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chapter 5: Listening
Audiotapes and CDs of books, lectures and presentations are
equally valuable and are available at libraries and bookstores. Also,
many public libraries and most universities have their public lectures
available online. Lectures with transcripts are particularly helpful.
The Internet is a great resource for listening material—visit websites
such as www.npr.org, www.cnn.com/services/podcasting,
General Listening activities
You might try these general activities to build your listening skills:
• Listen to different kinds of material on a variety of topics, of
increasing length and difﬁculty.
– Start with recordings on familiar topics and gradually progress
to topics that are new to you.
– First, listen to conversations, television shows and movies,
and then listen to programs with academic content, such as
NPR and BBC broadcasts. Start with short segments and
progress to longer segments.
– Listen several times to each recording:
o For beginners, listen ﬁrst with English subtitles, if they are
available. Then, without subtitles, listen for the main ideas
and key details.
o Listen again to understand the connections between ideas,
the structure of the talk and/or the speakers’ attitudes and
to distinguish fact from opinion.
– Listen actively:
o Take notes as you listen for main ideas and important
details. Write down key words only, not every word.
o Keep a log of the new words and expressions you hear.
Check the spelling and meaning in a dictionary.
o Ask yourself about the basic information presented in the
recording (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?).
o Make predictions about what you will hear next.
o Use your notes to summarize what you’ve heard.
– Copy a script from an online news story, lecture or talk, movie
or podcast. Delete or cover every ﬁfth word on the script.
Listen to the recording, and try to write in the missing words.
The Listening section does not measure
summarizing skills, but practicing
summarizing is useful for the integrated
tasks in the Speaking and Writing sections.