Strategies for Boosting Your TOEFL® Listening Score: Selecting Suitable Materials and Methods

The TOEFL® exam serves the purpose of providing information for university admissions, assessing students’ English communication abilities within an academic environment. Elevating your TOEFL score requires aligning your study materials and methods with the English used in academic settings, particularly in the context of TOEFL listening.

Choosing Authentic Listening Materials

1. Importance of Authenticity

TOEFL Official Guide emphasizes real-world contexts such as university lectures and laboratory interactions as the basis for exam content. This underscores the significance of selecting authentic study materials.

2. Discrepancies in Language Exposure

Highlighting disparities between English encountered in Chinese classrooms and authentic foreign classrooms. Traditional classroom listening materials lack background noise and often lose spoken language nuances, such as idiomatic expressions and intonation patterns.

3. Value of Authentic Content

Exploring the concept of “authentic content” in language learning. Regular exposure to authentic content is essential to acclimatize to real-world language usage, vital for excelling in tests like TOEFL listening.

Diverse Sources of Authentic Materials

1. Leveraging Official Resources

Maximizing the utility of resources like the “TOEFL Test Official Guide” and official practice tests. These materials provide a solid foundation.

2. Beyond Official Resources

Expanding sources by exploring foreign open courses’ audio and video recordings aligned with your proficiency level. Utilize platforms like the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) EDX courses, offering free official content taught by TOEFL exam developers.

Effective Methods for Skill Enhancement

1. Strengthening Fundamentals

Emphasizing the importance of building vocabulary, mastering grammar structures, and nurturing language intuition. These fundamental skills form the core of effective language proficiency.

2. Analyzing Weaknesses

Exploring diagnostic language testing and error analysis. Understanding the root causes of mistakes, such as misunderstanding details due to vocabulary limitations or unfamiliarity with connected speech features.

Targeted Study Techniques

1. Tailoring Methods to Real Communication

Considering authentic English communication demands, where students summarize, critique, and apply content. Such skills transcend mere multiple-choice questions and are integral to mastering academic language proficiency.

2. Summarizing and Retelling

Highlighting the ultimate listening goal: summarizing and retelling material coherently. This includes identifying key points, logical relationships, supporting facts, and details.

Transition to the New Exam Format

1. Introduction to the New Format

Explaining the TOEFL® exam’s updated format, effective from August 1, 2019. The exam duration has been shortened, while the overall format, question types, and scoring criteria remain unchanged.

2. Listening Section Changes

Detailing the changes in the listening section. The number of lectures has been reduced from 4-6 to 3-4, with a corresponding decrease in total duration.


Reiterating the significance of preparing comprehensively for TOEFL®. Strong preparation lays the foundation for academic English proficiency and language skills, facilitating a confident start to your study abroad journey.

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