TOEFL Listening Practice
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TOEFL Listening Skill 2: Understand The Details

Detail questions ask you about specific pieces of information that are stated in a passage. As you listen to each passage, you should focus on the details from the passage because questions about details quite commonly accompany the passages. Multiple-choice questions are used to test details, and these multiple-choice questions may have one correct answer or two correct answers.

The following chart outlines the key points you should remember about detail questions.

What is stated in the passage ... ?
What is indicated in the passage ... ?
According to the speaker, ... ?
Information needed to answer detail questions is directly stated in the passage.
The answers to detail questions are generally found in order in the passage.
1. Listen carefully to the details in the passage.
2. Look for an answer that restates the information from the passage.
3. Eliminate the definitely wrong answers and choose the best remaining choices.

Look at an example of part of a passage.

Example 1: Astronomy - Halley's Comet

(narrator) Listen to a part of a lecture in an astronomy class.

(professor) Halley's cornet, which passes by our planet every 76 years, last came by our planet in 1986 .... This comet was named after astronomer Edmund Halle, who correctly predicted its return in 1758, sixteen years after his death.

After you listen to the conversation, the first question and answer choices appear on the com­puter screen as the narrator states the question. This is a detail question with one correct answer.

Question 1: What is stated in the lecture about Halley's comet?

a. It last came by in 1976.
b. It comes by once every 76 years.
c. It did not appear between 1758 and 1986.
d. It gave its name to an astronomer.

In the lecture, the professor states that Halley's comet ... passes by our planet every 76 years. This means that it comes by once every 76 years. The second answer is therefore the best answer to this question.

Now look at another example of a multiple-choice question about a direct detail. This question has two correct answers.

Question 2: What does the lecturer say about Edmund Halley? (Choose 2 answers.)

a. He lived to the age of 76.
b. He made an accurate prediction.
c. He was an astronomer.
d. He viewed the comet in 1758.

In the lecture, the professor mentions astronomer Edmund Halley, ,who correctly predicted its return. This means that Edmund Halley was an astronomer ... and made an accurate predic­tion. The second and third answers are therefore the best answers to this question.