Incredible Free Listening Practice & Tips for the TOEFL iBT Test

You’re here looking for a really practical learning experience, and specifically, you’ve clicked on this article to get some suitable TOEFL listening practice with answers.

Well, you’ve come to the right place, because by the time you finish this page, you’ll have been walked through the passages and questions so that you’ll have a feel for how to go about answering the questions on the test.

Because this page is full of instruction with answers and test-writing tips, we suggest you go through it from beginning to end before you think about practicing with more realistic test-writing conditions such as timed and graded practice. So don’t be impatient! Do things step by step.

Before you start the listening section practice below (we’ve included written transcripts of the spoken text for instructional purposes), we’ll need you to know some things about the different types of questions included in the listening portion of the test.

For example, there will be questions asking you what the topic of the lecture is…well, using either that phrasing or different words, but with the same meaning. This will require you to understand the conversation or lecture as a whole before you can answer them correctly.

Then there will be some questions that will ask you for details in parts of the conversation, some that will ask you about the attitude of either a student or a professor, or even other non-teaching staff like secretaries and registrars.

Here is a list of all the question types you can expect in the listening section of the TOEFL

1. Basic comprehension questions, divided into

  1. Gist-content questions
  2. Gist-purpose questions
  3. Detail questions

2. Pragmatic understanding questions divided into

  1. Understanding the function questions
  2. Understanding the speaker’s attitude questions

3. Connecting information questions divided into

  1. Understanding organization questions
  2. Connecting content questions
  3. Making inferences questions.

Throughout this section we will let you know which type of question you are dealing with and how to go about answering it.

We have come up with a way to nail the listening questions every time. The secret is to take short notes as the audio plays, and then use these notes when you are answering the questions.

Here are some tips for taking good notes. Firstly, you’ll need to write as quickly as possible. If you can’t keep up with the narrator, move on. Don’t fall behind. When you go back to see any incomplete sections of the notes, you might very well be able to remember what you weren’t able to write down.

Practice writing using shorthand and symbols. Don’t worry about making the writing look nice. Keep your notes as simple as possible, and concentrate on the key points, while also writing down any central details you might need to have when you answer the questions.

Make sure that you write the points in your own words, so as to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

Alright, now that you know that, let us get right down to work. We’ll take you through the questions below and help you answer each one. Don’t worry; you are in capable hands!

Conversation 1

 

Student: Knocking on the open door. May I come in?

Professor: Yes, come right in…How can I help you?

Student: Holding out some papers. I was wondering if you could possibly give me a little more time to finish this assignment.

Professor: Why is that? Why can’t you finish on time like the rest of the students in my class? I gave everyone about six weeks to prepare.

Student: Yes, sir…and I started immediately. Here, take a look. I have already compiled some notes on why sticking to a vegetarian diet has certain disadvantages. I had even collected data from some people who have been on this diet for more than 25 years.

Professor: Hmm…Taking the notes. I see you have done quite a lot.

Student: Yes, I started the first day you assigned us the task, but then, uh, some personal stuff came up. First, I was hospitalized…

Professor: You should have let me know right away so I could excuse you.

Student: I didn’t think it was going to be a serious issue. The doctor said I would only be in hospital for two days, and then I would be discharged. Since that was still about four weeks ago and I work pretty fast, I thought I would be able to work on this and hand it in on time.

Professor: I see.

Student: Yes, and then when they were running tests on me, they discovered I had to undergo a minor surgery…the details are all in my file.

Professor: Oh, so you have the report with you?

Student: Yes.

Professor: …because that was going to be my next question.

Student: I asked my doctor to write a report…and a stamped letter to let you know that I had been hospitalized.

Professor: Okay, so you were…wait…it says here you were discharged about three weeks ago.

Student: Yes, but I had to recover first.

Professor: Right.

Student: And then I had all these other assignments as well as two exams in that time.

Professor: You got overwhelmed…

Student: Yes, it has been too much to handle and yet I don’t want to defer any of my course units. That’s why I’m here.

Professor: You haven’t been late in handing in your work before, so I…

Student: Yes, and I’ve already covered so much ground on this, I’m sure I’ll be done soon.

Professor: No, don’t say soon. I need a definite date. You know what I always tell you students about setting goals.

Student: They should be SMART.

Professor: And what’s the T in SMART for?

Student: Timely

Professor:  Exactly. The target date is important. So I need you to tell me how long you need…an exact date.

Student: In two weeks’ time.

Professor: So next week, but with only one Wednesday.

Student: Yes, please.

Professor: Alright. No problem. At exactly…let’s see…checks watch…noon. I need to have your work on my desk at exactly noon next week. Is that agreed?

Student: Yes. And thank you.

Professor: No problem. Just make sure you submit it on time.

Student: Yes.

Professor: I’m glad you’ve recovered so quickly.

Student: Thanks. I’ll leave now so as to continue working on this…Jokingly I don’t want to ask for further extensions.

Professor: Oh, there will be none. No more extensions.

Student: I’ll see you in class later.

Professor: Sure.

Gist Purpose Question

Q1. Why does the student visit the professor?

  • To explain that he was hospitalised
  • To have the date of handing in his assignment extended
  • To tell the professor that he had a minor surgery a few weeks ago
  • To discuss ways of setting SMART goals

This question asks about the purpose of the conversation. Remember we told you above that there are different types of questions, right? So, this is one type of question you will come across in the listening question. We will need you to go through the answers now. Which one do you think makes the most sense? Refer to the short notes we told you to write earlier. Have you done that?

