HOW TO PRACTISE LISTENING

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HOW TO PRACTISE LISTENING

I often receive questions about listening materials and how to practise listening before the exam.
There are a few places online which I recommend when it comes to practising this skill.

 

  1. First of all, it is advisable to visit the website of the Polish Armed Forces School of Languages http://wsnjo.wp.mil.pl where you can find past papers and see what the exam tasks in listening look like.
    From the model exam, also available on the website, you will learn that:
     
     

    EXAM DESCRIPTION

    The test consists of 3 tasks and contains 20 questions.

    You can expect all topics from general and professional areas such as politics, economics, science, technology, culture, etc.

    Text types used include:
    Authentic radio recordings:
    - news items
    - interviews
    - reports with dialogues

    Studio recordings:
    - military briefings

    Task Types
    - multiple choice
    - note-taking
Task 1 consists of 2-3 authentic radio interviews and reports with dialogues - up to 3 minutes long accompanied by multiple choice questions with three options (5-6 questions).
Task 2 contains a military briefing (studio recording) - up to 6 minutes long accompanied by a task consisting in note-taking (6-7 questions).
Task 3 involves 8 short authentic radio news items - up to 20 seconds long multiple choice questions with three options (8 questions).

In task 1 and 2 you will listen to the recording twice, in task 3 they will be played only once.

 

The website offers a few examination sets from previous years which you can use to practise particular types of tasks.

 

2. Another method you can follow is using First Certificate Exam tests in listening to practise doing tests in listening. However, the recordings in FCE  are a little easier than the ones you can expect at STANAG 6001 level 3 and the topics are more general. So, it might be a good idea to start your preparations by doing FCE tests, and then moving on the CAE ones.

 

3. The topics which you can expect at the exam are connected with the news, politics, international relations, foreign politics, military, etc., so the best way to practise is to listen to the news and other authentic audio materials. Here are a few links that you may find useful:

 

Obviously, you can use English-language news agencies, such as CNN, BBC, Army Times, Defense News, etc. However, especially, at the beginning the authentic material may be too challenging for you.
There are also services for learners of English offered by these agencies and other broadcasters which publish online audio and video materials adapted to the needs of learners of English as a foreign language, offering transcripts, exercises, vocabulary or subtitles.
 
Here's my selection:
1) CNN's service for learners - 10-minute videos on current news with a transcript
➡ http://edition.cnn.com/cnn10
2) BBC Learning English service - 6-minute videos with vocabulary, questions and a transcript
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learninge…/…/features/6-minute-english/
3) Seeker - YouTube channel with a popular science twist, presenting short 3 to 10 minute long videos
https://www.youtube.com/user/DNewsChannel
4) Now This - YouTube channel presenting about 10-minute long current news videos with a commentary, not always neutral. As they describe themselves they provide: Mobile news for a social generation.
https://www.youtube.com/user/nowthismedia
5) News in levels - short recordings in three versions adapted to the different level students with a transcript
https://www.newsinlevels.com/
 
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