Devote ample time to listening to English
If you have acquaintances or friends who are native English speakers, or largely fluent in English, spend as much time as you can afford speaking with them. You can also listen to spoken English on television, or in films, newscasts, or podcasts. Remember that the TOEFL listening portion includes lectures and conversations similar to what you will hear as a college student, so keep this in mind when choosing what to watch or listen to. It can also be helpful to choose audio that has a transcript, like certain lectures. That way, you can see if you are truly comprehending what is being said.
Listen to accents and tones
It can be helpful to find audio in which the speakers have different accents, to ensure you can understand different dialects of English. You should also pay close attention to tones in order to understand subtle differences in the English language.
Practice taking notes
When you’re practicing your listening skills, you may find yourself replaying parts of the audio clips until you fully understand them. That’s a good way to fine-tune your listening skills, but when you take the TOEFL listening portion, you won’t be able to endlessly replay the audio clip you’re being tested on. You can, however, take notes. Practice taking notes when you’re in classroom lectures, as well as when you’re listening to recorded content. Try to make your notes short and easy to understand so you can easily refer back to them.
Take practice tests
Practicing your English listening skills and taking notes on your own is a great way to prepare for the TOEFL, but if you really want to see how you might do on the exam, try taking a practice test. This will not only help you see how ready you are for the test, but it’s also a good way to become familiar with the testing format. Take multiple practice tests until you feel comfortable with the makeup of the TOEFL listening portion.
Work with a friend
If you have a friend who is also taking the TOEFL, try preparing together. Working with a partner is a great way to practice your listening skills, and it allows you to better identify your strengths and weaknesses. Ask what their study strategies are and see if you can incorporate those into your study time. It can be helpful to bounce techniques and feedback off one another, in order to strengthen both of your skills leading up to the exam.
Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.