Let’s go through the choices now.

Choices 1,3, and 4 are all information included in the conversation, but they are not the major reason the student went to the professor.

Choice 2 would therefore be the correct answer.

Understanding Function Question

Q2. Why does the student say, “I had all these other assignments as well as two exams in that time?”

  • To show the professor he takes his academics seriously
  • To show he could have met his deadline on time
  • To show he had too much work to meet the deadline
  • To show he cares what the professor thinks

This is an understanding function question. Here you are asked to identify the purpose of the text in brackets. In the real test, this part in quotes is replayed for you.Let’s go through the choices together once more.

Choice 1 is vague, choice 2 sounds like a senseless excuse, and choice 4 is completely false. The conversation does not indicate that the student cares about the professor’s opinion.

The correct answer, therefore, is choice 3.

Understanding Attitude Question

Q3.  What can be inferred about this student from the professor’s statement, “You haven’t been late in handing in your work before, so I…”

  • She is a teacher’s pet
  • She usually takes her academic work seriously
  • She works well with a team
  • She is a perfectionist

This is an understanding attitude question. Once again, the text in quotes will be replayed and you will then need to answer the question using the information in the text. For practice purposes, you can just read the text again.Have you done that?

Before you even look at the answers, what do you think the correct answer would be?

Now look at the answers and see which one comes close to your answer.

The correct choice is option 2. The fact that the professor knows this student hands in work on time goes to show the student is serious about her academic work.

Gist Content Question

Q4. Which aspect of setting smart goals does the professor mention in this conversation?

  • Deadlines
  • Measurable goals
  • Time
  • Realistic goals

This is a gist content question. It needs you to first understand what the whole conversation is about.This question will require you to think about setting SMART goals as mentioned in the conversation. Since the professor only mentions time, the correct answer would be choice 3.

Connecting Content Question

Q5. What would likely happen if the student fails to hand in her assignment on the agreed time?

  • She might get another extension
  • She would have to drop the unit
  • The professor wouldn’t accept the assignment
  • She would defer this unit

This is a connecting content question. We will need to think about what would happen if the student fails to hand in her work.We would have to consider that her professor has already given her an extension, asked her to choose the time herself and distinctly told her that she has to stick to the date she set for herself.

By letting her choose the time herself, the professor has tied her down to the date she chose. Consequently, she has chosen her fate all on her own.

So, what do you think will happen if she fails to submit her work on time?

Choice 1 is wrong; she is not getting more extensions. Choice 2 is not correct; we don’t know what she will do. Choice 4 is not right either, as we don’t know what she will decide.

From the conversation that has transpired, we can deduce the professor will not accept the assignment past the new deadline.

The correct answer, therefore, is choice 3.

Conversation 2

Student: Hi

Secretary: Hello…How can I help you?

Student: Actually, I’m not sure I’m at the right office.

Secretary: Why…what do you need?

Student: I’m looking for the registrar’s office.

Secretary: Glancing at the sign on the open door. Yes, this is the registrar’s office.

Student: Turning briefly to look at the sign…Oh, sorry I didn’t see that.

Secretary: But she is not in at the moment. I can help you as much as I can, though, if you’d like that…uh, or would you rather wait for the registrar?

Student: No, that’s fine, thanks. Okay. I was wondering whether my admission has gone through. I applied for a course in Sociology and I haven’t received the admission letter yet.

Secretary: Okay…how long ago was that?

Student: About two months ago.

Secretary: You made the admission deadline then. The students who applied past the admission date that was last month can only be admitted in the next academic year. Okay. So, let’s see where…and what about your grade?

Student: The requirement for that course was a GPA OF 3 and I had 4.5, so I guess I made the cut.

Secretary: Sure, you made it. Well done by the way, those exams can be tough.

Student: Thanks…I studied hard and I had good tutors.

Secretary: And have you checked online? Because we were sending the letters both online and by mail.

Student: Yes, I did. My email was empty. I have been checking it several times every day.

Secretary: Alright, let me check on my end.

Student: Uh-huh

Secretary: Which high school did you go to?

Student: Watertown High School…

Secretary: Exact state and county please…

Student: Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Secretary: Let’s see here…types something on the computer and scrolls down…okay here we are. There were about 165 students from that area.

Student: Really, I didn’t know there were so many of us interested in this university.

Secretary: Seems we are popular in your locale…uh, what’s your full name.

Student: Jessica…

Secretary: Surname first, please…then first name and lastly middle name.

Student: Wadell Jessica Marie

Secretary: Squinting and moving closer to the screen…Okay.

Student: Is it there?

Secretary: Just a minute.

Student: Okay

Secretary: Uh, there are two Wadell Jessicas from your county…uh, you said your second name is Marie.

Student: Anxiously…yes. Marie M.A.R.I.E

Secretary: I see where the problem might be. The first is a Wadell Jessica Wanini and the second is a Wadell Jessica Mary. I think your name might have been misspelled.

Student: And…

Secretary: Well, and it looks like since the address available is for a Marie then there must have been a mix up. All the other details match.

Student:  Phew. That feels better. Can you help me? Maybe correct the misspelling and send me a letter online? My parents will be so happy…they thought I didn’t make it and we all really wanted me to attend college here.

