TOEIC Listening Tips   Leave a comment


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TOEIC Listening Tips

The following TOEIC listening tips will help you beware of test traps, and direct you to the right answer. Remember, it is possible to get a score of 100% in the listening section. Many students have done so before you, and you can too, so keep your eyes and ears open and your motivation high.


In the first part of the TOEIC listening section, you will see photographs and then be asked to select a sentence which best describes the pictures. The key to doing well is to read each of the four options carefully. The three incorrect answers may have:

  • words that sounds similar but are in fact different
  • the right words used inaccurately
  • the right words used in a confusing manner
  • answers that are only partially true
  • words that refer to a context other than the one shown in the picture
  • words related to, but not in the picture

The best way to approach these questions is to scan the picture completely and identify what’s happening, just like a journalist or a spy. Ask yourself: who, what, where, why? Listen for any words that are stressed, as they may hold a clue.


In the second part of the TOEIC listening section, you will be asked a question about almost anything and you need to choose a suitable answer. The trick here is to watch out for:

  • words that sound similar but have different meanings
  • wh- questions – who what, when, where, why, what – that need logical answers
  • questions with question tags
  • yes / no questions which may have no direct yes / no answers

To do well, keep the question clearly in mind as you scan the possible answers. Choose the one that makes the greatest sense. If in doubt, guess. You won’t lose points.


In the third part, you will hear a short dialogue and then be asked a question about what you have heard. You need to use your short-term memory well. The best strategies are to beware of:

  • similar-sounding words
  • inaccurate words
  • confused word order
  • words that change the meaning
  • negative words (hardly, not, etc.)
  • words associated with time (always, never, etc.)

It will help if you can read the question, and possibly even the answers, before you hear the dialogue. Check all the options and don’t choose too quickly. Try and picture the speakers and where they are.



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