LISTENING COMPREHENSION SKILLS
What is Listening Comprehension?
This skill tests a student’s ability to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND a read passage in order to answer corresponding questions (usually in English). In order to perfect this skill, there are particular skills one should apply and also common myths that one should avoid. These are:
Read questions before listening to the passage. Usually, you will be given the questions before having to listen to the passage. During this time, read through in order to target what are the key terms/ phrases that you need to listen for. For example, if a question is phrased with the interrogative ‘WHERE’, then you know you will have to listen for a place name.
When beginning to listen to the passage, DO NOT panic if you do not understand every word; accept the fact that you are not going to understand everything. Sometimes simply the tone of the speaker’s voice can give you information that you may not have understood from the actual vocabulary.
DO NOT TRANSLATE! Many students assume that the only way to truly understand a passage is by translating it word for word. This may actually hinder your ability to fully understand the passage because you may spend too much time trying to translate an individual word, therefore missing other important points.
Remember that you need to understand the main idea of the entire passage first. This is why there is more than one reading of the passage. Listen for key words or phrases that help you understand the general idea. Also, ensure that the main idea is known before concentrating on detail.
Avoid writing and listening at the same time; this may distract you from upcoming information. You should simply trust your short-term memory until it is time to write.
Always remember that there is no better way to prepare for a listening comprehension passage than PRACTICE. This allows you to become more comfortable with the vocabulary, tone and pronunciation of the spoken language as well as develop personal skills in order to maximize on every reading of the text.