Secretary: Smiling. I’m happy for all of you too…let me contact my boss…just a minute…I hope she…Hello, Mrs Hoffmann…Yes, everything is fine on my end. There is a student in the office who has not yet received her letter…yes, she made the cut and is on the list, but her name was misspelled…there must have been a mix-up…yes it would be possible the letter was sent to a wrong address, but I was thinking maybe if we give her a let…okay. Okay… fine I’ll do that.

Secretary: She said I can resend the email.

Student: What about the hardcopy?

Secretary: Since she is not here to sign it, we will send it immediately when she gets back and signs it. She also said to send you her apologies.

Student Okay no need to apologize…now that I know I’m in, nothing else matters. Whoop! Whoop! I’m sooo happy. Thanks a lot for your help.

Secretary: It was my pleasure.

Gist Purpose Question

Q1. Why does the student visit the registrar’s office?

  • To check if her application went through
  • To take a tour of the school before officially starting college
  • To chat with the secretary
  • To discuss why her name was spelled wrong

This is a gist purpose question. You therefore must think about the purpose of the student’s visit to the registrar’s office.Here, you’ll need to understand the passage as a whole for you to answer the question correctly.

As you can see, choices 3 and 4 can easily mislead you because they are things mentioned in the conversation.

Choice 2 is an assumption.

The correct answer is choice 1.

Gist Content Question

Q2. What are the speakers mainly discussing?

  • The registrar’s absence
  • The student’s application to this college
  • The student’s name and county
  • The number of students from Massachusetts

This is a gist content question, meaning you need to understand the general topic of the conversation to answer the question correctly.

Let’s go through the answers together, shall we?

Choices 1 and 3 are all things discussed in the conversation, but they don’t cover the whole conversation; so they can’t be the correct answer.

Choice 2 on the other hand covers the whole conversation. All the things happening in the conversation are related to the student’s application to this college.

Choice 2 is the correct answer.

Gist Purpose Question

Q3. Why does the student feel anxious when she is asked her second name?

  • She wants to keep it secret
  • She may have a hidden identity
  • She fears she did not make the admission list
  • She hates her second name

This is another gist purpose question. You will therefore need to dig deeper than just understanding the content, to some more concealed themes hidden within the text.In the conversation, the student anxiously answers her name. Why do you think that is so?

It can’t be because she wants to keep it a secret, as claimed in choice 1.

It could not be because she has a secret identity as in choice 2…although this could be true, it is an assumption and not something clearly stated in the conversation.

Choice 4 is also wrong because nowhere in the conversation is it indicated that she hates her name.

The correct answer here would therefore be choice 3. Since she desperately wants her application to go through, she can only be anxious because she fears she did not make the admission list.

Understanding Attitude Question

Q4. What is the students’ parents’ attitude towards this college?

  • They love it
  • They are indifferent
  • They just tolerate it
  • They hate it

This an understanding attitude question. At some point in the conversation you will have heard the speaker say the parents really want their daughter to attend this college.So, what do you think their attitude is towards the college?

Not hatred, indifference or tolerance as claimed in choices 4, 2, and 3.

They must love it.

So, the correct choice is choice 1.

Understanding Organization Question

Q5. Why does the secretary call her boss?

  • To update her on the happenings in the office
  • To ask for guidance on how to proceed with this student’s case
  • To enquire about the registrar’s whereabouts
  • To connect the student with the registrar

This is an understanding organization question, which means you need to understand the relationship among the speakers.Once you know how the secretary and the registrar are related–that one is the other’s boss–it’s easy to answer this question.

Let’s go through the answers together and see which one best explains the reason for the call.

Choice 1 is correct, because yes, the secretary is calling to give her boss updates. Choice 2 is also correct because the main reason the secretary is calling is to ask for a way forward.

Choice 3 is incorrect, as is choice 4. The secretary does not ask where the registrar is, nor does she let the student talk to the registrar.

In this case, two options are correct. This happens sometimes in the listening questions. Some questions do have more than one correct answer, so look out for that.

Lecture 1

Professor

So, uh, in the last lecture we were talking about the greatest authors of all time. Today we continue with that discussion, and we will focus on Charles Dickens. This is a man who is viewed in one of two ways. There are those who think he is the greatest author to ever exist, and all subsequent authors, and even some of his predecessors, are to be measured against his works. You could say an SI unit of sorts.

Then there are also those who think he was not all that great an author…That he was just a writer who was working hard to meet the demands of the public and publishers, and as a result, came up with writings that go on and on without getting to the point. They see it as a way of writing that cannot be deemed sustainable in this century considering the short attention spans of today’s readers.

However, both parties agree that no other fiction writer has managed to create so many characters that became famous. Some of these include Oliver Twist, Little Neil, The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Scrooge, and Tiny Tim; just to mention a few.

His works uh, also happen to be considered classics, and except for Shakespeare, he has the greatest volume of works considered to be classics. To be precise, he has eight novels and eight novellas included in the Greatest Literature and Greatest Novels list.

And his style, I uh, personally think he was a genius. See, most authors either build up characters and create things we can believe in, or they break things down and make them simple for the reader to understand. Not Dickens. He uses both styles and that is probably why his work, unlike that of another author of the Victorian era, Hemingway, continues to be read to date. Dicken’s works continue to attract new readers long after they were published.

And also, let’s talk about his work ethic. He was, in my estimation, an indefatigable writer. That is probably why at just 58 years at the time of his demise, he looked like an old man of seventy. Let me put this into perspective for you. You know, I could be lecturing a future Dickens here and he or she might remember that there is nothing wrong with being more productive than expected. Okay, so today for a short novel, it takes an author about three to four years to write it and get it published.

