David Recine

TOEFL Listening Lectures: Vocabulary in Context

In TOEFL Listening lectures, you’ll often hear words you don’t understand. Unlike reading, you can’t stop to carefully look at the vocabulary in context.

Still, it’s very tempting to try and stop when you hear an unfamiliar word — resist this urge! Stopping to think about the vocabulary you just heard is the easiest way to get completely lost and confused during a TOEFL Listening lecture.

Remember that in TOEFL Listening lectures, you don’t actually need to stop for an unfamiliar word. Whenever you hear a truly important new word, the professor will always go on to define the word. If you stop to think about the word you just heard, you’ll miss the definition that the professor is about to give. Instead, relax and just go with the flow of the lecture — the speaker will always give you the meanings of the key terms.

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TOEFL Listening Practice: Audio of a TOEFL Listening Lecture

To practice listening for the meanings of words in a TOEFL lecture, play the audio track linked below. It’s an audio version of the TOEFL Listening transcript from pages 19 and 20 of TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 2 (click the image, and the audio will open in a new window):

TOEFL Listening lectures: Vocabulary in Context


Did you catch the key terms and definitions in the lecture? If you’re not sure, don’t worry. I’ve created an audio study guide for the lecture. You can click the audio file for each vocabulary word, and then click the audio file for the meaning of the word, as spoken by the professor.

TOEFL Listening Vocabulary in Context: Mini-Dictionary for the Lecture




  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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