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Listening in Levels: English for Medical Professionals

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

This post has an English medical talk, basically a medical lecture, in levels. The first recording is the easiest, with slow speech and very few verbal pauses. The recordings get harder from there. The most advanced recording is just like a real talk that might be given in a medical class at an American university

The wording in each track has been slightly adjusted for difficulty level. But the key vocabulary is the same in all four recordings.

Description of the four levels of TOEFL Listening audio

The beginner-level track is the slowest, so slow that it won’t really sound natural. The low intermediate track is slow, but not completely unnatural. The pace of speech is similar to that of an English speaking news announcer. The high intermediate track is very TOEFL-like in terms of pace. The advanced-level track is meant to sound like “the real thing.” This is what a doctor or medical professor might sound like as they talk about a medical issue.

How to use the tracks

For the best Listening practice, take the following steps:

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.
  1. Review the vocabulary from the last 5 posts in this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Vocabulary Review). Make sure you  have a good feel for what each key term means, and what each term sounds like.
  2. Listen to the high-intermediate track.
  3. If you had trouble understanding the high-intermediate track, listen to the low-intermediate track. Can you figure out which words you missed, now that the speech is slower?
  4. If there are still some words you can’t hear clearly, listen to the beginner-level track.
  5. If even the beginner-level track has words you’re not sure about, check the transcript for this lecture (appearing at the very bottom of this post, below the audio file links). Is there any vocabulary you didn’t recognize as you listened?
  6. Now, listen to the high intermediate track again. You may find you understand it much better. If you’re able to recognize a lot of stuff you missed the first time, make note of the listening mistakes you made. This can help you know which listening skills you need to improve.
  7. Listen to the advanced track. If you can master listening at that speed, you’re truly ready to study medicine or work as a medical professional in an English-speaking environment.
  8. Now it’s time to self-assess. If you had to listen to the beginner or low intermediate tracks to fully understand what you heard, then you need to really improve your listening skills before test day. If there are a lot of words in the lecture that you still don’t feel confident with, you may need to build up your medical vocabulary as you continue to practice listening.

Track 1: Medical Lecture, Beginner Level

Track 2: Medical Lecture, Low Intermediate Level

Track 3: Medical Lecture, High Intermediate Level (similar to the TOEFL)

Track 4: Medical Lecture, Advanced Level (like a real medical talk at an American university or clinical training site)

Transcript of the audio (most closely patterned after Track 4)

OK. So today we’re going to talk about dehydration in children. And this can be a very serious health problem for kids, especially infants and toddlers, because their bodies are so small and so sensitive to changes in fluid levels. And infants and toddlers– and even older children– don’t always know how to explain their symptoms properly and really tell a doctor what’s going on.

So today, what we’re going to look at is some common causes of dehy– dehydration, and what kinds of disorders and diseases doctors can screen for and try to treat, so that children are less dehydrated if they’re having these health problems.

OK, now, the most frequent causes of dehydration in children are fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Um… so fever, children can sweat a lot, lose fluids that way. Diarrhea or vomiting, the fluids are kinda being thrown up–uh– by the children, due to digestive problems. So what kinds of illnesses cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting?

Well, um, there are some common viral infections to look out for. Um, if a child is showing symptoms of dehydration, you can check for the rotavirus, the Norwalk virus and the adenovirus. These are very common causes of dehydration.

Um, you can also look for certain bacterial infections. And two of the big ones here are salmonella and e-coli. Both of those come from food poisoning, and they can cause that fever, that diarrhea, that vomiting, sometimes all three. And uh, that can be a serious problem, but a treatable one. So you want to screen for salmonella and e coli.

Uh, finally, don’t rule out parasitic infections. Uh, those are a definite possibility. You want to see if a child has a digestive tract parasite that could be causing them to lose fluids in a variety of ways, but especially again by fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. So yes, um, scan for those certain kinds of viruses, those bacterial infections, and those parasites. Hopefully, that can help you find the root cause of dehydration in children, and start treating those children so they can get better.

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