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Archive | Listening Practice

Listening Exercise: Informal Speech in a Cooking TV Show

In a recent post, I showed you how to practice your English listening skills with recipes. The post included some video clips from cooking shows. Since then, a student of mine has pointed out that English language cooking shows can be challenging. They have a lot of informal speech and can be heavy in phrasal […]

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Improve Your English Listening and Speaking Skills with Karaoke

When it comes to listening in English (or any second language), one of the biggest challenges is detecting the boundaries of words. By this, I mean that it can be hard to tell where one word begins and another one ends as you listen. In writing, of course this isn’t an issue—but in listening there […]

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Learn to Listen Without Transcripts, Using Minute Science

In nearly all TOEFL Listening prep materials, you’ll be given the chance to read transcripts of what you hear. Sometimes the transcripts appear at the bottom of the screen as subtitles, and sometimes an entire transcript appears below a video or listening activity. Transcripts are included in prep materials with good reason. As you start […]

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Practice Listening With Educational Videos

The Internet is full of educational videos that provide good academic listening practice. TED Talks and Khan Academy—both of which have been mentioned frequently on this blog—are two of the most popular sources of academic English speech. But these are just two of many video series that feature lectures in English. Let’s look at a […]

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Learning Activity: Understanding Messy English Conversations

As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, conversational speech is kind of disorganized, compared to academic lectures. You’ll need to understand both lectures and conversations for the TOEFL… and for your actual life as an international student. Conversation is messy—speakers interrupt each other, talk over each other, say the wrong words, repeat […]

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Why English Conversations Are Hard to Follow

On the TOEFL, you will listen to two types of speech: lectures and conversations. Lectures are fairly formal and well-organized. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, lectures actually have a structure similar to straightforward academic writing. Conversations are not so straightforward. There are a number of features in conversational English that make conversations hard to […]

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The Best ESL Podcasts

For students of ESL, podcasts can be a great way to improve your English. Although it may seem that they’re only useful for improving your listening skills on the TOEFL, they can actually expand your vocabulary and comprehension in ways that translate into higher scores in the reading, speaking, and writing sections as well. Furthermore, […]

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English Listening and Speaking Practice on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

In 2009, Saturday Night Live comedian Jimmy Fallon became the new host of the popular American talk show Late Night. Since then, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has become famous for the fun games that Jimmy plays with the show’s celebrity guests. The games are always enjoyable to watch, and a lot of them are […]

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