lecture consists of 6 questions (total number of questions for the lecture part is 36)
  • 2 to 3 recorded conversation with each conversation 3 minutes long
  • There are 5 questions per conversation (total number of questions for conversation part is 15)

The recorded lecture would be a part of an academic lecture and there might also be a student participation in a few. The conversational recording happens between a student and a professor or a campus service provider.

Most of the lectures and conversations are accentuated in British and Australian. Questions in this part of syllabus, targets the ability of a candidate to understand hints and keywords, beyond the dialect of the speaker. Follow the subsequent guidelines:

  • Listening to a variety of accents would help familiarize oneself with the pronunciation
  • Building vocabulary and perfect usage of standard grammar rules would also help, to understand the meaning of a word according to the context
  • Taking down notes while listening is mandatory, as a student would get to know the important details given by the speaker
These guide lines play a vital role when a student enters the answering part. The questions in listening syllabus are asked to serve certain purposes that are stated in the following. The three guidelines that are stated above should be followed to meet the following purposes.

Comprehending the Purpose of the Passage - The lecture or a conversation can be heard only once. So making  notes will help a student to find the main idea of the passage , which in turn will provide the answer for the basic question i.e. basic understanding (main idea) of the passage.

Learning from Listening - This forms the base of the questions concerned with the key facts, cause of the events, relation between the important details and to categorize the relevant details. When a student completes the note making process, he/she must draw an outline to get an answer for these questions.

Inference from the Author’s point of View – The conclusion of a recording can be identified only, if it is analyzed from speaker’s point of view (inference).

The total number of words spoken by the speaker in the academic lecture and conversation ranges from 500 to 800.While preparing for TOEFL listening section, there are barriers like accent, vocabulary and usage which are faced by a student. Practice will make it easy for a student, to overcome these obstacles because while taking up the test, students (non native English speaker) should understand the content beyond the accent.

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