Dickens’ narratives, with all the intricate details, complex plots and catchy characters like we had mentioned before, they uh, he wrote…no he produced about one every year. This is in addition to other work he was involved in…He would also write, produce and act in his own plays, as well as write travelogues, histories and write letters. Furthermore, he had shorter works such as essays, memoirs, poetry and would occasionally edit.

From his work, you can tell Dickens was a social realist. He exposes the poverty and injustice in Victorian culture and reveals the civilized pretences that the classes in that era had constructed. At the same time, he shows how conscience prevails in making those who commit injustices on a personal level and in commercial enterprises do the right thing. This last bit is why some of his critics call him too sentimental, or call this way of giving his stories unrealistic happy endings, Victorian Romanticism.

What I have found from reading his work is his dedication to always…even when he sounds like he does not have the inspiration to write and even in his lesser known works…he always strives to give his narrative an interesting angle. Weird juxtapositions that you will love. He is still a Victorian era writer, yes, I agree, and sometimes he does stretch a plot too far, yes, but going through all this is worth your time. Read his famous works if you must, but even consider reading his lesser known works if you can, and you will discover a literary giant who knows his stuff.

Gist Content Question

Q1. What is the main topic of the lecture?

  • Famous authors
  • Victorian era authors
  • Charles Dickens and his literary works
  • Charles Dickens’ strengths

This is a gist content question that requires you to understand the overall topic of the lecture, not just bits of it. Let’s use an elimination method to get the correct answer.Choice 1 is partially correct because famous authors is mentioned somewhere in the conversation, but this answer is too general. Choice 2 is also partially correct–Victorian era authors are mentioned in passing, but this lecture is not about them

Choice 4 is also partially correct because it leaves out weaknesses, yet they are discussed in the lecture.

The correct choice here would therefore be choice 3.

Understanding Attitude Question

Q2. What is the author’s attitude towards Charles Dickens?

  • He thinks Dickens is an indefatigable author
  • He thinks he was a literary genius
  • He finds him underwhelming
  • He thinks Dickens was a people pleaser

This is an understanding attitude question. Think carefully about what the professor says about Dickens throughout the lecture. What do you think he feels about Dickens?Notice the professor is kind, even when he is criticizing Dickens.

Okay. Now let’s go through the choices and see which answer is correct.

Choices 3 and 4 are both wrong. The professor adores Dickens and would therefore never say anything negative about him.

Choices 1 and 2 are both correct because the attitude the author adopts in the lecture towards Dickens is positive throughout, and he does say Dickens was indefatigable.

He also asks his students at the end to try and read all of Dickens’s works, so choice 2 would be correct, too. The professor clearly thinks Dickens was a literary genius.

Detail Question

Q3. According to the professor, what is the one thing both Dickens critics and lovers agree about him?

  • That he stretched a plot too far
  • That he has the most classics of all the authors in history
  • That he created the most famous characters in his works compared to any other fiction writer
  • That he is a social realist

This is a detail question. Here, you are required to give details that are clearly stated in the lecture.We will need you to go through the answers first before taking you through them.

Have you done that?

Okay.

Let’s do this together.

Choice 1 – only his critics hold that opinion.

Choice 2 – not true. Shakespeare holds that title.

Choice 4 – that is the professor’s observation

Choice 3 – this is the correct answer. It is clearly stated in the lecture

Understanding Organization Question

Q4. Why does the professor mention that Dickens was only 58, but looked like a seventy-year-old man?

  • To show that Dickens overworked himself and the work exhausted him physically
  • To show that Dickens neglected his image while trying to meet his readers’ demands
  • To show literary giants have a certain look
  • To show the downside of having no family

This is an understanding organization question. We will need you to focus on the hidden meaning of the phrase in question.Notice the phrase is mentioned in connection to Dickens’s indefatigable nature.

So, what is the relationship between his looks at the time of his death and the amount of work he put into his work? Once you answer this question, you will have answered Q4.

Let’s take a look at the answers together.

Choice 4 is just an assumption.

Choices 2 and 3 are both misleading and assumptions, too.

The correct answer would therefore be choice 1.

Understanding Function Question

Q5. Why does the professor say, “You know, I could be lecturing a future Dickens here and he or she might remember there is nothing wrong with being more productive than expected.”

  • To inspire his students to overwork themselves
  • To show that there would be nothing wrong with becoming an overachiever, as it had already been done before
  • To take a break from the lecture
  • To show he has geniuses in his class

This is an understanding function question. We will require you to think about why the portion that was replayed is included in the lecture.Focus on both the apparent and hidden meaning to come up with the right answer.

Choice 1 is wrong. That is not his intention.

Choice 3 might be true, but it is not correct in this case because this phrase sounds more like an explanation to what is going to be said next.

Choice 4 is not correct. Nowhere in the lecture is it indicated that the professor wants to prove anything about his students.

Choice 2 is the correct answer. He includes this phrase to show Dickens was an overachiever. If any of his students want to work as hard as Dickens did, that would be acceptable.

Inference Question

Q6. What does the professor imply about today’s readers when he says, “They see it as a way of writing that cannot be deemed sustainable in this century considering the short attention spans of today’s readers?”

