The TOEFL Listening Section

The Listening Section of the TOEFL iBT Exam tests and measures the ability for the test-taker to comprehend spoken academic English at a University-level.  Such that would be encountered in lectures, conversations, study groups and other classroom or academic situations (films and other video material used in a classroom or study situation.)

The TOEFL Listening Section tests your ability to comprehend spoken academic English in various situations such as these.  According to the makers of the test, Academic listening is done for any of these few reasons.

The TOEFL Listening Section test these three areas:

Listening For Basic Comprehension – Listening For Pragmatic Understanding
Connecting And Synthesizing Information


Listening For Basic Comprehension


The question-types that fall under the the classification of the Listening For Basic Comprehension test:


  • the ability to understand the main idea, the key points and other important details related to the main idea of the listening.  (it is important to note, that it is not necessary to comprehend ALL of the details in a listening, but to get at least most of the key details.)


Listening For Pragmatic Understanding


The question-types that fall under the classification of the Listening For Pragmatic Understanding test:


  • the ability to recognize:
    • the attitude of the speaker in various situations
    • the reason for the people to be speaking in the first place


Connecting And Synthesizing Information


The question-types that fall under the classification of the Connecting And Synthesizing Information test:


  • the ability to recognize the organization of the information presented in the listening
  • the ability to to understand the relationships between the different ideas.  Such as: compare & contrast, cause & effect, or steps in a process or Sequence of events
  • the ability to make inferences and draw conclusions based upon the what is implied by what the speakers are saying.  In other words, to understand what the speaker means, rather than what the speaker says
  • the ability to recognize various bits of authentic spoken English which is not actually part of the topic being discussed in the lecture or conversation.  Such as: side statements, digressions, etc.
  • the ability to recognize the introductions and conclusions of a lecture and what information can be excluded in a conversation or lecture

Description of The TOEFL Listening Section

About The Listening Tracks
Listening Question Formats
Listening Question Types
Cool Features of The TOEFL Listening Section
Helpful Videos for the TOEFL Listening Section



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