Test takers who receive a score at the INTERMEDIATE level, as you did, typically understand conversations and lectures in English that present a wide range of listening demands. These demands can include difficult vocabulary (uncommon terms or colloquial or figurative language), complex grammatical structures and/ or abstract or complex ideas. However, lectures and conversations that require the listener to make sense of unexpected or seemingly contradictory information may present some difficulty.
When listening to conversations and lectures like these, test takers at the INTERMEDIATE level typically can:
understand explicitly stated main ideas and important details, especially if they are reinforced, but may have difficulty understanding main ideas that must be inferred or important details that are not reinforced; understand how information is being used (for example, to provide support or describe a step in a complex process); recognize how pieces of information are connected (for example, in a cause-and-effect relationship); understand, though perhaps not consistently, ways that speakers use language for purposes other than to give information (for example, to emphasize a point, express agreement or disagreement, or convey intentions indirectly); and synthesize information from adjacent parts of a lecture or conversation and make correct inferences on the basis of that information, but may have difficulty synthesizing information from separate parts of a lecture or conversation.
Practice listening in English daily. Gradually increase the amount of time that you spend listening, the length of the listening selections and the difficulty of the material.
Listen to different kinds of materials on a variety of topics:
Start with familiar topics; then move to topics that are new to you.
Listen to audio and video material on tape/DVD or recorded from TV, radio and the Internet.
Listen to programs with academic content, such as NOVA, BBC and NPR broadcasts.
Listen to conversations and phone recordings.
- take notes as you listen for main ideas and important details.
- Ask yourself about basic information (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?).
- Make predictions about what you will hear next.
- Write down new words and expressions.
For more difficult material, listen several times:
1. First listen with English subtitles, if they are available;
2. Then, without subtitles, listen for the main ideas and key details;
3. Then listen again to fill in gaps in your basic understanding and to understand the connections