  • Today’s readers are lazy
  • Today’s readers prefer to watch movies
  • Today’s readers prefer shorter works that are to the point
  • Today’s readers prefer other activities besides reading
This is a making inferences question. We want you to reach a conclusion based on the facts presented in the lecture.During the TOEFL exam, the portion of the lecture from which the question is based will be replayed. Now, we are ready to look at the choices. The correct answer here would be one that explains why today’s readers with their short attention spans would shun Dickens’ work. Choice 3 has the right explanation, so it is the correct answer.

Lecture 2

Professor

I know most of you already know what it is, but let me repeat what the stratosphere is, just to make sure we start the lesson properly. The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere and below the mesosphere. The upper part of the stratosphere has a considerable amount of ozone denoted as O3 because it has an extra oxygen atom. This layer is crucial for the survival of both plants and animals on earth. The pollution of this layer has detrimental effects for life on earth.

Alright. Let us first take a look at how pollutants get to the ozone layer. Pollutants get to the ozone layer in two ways. The first way is uh, through direct injection. What this means is that…it is when the exhausts of supersonic transport, military aircraft, rockets and nuclear bombs directly leave their smoke in the stratosphere. Then the second way is through indirect injection where, uh, there are water soluble pollutants in the troposphere and these eventually work their way up to the stratosphere.

The thing with ozone is that it is highly susceptible to destruction from a long list of chemicals. And even worse, it is highly unstable. These two factors make it easy for a small amount of a pollutant to destroy the ozone even at a rate of one-part chemical to 10,000 parts of ozone. It’s that sensitive.

You should note that the amount of chemical pollutants we produce is already way above what is needed to destroy the ozone. For instance, the exhaust from 500 supersonic aircraft is enough to disrupt the maintenance of the biosphere. We–at an individual level and as a human race–are destroying our own planet. And not unknowingly either. We know we do it, but we do it anyway.

Anyhow… that’s a talk we’ll have at a later sitting. Let’s talk about why the ozone layer is so important. As I had already mentioned, ozone is unstable thanks to its chemical structure…it has three oxygen atoms…and this means it is also highly reactive and easily loses its extra oxygen atom. I’ll need you to be patient with me as I explain the processes through which ozone gets depleted…or destroyed, if you may.

Okay, so remember we said there is a long list of chemicals that pollute the stratosphere…or the ozone layer, for the purpose of clarity…right. So let’s discuss two categories of these pollutants.

The first is nitric oxide, and then we have chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, for short. Take note of that acronym. We are going to use it from this point on.

Okay, so when ozone comes into contact with nitric oxide, the two react to form nitric oxide and oxygen…ozone gives its extra oxygen atom to nitric oxide…no…to form nitric dioxide. But nitric dioxide then sneaks behind ozone’s back and combines with oxygen radicals and goes back to its original nitric oxide state. The final result, the amount of nitric oxide in the stratosphere does not change, but the amount of ozone is reduced.

CFCs decompose when they are exposed to UV radiation releasing free chlorine atoms into the stratosphere. These chlorine atoms react with ozone to form oxides of chlorine, which, just like nitric oxide, later react with oxygen radicals to regenerate chlorine atoms. The end result is the same as earlier. Chlorine atoms abound in the ozone layer while ozone is reduced.

Ozone protects us from harmful UV radiations coming from the sun which cause all types of problems such as skin cancer in humans. The effects of polluting the ozone layer leads to exposure to UV radiations, which in turn leads to the following problems…one, they damage the eye’s cornea and lens. Two, they reduce chlorophyll in plants and affect plant proteins. Three, UV radiations disturb the heat balance of the earth. Four, they create a higher risk of skin cancer and damage to the immune system.

This list of effects of polluting the ozone layer is by no means exhaustive. I will need you to research all the other possible negative effects of polluting the ozone layer and have your answers ready during our next class.

Gist Content Question

Q1. What is the lecture mainly about?

  • Protecting the ozone layer
  • Polluting the stratosphere and the effects of this pollution
  • Indirect injection
  • Direct injection

This is a gist content question that requires you to choose the choice that includes all the information in the lecture.Let’s go through the choices together, shall we?

Choice 1 is wrong because from the lecture, it is clear that ozone is only part of the stratosphere.

Both choices 4 and 3 are correct, but not the right answer, because they only cover a small part of the lecture and don’t include the other parts of the lecture that don’t talk about injecting pollutants into the atmosphere.

The correct choice, therefore, is choice 2.

Understanding Organization Question

Q2. Why does the professor mention that most of the students already know what the stratosphere is?

  • To alert them to the fact he is just going to repeat information they are already aware of
  • To attract their attention
  • To keep them alert
  • It is just a figure of speech

This is an understanding organization question. It asks you about the relationship between the phrase in question and the information given after the sentence.Let us use an elimination method to get the right answer.

Choices 2, 3 and 4 all sound right, but they don’t paint the whole picture.

Choice 1 is the correct answer because it actually explains why the phrase is used.

Detail Question

Q3. What is direct injection?

  • It is when pollutants move from the troposphere to the stratosphere
  • It happens when aircraft leave their exhaust in the stratosphere
  • The professor does not explain what it is
  • It happens when the ozone layer is depleted

This is a detail question that requires you to understand details clearly stated in the lecture.Choice 1 is incorrect because it defines indirect injection.

Choice 3 is wrong. Direct injection is clearly defined in the lecture.

Choice 4 is wrong because it is a definition of an altogether different process, not direct injection.

The correct answer is choice 2

Understanding Attitude Question

Q4. What does the professor mean when he says, “And not unknowingly either. We know we do it but we do it anyway.”

