Prelistening skills

Prelistening skills

Before the recording starts
♦ Check instructions – how many words/numbers are permitted for the answer?
♦ Skim and orientate – establish context (Wh – questions e.g. who, where, what)
♦ Underline keywords and think of synonyms
♦ Establish required information
♦ Predict answers

Prelistening includes not just the time between sitting down in your examination seat and when the listening test actually starts. It also includes the time you use 24-48 hours before taking the test.

Looking at the test paper – Use the information given to you on the question sheet to help you follow the conversations you are listening to. You do not want to end up not knowing which answer you should be listening for because it is then very difficult to concentrate but very easy to panic.

Read through the questions before the listening starts. This lets you guess what answer you are looking for. For example, in Part 1 you might know you are listening for a type of job, an address, a telephone number and so on.

During the time when you are given 30 seconds – this happens before each section starts – you have the perfect opportunity to read the set of questions that are coming next and decide what you are listening for to answer each question.

To help you focus as well decide what you need to listen for you should underline the important words in each question. The Wh- questions – who, where, what, when, why, which, how – are all good words to underline as they will help to remind you what kind of answer you are listening for.

Practice 1
Look at the exercise below and try to predict what kind of information you are listening for by looking at the Wh-questions and then match it to the possible answers i–x. Notice that there are more answers than needed.

Wh- questions   predicted information
A How i last fortnight
B How many ii 10 -14 days
C How often iii occasionally
D What iv by truck
E When v that project
F Where vi it became stuck
G Which vii New York
H Who viii rich tourists
I Why ix six
x a truck

a. iv b. ii / ix c. iii d. x e. i f. vii g. v / xi h. viii i. vi

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