Preparation Tips for Cambridge English: Advanced Listening
- The instructions for each task are given on the question paper and are also heard on the recording. This includes information about the speakers, the topic and the context of the text. Before each text is heard, candidates will have time to read through and think about the questions. The length of this preparation time is indicated on the tape. Candidates should use this time to familiarise themselves with the task and begin to make predictions about what they are likely to hear.
- A variety of voices, styles of delivery and accents will be heard in each Listening paper to eflect the various contexts presented in the recordings.
- Classroom discussion activities in the target language provide an invaluable source of listening practice. Students’ ability to understand what they hear can improve dramatically if they are regularly exposed to audio materials: the more English they hear, delivered at natural speed in a variety of voices and contexts, the more confident they will become in extracting key information and gist meaning, even when they are not able to decode every single word or phrase. These skills are essential to learners at Cambridge English: Advanced level.
- A daily learning programme which includes a ‘hearing English’ component from audio recordings will help prepare your students for the Listening test. Your students should be exposed to varieties of English, to speakers of different ages and backgrounds and to the language of different contexts, e.g. formal announcements, lectures, less formal talks, informal discussions, interviews, etc.
- Your students should be encouraged to deal with texts in different ways depending on the nature of the listening task. For example, they might listen to a text once for gist, producing a summary of the main ideas or attitudes expressed. They could then be asked to listen to the same text again, this time retrieving specific information.
- Make your students aware of how much they themselves bring to a listening task. Encourage them to make predictions about listening texts from their own experience and world knowledge. The instruction provides information about the speaker, topic and context. Encourage your students to use this information to help them tune into the text quickly when they hear it. Remind your students that they should use the pause before each recording to read through the task carefully, so they are prepared for what they hear. Encourage them to use the task on the question paper to guide them through the listening text and keep their place as they answer the questions.
- Remind your students that in long texts, the questions come in the same order as the information in the recording, and therefore reflect the structure of the text. Help them to identify discourse markers, interviewers’ questions and other textual features that structure a text and are often reflected in the layout and wording of the task on the page.
- Remind your students that in sentence-completion tasks they should write their answers clearly in CAPITAL LETTERS.
- Encourage your students to answer all the questions, even if they are not sure, as there are no marks deducted for wrong answers and it may be that they have understood more than they think.