ISLPR Language Services Blog

Strategies for ISLPR Test Candidates: The Listening Test (Part 2)

Posted by on Apr 19, 2021 at 10:27 AM

Over the next month we will go over some tips to help you mentally prepare yourself for an ISLPR test and strategies to help you perform well during an exam.

To make things easy, we’ll break the test down into 4 parts and provide strategies to improve each of your macro-skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Today, we’re looking at:

The Listening Test.

Part 2: during the test

  1. If at any time during the test you don’t understand something the tester has said, you need to decide whether or not to admit that you didn’t understand. You may decide to wait for a short time in case you get some more clues to help you, but don’t be afraid to ask for repetition, paraphrasing or explanation when you need it.
  2. Whether listening to the tester or to a text presented electronically, don’t be afraid to guess (and to admit this).
  3. The aim is to prove your understanding of what you have listened to. Therefore, use your own words. We do not recommend repeating word for word what you have listened to.
  4. Use the knowledge that you already have – from language situations in your first language or English – about different kinds of texts that the tester presents electronically.
    • For example, you expect a news story to give new information and you know that, in a media interview, the interviewer is trying to elicit something of interest from an interviewee who has expertise in a particular field or other knowledge that might be of interest to the public.
  5. To help you with electronic texts, make sure that you know about the context of a text.
    • For example, if the test has not told you, ask where and when the text would have been heard – or would still be heard – in real life.
  6. To help you further, consider whether in real life you would be interested in a speaker’s attitudes and intentions as well as actual information. If in doubt, check with the tester whether you are expected to talk about such attitudes and intentions.
  7. To show how well you have understood a text, you will talk to the tester about it. You need to consider whether you should take notes and, if so, whether you should do this while the text is being played, immediately afterwards, or both. To help you decide, ask the tester for an indication of the length of the text that you are about to listen to.
  8. It is possible that you will already know information that is relevant to the text but not actually in the text. Use this prior knowledge to help you understand the text but remember that the tester is interested in the ideas in the text, not in your prior knowledge.

Now, a final point on note taking! In real life, we normally take notes about a text only if it is important to remember something and we feel that we can’t trust our memory. Because of the effects of test anxiety and because of the particular way that you have to demonstrate your understanding in an ISLPR test, you might decide to take notes about a text even though you would not do this in real life. However, remember that note-taking may interfere with your comprehension, particularly if you focus on details that are not key (e.g. the exact amount of money stolen as opposed the less than $10). While notes may be taken in your first language, we recommend that you use English. Switching between languages can interfere with comprehension.

If you take notes, keep them short, no more than one or two words on any point so as to avoid missing what follows.

To know more and to experience the listening tasks, book a listening tutorial with one of our accredited ISLPR® tutors!

>>> Part 1: The Listening Test Guidelines <<<

©  ISLPR Language Services Pty Ltd, October 2019

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