  • We are destroying the ozone and we know it, but we don’t care
  • We are destroying the ozone without knowing we are doing it
  • We care about animal life, but not human life
  • Our knowledge is limited

This is an understanding attitude question and requires you to listen keenly to the speakers’ voice as well as what he is saying.You need to do this to understand what he feels in regard to what he is saying. Listen carefully as the sentence is replayed and write a rough rephrase of the sentence if you must.

All done?

Now, on to the choices to see which one correctly describes the professor’s views.

Choice 2 is wrong. We do it and we know we do it.

Choice 3 is not information included in the lecture, and choice 4 is wrong because our knowledge as far as pollution is concerned is not limited.

We know we are constantly polluting the environment and ozone layer, but we do it anyway, which shows that we do have a lot of information on that matter.

Choice 1 is the correct answer.

Making Inferences Question

Q5. What will the students likely do in preparation for the next class?

  • Make sure their notes are in order
  • Research on the next topic in their course outline
  • Read about other negative effects of polluting the ozone layer
  • Prepare for a continuous assessment test on this topic

This is a making inferences question and requires you to make a conclusion based on facts that are clearly stated or discussed in the lecture.In this case, the question needs you to say what the students need to do before the next class.

The answer lies in the task given by the professor at the end of the lecture, where he asks them to do further research on other negative effects of polluting the stratosphere.

Okay, so let’s look at the answers together and see which one is most correct.

Choices 1, 2 and 4 are all assumptions. They are all possible things that a student can do in his or her personal study time, but they are not included in the lecture.

Choice 3 is the correct answer.

Understanding Function Question

Q6. Why does the professor say, “I’ll need you to be patient with me as I explain the processes through which ozone gets depleted.”

  • He wants the students to move and sit beside him
  • He wants to use a lower voice when explaining how the processes take place
  • He is going to introduce a new topic altogether
  • He wants the students to be keener because the explanations are complex, and they might not understand if they are not interested

This is an understanding function question. A phrase will normally be replayed on your test.Pay close attention to the function the professor intends the sentence to serve rather than its general meaning.

Reread the sentence before proceeding to the choices. Have you finished?

Now, we’ll go through the options and use an elimination method to come up with the correct answers.

Choice 1 contains a literal meaning of the sentence, but does not answer the question.

Choices 2 and 3 are assumptions because there is no information in the lecture indicating that the professor wants to take any of those actions.

The correct answer is choice 4. He wants them to be keener so as to understand what he is saying.

Lecture 3

Professor

As I told you in the last class, today we are going to be discussing infiltration capacity. I asked you to read a few articles in advance and I hope you did that. Alright…so we will start by defining what infiltration capacity is all about. Uh, but first let me give you a definition of infiltration in general.

Infiltration is water moving through a surface. In our case, the surface is soil.

Infiltration rate–which is not to be confused with infiltration capacity–is the rate at which infiltration occurs.

Infiltration capacity is the rate at which a given soil type can absorb rain as it falls. Note, however, that sometimes infiltration rate and infiltration capacity are equal. This is when the rainfall is less than infiltration capacity. If rainfall is less than infiltration capacity, then infiltration capacity is equal to infiltration rate. I hope I haven’t confused anyone. Feel free to ask a question if you are lost. Different types…yes?

Male Student: So, you’re saying infiltration capacity is the maximum rate at which infiltration will occur, but if the rain is less than that rate, then infiltration capacity will be equal to infiltration rate?

Professor: Precisely.

I hope you can already tell that the different types of soil would absorb rain differently. Roughly which soil do you think would have the highest infiltration capacity when it is dry? Remember: You’re choosing between loam, sand and clay. Alright let me hear an answer.

A female student: Sand soil.

Professor: Correct. But also note that in this instance, we are not just talking about soil in the usual sense…uh…we don’t mean just the fine particles of the different types of soil only. Soil here is a general term that includes root systems, root perforations, earthworm perforations as well as vegetal cover. A better word here would be terrain, but for the sake of this lecture, let’s just use soil infiltration capacity. Just keep in mind that we don’t mean soil in the usual sense.

From your reading, you might already know the different factors that influence infiltration capacity. These include the temperature of the air, rain and soil, the intensity of the rain, and initial soil moisture. These factors are important to consider because, uh, for example, soil that is dry absorbs water faster than soil that already has some moisture in it. Also, the intensity of the rain counts. The more intense the rain is, the higher the infiltration capacity. The degree of infiltration will be more when the soil is dry and decrease as the soil reaches saturation. When the soil is saturated, then the infiltration capacity is almost nil.

Why is soil capacity an important topic? Because it helps us determine the amount of water a certain soil type can hold. The more the soil can hold water, the greater its water storage level will be. As we have already discussed, water is life…and as such, the ability of a soil to hold water determines how much vegetation can survive in an area. Water storage is critical in the maintenance and survival of vegetation; especially in arid and semi arid areas.

Infiltration capacity is thus an important parameter that can be used to indicate soil degradation and the potential of an area to be fertile and fit for growing crops, or an area’s drought potential.

Gist Content Question

Q1. What is the lecture mainly about?

  • Infiltration
  • Infiltration rate
  • Infiltration capacity
  • Types of soil

This is a gist content question, and since it is asking for the main topic of the lecture, you’ll want to focus on a choice that covers all the information included in the lecture.Let’s take a look at the choices together, keeping in mind that we can only pick a choice that covers the whole lecture.

