Inside the TOEFL® Test - Listening Function Questions

 

People in this video

Michael
Female Student
Male Coach

 

Intro

[music playing]

MICHAEL: Hi, I'm Michael from ETS. Today on Inside the TOEFL Test, we're going inside the TOEFL iBT Listening section. Specifically, the Function questions. 

On-screen:
Inside the TOEFL® Test – Listening
Function Questions

Michael: Function questions ask you to identify the particular meaning of a statement in a given context, because a statement can have different meanings depending on the situation. In other words, the real meaning is different from the surface or literal meaning.
For example, if you are in a room with other people and someone says, "It's getting chilly in here," what they might really be saying is, "Could someone close the window?"

On-screen: Question Structure
Function Questions – Real meaning of a statement in context

Surface or Literal Meaning            "It's getting chilly in here"
The Real Meaning                           "Could someone close the window?"

Michael: You can recognize function questions because they include phrases like: "What does the professor mean when he says…?" or "Why does the student say … ?"

On-screen: Recognizing the Question Type
Function questions

 

Michael: Now let's look at a sample question from a conversation between a coach and a student who are catching up on what happened while the student was away.
Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

On-screen: Sample Questions
[image of female student and male coach sitting in an office]

 

MALE COACH: Hi, Elizabeth.
FEMALE STUDENT:  Hey, Coach. I just thought I'd stop by to see what I missed while I was gone.
MALE COACH: Well, we've been working real hard on our plan for the next game . . . I've asked Susan to go over it with you before practice this afternoon, so you'll know what we're doing.
FEMALE STUDENT:  Okay.
MALE COACH: By the way, how did your brother's wedding go?
FEMALE STUDENT:  Oh, it was beautiful. And the whole family was there. I saw aunts and uncles and cousins I hadn't seen in years.
MALE COACH: So it was worth the trip.
FEMALE STUDENT:  Oh definitely. I'm sorry I had to miss practice, though. I feel bad about that.
MALE COACH: Family's very important.
FEMALE STUDENT:  Yep. Okay, I guess I'll see you this afternoon at practice, then.

MICHAEL:
Here's an example of a function question:

What does the man mean when he says "Family's very important."
When looking at the answer options, think about the context of the conversation.

On-screen: What does the man mean when he says: "Family's very important."
a. He hopes the woman's family is doing well.
b. He would like to meet the woman's family.
c. The woman should spend more time with her family.
d. The woman had a good reason for missing practice.

 

Michael: So when the coach asks about the wedding, and says things like, "so it was worth the trip" and "family is very important," you can conclude that the coach understands and agrees with her decision to miss practice. So D is the correct answer.

On-screen: What does the man mean when he says: "Family's very important."
a. He hopes the woman's family is doing well.
b. He would like to meet the woman's family.
c. The woman should spend more time with her family.
d. The woman had a good reason for missing practice.

Michael: Here's a tip for building your listening skills that can also help with function questions:
When listening to a passage, ask yourself what the speaker is really doing by saying certain things. The speaker may be doing things like: Directing; Recommending; Complaining; Agreeing or Disagreeing; Questioning; or Confirming.
When you know these types of intentions and that they often happen "beneath the surface" of what is said, they can help you identify the function of what is said more easily.

On-screen: Skill building Tips- What is the speaker really saying?

Directing
Recommending
Complaining
Agreeing/Disagreeing
Questioning
Confirming

Michael: There are lots of ways to improve your English skills. Whatever you do, keep practicing. And good luck on your TOEFL test.

On-screen: For more information about the TOEFL® test and to register, visit the TOEFL® website at www.toeflgoanywhere.org

[END]

Total length of video: 3:08