Sunday, October 27, 2013

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE LISTENING PART OF ANY ENGLISH PROFICIENCY EXAM


Preparing for the listening part of any major English language test( The proficiency, TOEFL, IELTS) is very easy in the contemporary world as you no longer need someone to read to you; you have quadrillions of videos to do the job.  The general principle is to combine your listening with writing to guarantee the transfer of information and accelerate learning. So here are my suggestions on how to prepare for the listening section of a proficiency exam entirely on your own provided you have internet access. Copy paste the following into you search section and check out the results:
1.       www.ted.com and how to use it:
·         Decide on a topic to research; for instance ‘Slavery in the Modern World’
·         Print the title in the search section
·         Click talks from the list on the left of the screen and go for it
·         You will get a long list of videos. Watch them first without English subtitles and take notes. Then watch them again with subtitles and check your notes.
·         Last of all, write your essay based on your notes
The Bonus: this listening into writing activity will help you learn vocabulary, collocations, organization and revise grammar in addition to testing your listening.
2.       booksshouldbefree.com and how to use it:
·         This is an audio book website and is free. First go to the left of the screen and select a genre ( history, romance, science fiction and the like)
·         The site will throw up pages of audio books in the category you selected.
·         Download the book you chose onto your phone, mp3 player or listen on line.
·         Listen to the book in parts over a period of time as part of your study routine.
·         Write a book report on it when you are done.
·         There are other audio book sites listed under ‘Useful Websites, in the file marked How to Use this Blog’ on http://theproproom.blogspot.com
The Bonus: in addition to the advantages listed above, this activity develops into a habit and helps you maintain your standard after you leave the language course you are attending.
3.       openculture.com and how to use this site:
·         This site provides access to free movies, free audio books and free pretty much everything connected with language learning. Let us try the audio books first so click on this title.
·         The books on the site will be listed in alphabetical order. So select, download, listen and write.
·         Now try the free movies. Click on free movies or Oscar winners. Once again, they will appear in alphabetical order and are free to down load. So select, watch and write.
The Bonus: the advantages listed above for both sites will apply here so you can look forward to both learning and having fun.
4.       topdocumentaryfilms.com or filmsforaction.org  (or any other good film site) and how to use them:
·         Let us take top documentary films as an example. Access the site, click ‘Documentary List’ from the bar at the top to the left of the screen.
·         You will get a huge list of documentary films categorized according to genre (society, politics and the like). So select an area you are interested in and click.
·         Select a few documentaries about the same issue or aspects of the same issue and watch them. You know what you do next!
·         This activity is also possible with a single film, but make watching a documentary a part of your daily study routine.
The Bonus: all of the above advantages will apply here as well.

5.       YouTube, vimeo.com and other video posting websites including videos posted on major news websites, daily newspapers and magazines: bbcnews.com, cnn.com, wsj.com,nytimes.com,scientificamerican.com and the like.
·         Research a particular topic on the site of your choice or watch available news videos and make notes.
·         If you are following a news story, watch videos about the issue on multiple sites and make notes.
·         When you are done, write up your notes.
·         If you are researching a topic on YouTube for instance, watch a couple of videos, make notes and then write.

The Bonus: all of the above advantages will apply here as well.
6.       http://theproproom.blogspot.com and how to use this site to improve your listening:
·         Access any of the writing files listed on the right of the screen and click.
·         You will be faced with a writing activity based on reading and videos.
·         Do the research and write.
The Bonus: being a listening into reading into writing activity, a lot of learning will take place and help raise your general standard of English.
7.       http://www.uefap.com/listen/exercise/exlis.htm and Randall's ESL cyber listening lab http://www.esl-lab.com/ And how to use these websites:
·         The former houses a selection of listening activities with exercises so select a topic.
·         Now hit RP for real player or WMP for windows media player.
·         Listen and do the exercises; this is selective listening.
·         Stop to check your answers at any point and go on.
*    The latter has reading listening and speaking so click "Tips for students" and follow the advice

In conclusion, you are the learner and the internet is the source;  the above are only a small selection of what is available. There is no need to say that the methods outlined above have worked brilliantly for many hundreds of students but the ball is firmly in your court. If you don’t have access to a teacher to check your work, try grammarly.com.


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