TOEFL Listening Section Overview

Today we are going to take a deeper look into what kind of questions you can expect on the TOEFL listening section. I recommend this post if you want to learn more TOEFL listening tips and strategies.

Most of the questions on the TOEFL listening section will be similar to the questions you see on the TOEFL reading section. However, there are some types of questions that will be completely unique to the listening section. Before we start talking about the questions on the test, let’s take a look at what you can expect to listen to.

TOEFL Listening Types
The topics of the listening section will be different every time but they will have either an academic or non-academic theme. You will be given hints on the theme of the recording before you begin.
The speech will be slightly slower than how a native person would be speaking. Be aware of the different transitions, pauses and breaks in the speech.

TOEFL Listening Lecture
The lecture will last around five minutes and will cover different academic topics. You will face two different types of lectures, one when students interrupt to ask questions and another without interruptions or questions.
You can expect at least six questions for each lecture.

TOEFL Listening Conversations
The conversations vary between academic and other non-academic topics. They are usually a little shorter than the lectures and lasts about three to five minutes. Each conversation will include at least five questions.

A common scenario that is used is when a student speaks with a teacher or a counselor. Most of the different situations take place in a University environment. You should try to familiarize yourself to various terms used in U.S. colleges/universities. Expect topics like clarification of course materials, deadlines, housing and class registration

Types of TOEFL Listening Questions

Main theme question
These questions are about the overall purpose of the conversation or lecture. Questions like “what is the professor trying to explain?” or “why is the student upset?”

Specific Information Questions
These types of questions will require you to remember specific details from the lecture or conversations.

Detailed Purpose Questions
These types of questions involve a specific section from the lecture asking “why” the student or teacher said this.

Mood Questions
These types of questions will ask you about the speakers tone and attitude. It’s important to recognize the mood of the environment and individuals involved.

Questions about how the different passages and content is organized.

Connecting Questions
Questions on how different excerpts and content is connected with each other.

Inference Type Questions
An inference style of question asks you to make your own conclusions based on the information from the lecture or conversation.