TOEFL Listening Section

TOEFL Listening Section

After you have completed the reading section of the test, you will need to complete the listening section. The listening section consists of listening to conversations between two students or a student and teacher. Along with conversations, you will hear lectures from teachers. The conversations and lectures are generally between four to five minutes each. After each listening, you will be asked questions based on what you heard. These questions are meant to check your understanding of the listening, not just to test your memory skills. 

There are eight different types of listening questions. These are the eight types: 

1.      Gist-content questions

The gist of something means the main idea or theme. These types of questions check your understanding of the main idea of the lecture. You will need to ignore minor details and focus on the overall idea or theme. 

2.      Gist-purpose questions

Rather than asking about the content, these types of questions focus on the purpose of the conversation or lecture. You will need to be able to differentiate between the main topic or problem and minor digressions or unnecessary information. 

3.      Detail questions

These questions will relate to specific information you heard. These types of questions will usually need you to refer back to the notes you took of the lecture. The information asked is usually tied to the main idea of the conversation or lecture. 

4.      Questions related to understanding function

Typically, these types of questions will replay a part of the conversation and you will need to distinguish why the speaker is saying what he/she is saying. The phrase may not be directly stated, so you will need to understand the function of the words. 

5.      Questions related to understanding attitude

When answering these types of questions, you will need to focus on the speaker’s attitude and tone. This means figuring out the speaker’s thoughts, likes, dislikes, or reasoning behind his or her words used. 

6.      Organizational questions

These questions ask about the organization of a lecture or connections made. These questions may focus on comparisons or examples that the lecturer uses to explain their main idea. 

7.      Connecting Content questions

Connecting content questions ask about the correlation between ideas presented in a lecture. Some connected ideas will be clearly stated while others may require you to deduce the connection. 

8.      Inference questions

These types of questions will require you to use the information you heard in the conversation or lecture to draw conclusions. 

Now that you know all of the different listening questions, you will need to work on familiarizing yourself with them. In order to increase your TOEFL score, you should practice listening to academic lectures and focusing on the main ideas, attitude, organization, and relationships between ideas. To find more information about how you can improve your TOEFL listening, email

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Published on January 3, 2022

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