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TOEFL Listening Task Examples

There are a couple of listening practice sets already on the Magoosh blog. You can check out a lecture-based practice set that I wrote, plus these great suggestions from Lucas on finding good listening practice online. Although it can be difficult to sort out the really useful listening material from the bad imitations, at the end of the day, English practice is English practice, and the more you listen—to anything—the better off you’ll be.

Below you’ll find a listening exercise based on a conversation between a student and a registration clerk. Listen to the recording (02:55-06:12) and answer the questions below.

1. Why does the student go to see the clerk?

    1. The student does not know what classes to register for.
    2. The student has missed the registration deadline.
    3. The student does not know where the library is.
    4. The student is having problems with the online registration system.

2. According to the clerk, what is the most likely cause of the student’s registration problem?

    1. The student is registering for classes outside his major.
    2. The student has an overdue fee at the library.
    3. Online registration is already closed.
    4. The student need to pay tuition.

3. Why does the student mention a childhood acquaintance?

    1. To explain why he is confident in his memory.
    2. To provide an example that illustrates his point.
    3. To ask the clerk for help.
    4. To tell the clerk of a common acquaintance.

4. What will the student probably do next?

    1. Pay a fine he owes immediately online
    2. Go to the library after dinner
    3. Go to the registrar’s office to register for classes in person
    4. Go research his psychology term paper at the library

The student says (about 03:30) “Whenever I press The ‘Complete registration’ button, I get a notice that says, ‘Sorry, we cannot complete this registration. Please see a clerk for details.’ Although the clerk asks if the student is having trouble choosing classes or professors, the student’s problem is technological. so the correct answer to question 1 is D.

At 03:50, the clerk looks at his computer and finds that the student’s trouble is due to an overdue fee at the library on a psychology book. According to the system, the student owes the library $10. So the answer to question 2 is B.

The student tells the professor that he knew the library clerk to whom he paid the fine. They talked for 45 minutes (04:50). The student worries that the library clerk forgot to log the overdue payment because of their long conversation, so the correct answer is A. The student mentions the childhood acquaintance to explain why his payment was not entered into the system.

The student does not have time to get to the library and then back to the registrar’s office before the registrar closes at 4 PM (05:40). Instead, he decides to go to the library after dinner, after which he’ll register online. So the  correct answer is B.


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2 Responses to TOEFL Listening Task Examples

  1. Aaliya August 10, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Hi Kate,
    I have a doubt in question 3. According to the recording, the student mentions the library clerk being an acquaintance of his when asked by the registration clerk if the student was sure he had paid the fine for the psychology book only. So, why can’t the answer be B, where the student mentions the library clerk to illustrate his point, which is-he already paid the fine and distinctly remembers it?
    The student guesses that the library clerk may not have logged in his payment into the system after he mentions about him/her to the registration clerk, not before.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas August 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Aaliya,

      You’re right about this! The purpose of the student mentioning the librarian isn’t exactly to explain the missing payment. At first, the student mentions the librarian to explain why he is so confident in his memory. So I changed answer choice (A) to be better. 🙂

      As for answer choice (B), the fact that the student knew the librarian isn’t an “example” of anything. That word simply doesn’t describe the relationship. An example is a specific case of a general idea. That’s not in the conversation.

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