If you’re aiming for a high mark on CELPIP listening test, your level of English is most probably quite advanced. Many CELPIP test takers truly amaze with their language proficiency skills. They are able to start and maintain conversations, as well as understand university level lectures and take part in them. What is remarkable is when they venture out for the test with little to no preparation, they are unable to attain high marks in listening. Why is that? Let’s look at a few possible reasons.
First, the listening part of the CELPIP test requires an immense level of concentration. If you have trouble paying attention for a significant amount of time (i.e. equal to the time of the listening test), you’re most likely to get a lower mark. You would be better off practising paying sustained attention to some news broadcast on the news channel, or trying to retain some small details off a TED talk episode. It’s almost a fact that if you got a bit distracted during the listening test, you’re likely to fail that specific part all together. You might still score higher on the next listening episode, but you failed that specific one thinking about other things.
So, what can be done? One piece of advice which we give our students is try to take small notes. Jot whatever small things you can catch even though you seem like you understand the dialogues and monologues and can remember. Those notes are going to save you when you move to the questions. Next, keep in mind that almost all the questions follow chronological order. For example, if something was mentioned at the beginning of the news item, it’s going to appear as one of the first questions. Finally, if you missed some information and can’t answer a certain number of questions, don’t get discouraged. Pick your best guess and move on. You will catch up with other questions if you can bounce back from the disappointment, but will miss on more questions if you allow the disappointment to take over.
Next, the listening part of the CELPIP test will almost always touch on hot-topic subjects, such as environment, medicine, politics, education, etc. It is always a nice idea to brush up your knowledge of them. At least, read some articles or listen to some lectures. At most, form your opinion about them because that will allow you to tap deeper into the content of each topic. Be prepared that once you’re presented with a certain topic, you will be offered different viewpoints on the actual test.
And finally, and most importantly, practise your English to the best of your ability. Emphasize on synonyms as much as you can because on the listening test, speakers will use different words for the same meaning. Find ways to practise that along with paying sustained attention, as well as listening, reading and researching the subjects of current public interest.
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