Choices 1 and 2 all have information mentioned somewhere in the lecture, but do not cover all the information included in it.

Choice 1 is the correct answer.

Detail Question

Q2. According to the professor, what is one way infiltration rate and infiltration capacity can be equal.

  • When the rainfall is less than the infiltration capacity
  • When the soil has reached its saturation level
  • In arid and semi-arid areas
  • When a land has a high drought potential

This is a detail question and focuses on a specific part of the lecture only. You will need to refer to your notes to get what he says about infiltration capacity and infiltration rate being equal. Found it?Okay. Now let’s look at the available choices and see if they match what the professor said.

Choices 2, 3 and 4 all have information that is in the lecture, but they don’t answer the question correctly.

The correct answer is choice 1 because it is clearly stated in the lecture that infiltration capacity and infiltration rate can only be equal when the rainfall is less than the infiltration capacity.

Understanding Function Question

Q3. Why does the professor ask, “Why is soil capacity an important topic?”

  • To test whether his students read in advance
  • To see if the students are listening
  • He honestly does not know the importance of the topic
  • It is a rhetorical question that he uses to introduce his students to the topic’s importance.

This is an understanding function question that asks you the function a specific phrase plays in the lecture. The phrase or sentence is replayed. We will need you to listen carefully to the audio and write down the sentence if you can.

All done?

Okay. Using an elimination method…let’s get to the right answer.

Now, choices 1 and 2 are incorrect because the professor does not even wait for an answer from the students.

Choice 3 is wrong because he is a professor. Of course he knows the correct answer.

Choice 4 is the correct answer. It is a rhetorical question used as an introduction.

Connecting Content Question

Q4. What will likely happen when soil has reached saturation level?

  • Flooding might result
  • More soil can be added to improve infiltration capacity
  • The soil could be covered to prevent more rain from falling on it
  • Saturation rarely happens

This is a connecting content question that requires you to establish relationships between ideas in the text and come up with a conclusion.The professor says the degree of infiltration will be more when the soil is dry and decreases as the soil reaches saturation.

When the soil is saturated, then the infiltration capacity is almost nil. Using that information, let’s go through the choices to accurately see which one gives the most likely outcome.

Choices 2 and 3 are attempts at providing a solution, but they are not included in the lecture. We are not sure these are viable solutions either, just to be clear.

Choice 4 is wrong because saturation does occur, and it is clearly stated in the lecture.

Choice 1 is the correct answer because if infiltration capacity is nil, then the water cannot be absorbed, and so flooding will occur.

Making Inferences Question

Q5. What can be inferred about soil with poor water storage?

  • The area is likely to have many crops
  • The area is likely to have a high drought potential
  • The area is likely to flood often
  • Many people would settle in the area with this soil type

This is a making inferences question that requires you to look at a fact included in the lecture and draw a sensible conclusion.The lecture says the ability of soil to hold water determines the vegetation that can survive in an area.

Now, let’s take a look at the choices and see if any of them present us with a logical conclusion that is in line with the relevant information from the lecture.

Choice 1 is wrong. Soil that has poor water storage cannot maintain the growth of many crops.

Choice 3 is wrong, too, since if the soil can’t store water, then it is rarely saturated enough to cause flooding.

Choice 4 is wrong. How can people settle in an area likely to have few crops, right?

The correct answer is choice 2. The area is likely to have a high drought potential.

Lecture 4

Professor

Now, I’m going to dive right into the discussion of ultraviolet light. We will call it UV light for short…just to make sure we’re all on the same page. Alright? Okay. So what is UV light?

It is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 10nm to 400nm. This means it is shorter than the wavelength of visible light and longer than the wavelength of x-rays. UV light is invisible to most humans.

And where does it come from you may ask? UV light makes up to 10 percent of light output from the sun. Other sources are artificial and include electric arcs, tanning lamps and black lamps.

UV radiation is harmful to humans and other living organisms. If the UV from the sun were to reach the earth, most living things on dry land… they would be…damaged in great ways. Fortunately, we have the ozone layer in the atmosphere, which filters the UV radiation before it reaches the earth. And this is the reason it is so important that we stop polluting the ozone layer because doing so depletes our protection from these harmful forms of radiation.

But the UV spectrum, just like most things in life, is not all bad news…it has some very beneficial uses. The most common, and I’m sure most of you know this one, is tanning. I’m sure–at least at one time in your life–you’ve sunbathed just to get the right tan.

Other less obvious benefits include the formation of vitamin D. UV light causes the body to create vitamin D, which we need for strong bone formation. And another benefit…have you ever wondered why sunshine is associated with happiness? Well, it’s because, uh it’s because sunshine has UV rays and these rays cause the body to create vitamin D…and vitamin D in turn promotes the formation of serotonin.

Now, serotonin is the hormone for happy feelings in human beings and feelings of well-being. So now when the sun comes out and your mood lifts, you know, it’s because your serotonin has kicked in to make you feel good.

Moving on…UV rays also have been used with considerable success in treating skin conditions. The way this is done is, uh…using phototherapy. The skin conditions include psoriasis, jaundice…UV is a life saver in babies born with jaundice…vitiligo and atopic dermatitis.

But there are harmful effects as well. Although the World Health Organization agrees that a little sun is good for you, it also gives recommendations for what is good and what is overdoing it. The recommended amount is 5 to 15 minutes of exposure to the sun three times a week. That should be sufficient to keep your vitamin D levels at an optimum level.

