Are you a student? Is any of foreign going competitive (FGC) exams that involves listening your next target? Have you already given IELTS or PTE?
Is there something that is still unknown to harness your listening skills? Or you have no clue about it at all. Don’t worry. Here is a solution.
And it’s useful for you if you have an affirmation for any of the above questions. Before I dwell on explaining certain obstacles that test takers encounter while practicing listening and present solutions for each of them step by step, I would like to drag just one thought in your mind that listening is not tested, it is taught! Does your trainer test you directly? If you have a positive reply for this question too, you must read this article.
Listening is a quite strenuous part of FGC exams and students are frantic for ways of improving it. To be a mediocre performer, it does not require a lot of strategies though. What if you have to reach the top rung of the ladder? You have to develop good listening skills. Traditional methods are not going to be of much help because they just involve nothing more than extensive listening or in other words, listening to a wide range of conversations. I don’t deny that it is not helpful. You have to be an active listener, not passive.
What you can do?
There are multiple things we have to perform to get across. It is therefore difficult to handle them. Because you are at the first place plunged into listening to recording tapes. Your instructor says, “Listening is all about practice.” But it’s difficult to process new information, to identify new words or phrases and understand the main intent of the speaker(s). While you are busy with working out the meaning of a particular word or phrase, you stop listening to what is there next. More importantly, you are not familiar with pronunciation and accent of speaker(s). So I personally believe that intensive listening is far useful.
What does intensive listening actually involve? The right question. It, as opposed to extensive listening wherein your main focus in on the outcome, focuses on prediction of content, listening to specific information(details) and vocabulary, and understanding the attitude or main points of / explained (by) the speaker.
Prediction of content
It is essential to predict the topic so that you can match what you hear with what you expect to hear using the previous knowledge. It helps to set the background for your listening making it easier to generate a hypothesis about the kind of topic you are listening to, the main purpose of the speakers, and their attitude. Generally IELTS test takers have to keep on checking the accuracy of their prediction and form new ones which may be soon refuted or accepted. They, while listening, have to either confirm their assumption or reject it. And they have to decide what information forms the core part of the conversation and what is for supporting it. Through this kind of approach, you are able to review the understanding of the language which is key to succeed in IELTS listening.
Listening for specific details and Vocabulary
In the IELTS listening, your ability to identify specific details in the context is assessed. Speakers paraphrase or extend the speech. So it is at times hard to match the information (usually paraphrased) given by the speakers with the information presented in the questions. For instance, in case of matching items with their explanations, students misinterpret what they hear and what they read. It is because of paraphrasing. “competitors” is paraphrased to “ rivals in the sphere of your business..”
Listening to understand the main theme
If you are just concerned with the keywords before and after the blanks or a particular word, you miss on the bigger picture, especially when you are solving questions which deal with speaker’s main focus, attitude, or the purpose of the speech. It is imperative to develop a broader framework beforehand about the topic and try to absorb how the ideas are organized into the speech. To develop your skill to get the gist of speech or talk, it is advised to listen to a lecture, jot the main ideas with supporting details and reorganize it in your own words in the best practice that you can try. I often do this with my students who get massive improvement in their listening.