In order to improve listening skills there are 3 specific strategies that can be adopted. The difficulty when it comes to listening is to be able to pick out the correct important information and answer appropriately.
1. PREDICTING THE CONTENT means that you imagine what type of information will be delivered and what kind of language will be used. This can then trigger old knowledge within that same area and the fear of not understanding can be removed. If the fear of understanding is removed then your brain can relax and when this happens the chance of understanding what you are hearing will increase.
2. LISTENING FOR GIST OR DETAIL
A. Listening for gist means to get the overall picture of what is being said.
B. Listening for details is listening for smaller details, such as names, years, reasons, etcetera.
- Always read the questions before starting s listening exercise!
- Try to figure out whether the answer to the questions should be an overall picture (gist) or a detailed answer!
- Listen for keywords!
- Find out how many questions you should answer for every listening exercise!
- Take notes! Focus on keywords, numbers, phrases, repetition and anything realting to the questions.
3. FIGURING OUT THE MAIN POINTS
Taking notes requires skill. You should never try to write everything. Instead listen for clues such as introductions, repetitions, emphasis (change in tone of voice=important information) and speed (slowing down).
Fredriksson, M. (2013) The English Handbook. Förlag: Natur & Kultur, Stockholm.