Excessive exposure to the sun causes sunburn in a best-case scenario, and in a worst-case scenario…it causes skin cancer, or at least increases risk to skin cancer. Overexposure to UV radiation also destroys the eye’s retina and lens. In addition, if you have a skin condition, overexposure to the sun only aggravates the situation.

So how can you protect yourself especially if you have to be outdoors a lot or you work with electric arc lights as a welder? Make sure to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV light when you are outdoors. Wear sunglasses, too, to protect your eyes from damage.

Wear the recommended protective eyewear if you work with welders’ arc lights on a daily basis to protect your eyes.

Gist Content Question

Q1. What is the main topic of the lecture?

  • Ultraviolet light
  • The effects of UV light on humans
  • The effects of UV light on earth
  • The benefits of UV light

This is a gist content question. This requires you to understand the lecture as a whole.Although all the answers are correct, some just touch on parts of the lecture and yet the question asks about the topic of the lecture as whole.

The incorrect answers are choices 2, 3, and 4.

The correct answer is choice 1.

Detail Question

Q2. According to the professor, what is one way of protecting the skin from UV light?

  • Wearing protective eyewear
  • Using sunscreen
  • Using tanning lamps
  • With the ozone layer

This is a detail question which requires you to focus on only a specific part of the lecture.Kindly refer to your notes and see what the professor says about protecting your skin from UV light.

Have you done that?

Let’s take a look at the answers and use an elimination method to find the right choice.

Choice 1 is incorrect because protective eyewear is used to protect the eyes.

Choice 3 is definitely incorrect, while choice 4 is wrong because ozone protects the whole body and even the whole earth; not just your skin.

The correct answer is choice 2; sunscreen.

Detail Question

Q3. What is serotonin?

  • It is the scientific name for vitamin D
  • It is the vitamin responsible for strong bone formation in humans
  • It is the hormone that gives humans feelings of well-being
  • It is an artificial UV light source

This is another detail question. It is asking you to define serotonin as explained in the lecture.Go through all four answers while considering what you heard in the lecture.

Now let’s go through them again together and use an elimination method to arrive at the correct answer.

Choices 1 and 2 are wrong because serotonin is not the scientific name of vitamin D. Furthermore, vitamin D is responsible for strong bone formation, not serotonin.

Choice 4 is not correct and is not mentioned in the lecture.

The correct answer is choice 3.

Understanding Organization Question

Q4. Why does the professor mention the World Health Organization’s recommendation?

  • To show the credibility of the claim
  • To indicate he knows big organizations
  • To keep his students safe from the risk of skin cancer
  • He has connections with WHO

This is an understanding organization question that requires you to think about the relationship between the lecture and WHO.WHO is a health organization and the lecture is about UV light.

What is the connection and why is it mentioned? Because WHO gives guidelines on what is accepted worldwide regarding matters of health.

Take a look at the answers and see which one makes this connection. Have you found the correct choice?

Let’s do this together.

Choices 2 and 4 are assumptions and include information that is not in the lecture. Choice 3 may sound correct, but it is not the reason why WHO is mentioned.

The correct answer is choice 1.

Making Inferences Question

Q5. What does the professor imply when he says, “UV is a life saver in babies born with jaundice”?

  • Jaundice is a killer disease in babies
  • Jaundice is a killer disease, but it can be rectified with UV light through phototherapy
  • UV light is a type of life saving jacket
  • UV light causes jaundice

This is a making inferences question that requires you to come up with a conclusion based on facts presented in the lecture.On the test, the sentence will be replayed, so you would need to listen to it carefully. Write it down in your notes, too, even if you’ll only manage to rephrase it roughly.

Now let’s think about what the sentence means. A life saver in general is something that makes a difficult situation better.

In this case, it shows UV light actually makes babies born with jaundice better and saves them from death.

The answer that brings out this meaning is choice 2.

Connecting Content Question

Q6. What is the likely outcome of using welder’s arc light without eye protection?

  • There is no effect as long you use sunscreen
  • The person is at a higher risk of developing skin cancer
  • The person is likely to get sunburned
  • The person is likely to have his retina and lens destroyed by the light

This is a connecting content question. It requires you to use information from more than one part of the lecture.In this case, we will need you to recall the information that overexposure to UV light without protective eyewear leads to the destruction of the retina and eye lens.

Remember, too, that welder’s arc lights are said elsewhere in the passage to be artificial sources of UV light.

A third piece of information is that to protect from this potential eye damage, one should wear protective eyewear.

Wow, that is a lot of information to dish out all at once, but we hope we are together up to this point? Have you found the information in your notes?

Now, let us go through the choices to see which one is correct.

Choices 1, 2 and 3 all test your ability to tell information apart, as they are outcomes of UV exposure; just not of the eyes. They are all effects related to the skin.

Choice 4 is the correct answer.

So there you have it: You’ve now been able to go through this practice session for the TOEFL listening section, and have been able to benefit from all the passages, answers and test-writing tips it contains.

Now, we suggest that you really get serious and do the timed and graded practice sessions so that you can really get a feel of what to expect when you write the exam.

Remember that the two keys to doing well on the TOEFL exam are crazy amounts of practice, and mastering the note-taking process.

These two things can help decent non-native speakers do better than native speaking test takers. Yes! This is not an exaggeration.

And here is where you can get lots of those two things, and much, much more.

 

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