You have 30 seconds to look at the questions in each section before the recording starts. (Make sure that you use the time to read the questions, so that you know what type of information you should be listening for.) The listening is played only once. If you miss something the first time, you will not have another chance to hear it. The voices which you hear may be English, Australian or American, and remember that there are many differences between and among these accents. (For example, a Cornish accent from England sounds very different from a south London accent.)
The recording will always start with an introduction telling you some background information about what you are going to hear. This will be followed by instructions about what you have to do with the information.
Questions can be any of the following types.The descriptions might sound slightly confusing, but will become clearer when you have tried some practice tests.
- Multiple choice.
- Sometimes you have to choose one answer
- Sometimes you have to choose the correct picture or diagram
- Sometimes you must choose more than one answer to get a mark
- Sometimes you must choose more than one answer, and each answer is worth a mark.
- Short answers
- Usually these are one word or a number, but you might need up to three words.
(numbers count as words, so 46, or forty-six is one word)
- Short answers might be answers by themselves, or you might need to use answer to finish a sentence.
- Completing notes or a diagram
- Sometimes you need to put words in different places
- Sometimes you have to choose a word from a list
- Sometimes you have to match up two different lists (for example names and addresses)
- Sometimes you have to label parts of a map or a diagram
- Sometimes you have a list to sort out into types, (for example sorting people into groups)
- Sometimes you have to match up two different lists (for example matching names and addresses)
The four parts of the exam are divided into two conversations, and two monologues. They are also divided into social situations and training/educational situations. So you will get a social conversation and a social monologue, and a training/educational conversation and a training/educational monologue.
Part 1. This a social conversation, usually dealing with a 'transaction'. (For example someone asking for information or buying something.) You will need to listen for specific information (for example names or prices).
Part 2. This monologue is something you might come across in everyday situations - for example a public announcement, or someone giving instructions about how to do something, or describing a particular situation. Again you need to listen for factual details.
Part 3. This is a conversation in related to education/training. For example you might hear a tutor and student discussing the results of a test, or someone asking for an explanation. Many students find parts 3 and 4 more difficult because you must not just listen for facts, but also for people's opinions, and how they feel about the situation.
Part 4. This is an academic/training monologue. Someone will be giving an explanation or presenting an arguement. (Remember an arguement here is not a quarrel, but joining ideas together to reach a conclusion). You will need to understand the arguement, the main points and ideas and the conclusion. You may also be asked for specific facts or any opinions which the speaker reveals.
Hints and ideas for preparation