Today I’d like to write about what I think is the best way to solve the Part 3 and 4 questions. As you see in the photo, in these parts, you can see the questions as well as the answer choices. In other English tests, you don’t get to see the questions. I guess TOEIC is just about the only English test in which you can do that, and I really believe there’s something seriously wrong with this design.
As I said in the Day5 entry of my diary, many TOEIC examinees look at the answer choices while listening to what’s being said, which I think really hinders the development of their listening comprehension. So, instead of this approach, I teach my students to look at only the questions or more like keep them in mind while focusing most of their attention on listening.
The beginning part of the dialogue or talk is often related to the first two questions, so you might want to be aware of the second question as well as the first one from the start. The key is not to look at the answer choices, let alone choose your answers. If you start reading the choices while listening, your ears are bound to get distracted and you might miss some key information you need to catch.
In my TOEIC lesson, I always have my students listen to the dialogues or talks one more time without looking at anything, after they solve the questions. The purpose is to check how much they understood what was said the first time and then how much better the second time. In most cases, there is a huge gap in comprehension between their first listening and their second listening.
But ideally, when you’re listening to solve the questions, you can understand what’s being said almost as well as when you’re only listening later. That’s because in this approach, you just keep the questions in mind while listening, so you don’t get distracted as much. Or if you get used to this way of listening, you will hardly get distracted.
In my case, my listening is not affected at all by keeping the questions in mind. But if I glance through the answer choices and try to find the correct ones while listening, my comprehension can decline to as low as 50 percent. If you make sure to catch key information for each question this way, you will still remember that by the time you solve the questions. So you don’t have to select your answers while listening, for fear of forgetting what you’ve heard.