The TOEIC Listening Section tests you using 4 different formats: photograph-based questions, question-response, conversation-based questions and questions about short talks. For more information about these questions, check our article “The TOEIC exam structure in details.

Although these sections are all different, the following tips apply to each of them. These are general strategies to keep in mind while taking each section of the TOEIC listening section.


How to Succeed on the TOEIC Listening Section


  • Search for key words in each question. Who is the subject? What is he/she doing?


  • Listen to the questions and pay attention to what makes each question different. On what is each individual question focused?


  • Figure out the main topic of the conversation. Does someone need something? Does anyone have a strong opinion about something?


  • Avoid mistakes: When listening or reading to the prompts, pay attention to fine details. Are there words that sound similar to the key words of the question but may mean something totally different?


  • Eliminate wrong answers first. The correct answer tends not to contain the same words used in the recording. They are more likely to use synonyms. Carefully read each answer before choosing the one you think is correct.


  • On the photograph section, analyze the picture and infer what’s going on before the audio starts. What are the main characters and elements? What is the main action? How are they related? You can figure out a lot of information by analyzing the picture.


  • Pay attention to words that change the meaning of the sentence, such as negation, words associated with time, homophones, etc.


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