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revised TOEFL® Paper-delivered Test: Listening Section

Note: These sample questions allow you to experience the types of tasks presented in the revised TOEFL® Paper-delivered Test. They are not intended to represent the way test questions are presented in the test booklets or mimic the testing experience.

The Listening section measures your ability to understand conversations and lectures in English.

On this page, you will listen to a lecture and answer questions about it.

In the actual test, you will hear the lecture only once. While you listen, you may take notes. You may use your notes to help you answer the questions. In the actual test, your notes will not be scored. Transcripts are available in this practice test, but not on the actual test. Listen to the conversation by clicking the player under the word "Listen."

The questions about the lecture are written below and should also be listened to by clicking the player above the question. In the actual test, you will have 30 seconds to mark your answer(s) after each question is read.

The questions typically ask about the main idea and supporting details. Some questions ask about a speaker's purpose or attitude. Answer the questions based on what is stated or implied by the speakers. As you're going through the questions, select the appropriate answer or answers for each. When you're finished, click "Show all answers" at the end of the page to highlight the correct answer for each question.

Some questions have special directions:

  • Some questions require 2 answers to get 1 point. If you choose only 1 answer, you will not get any points. For these questions, you will see: Choose 2 answers.
  • In some questions, you will hear part of the lecture again.

Sample Questions

Listen:

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a meteorology class.

Professor: OK, as we begin to study clouds, we're getting into one of the big unknowns in meteorology. And that's the question of why some clouds produce rain and some don't. Now, one potential benefit of figuring this out is that we should be able to improve our ability to produce rain artificially... like by seeding clouds. Now, you probably already know how clouds form. Jennifer?

Female Student 1: Um, basically, warm air rises; as it rises it cools; and as it cools the moisture it carries condenses, forming clouds. It's probably more complex than that though.

Professor: A bit, but it's a good basic explanation. As you said, air rises, carrying water molecules with it—remember water molecules are virtually everywhere, even though we can't see them. Air temperature drops with altitude. And as the rising air cools, the water molecules condense to form droplets—by attaching to microscopic particles floating in the air. When there're enough droplets grouped together, they become visible as clouds.

Male Student 1: And the drops, they keep condensing, getting bigger and heavier, right? Until they're too heavy to stay up in the cloud and they fall out as rain.

Professor: Sort of, but, well, not exactly. Or not always. See, it all depends on size... we're talking about very small sizes... micrometers or microns... they're the same thing. That's about 1/1,000th of a millimeter. Definitely much smaller than the human eye can see. Anyway, when we talk about the size of water droplets in clouds, there are two important measurements. The first is about 10 micrometers. When droplets form, they can grow about 10 micrometers in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, quite often these droplets just stop growing. Sometimes they grow... sometimes they don't. And, as I said, we don't know why.

Professor: In the first stage of droplet formation... until the droplet reaches that 10 micrometer threshold...condensation works pretty well. But after that, it becomes a very... slow... process. It would take days for a raindrop to form using just condensation. But, once a droplet reaches 40 micrometers, the problem of growth disappears. Ah, that's our second important number... 40 micrometers. At that size, droplets have a good chance of colliding with one another and sticking together. We call the process "collision and coalescence." And once this process begins, you get rain pretty quickly. So the big question is: how come some droplets are able to grow to 40 micrometers and others aren't? There're a number of hypotheses to explain raindrop formation, but none of them offers a complete solution. One hypothesis, the turbulence hypothesis, suggests that air movement inside clouds may actually help droplets collide more quickly and more efficiently. Some meteorologists think that the violent air movement that is turbulence may actually reduce the size of droplets necessary for collision and coalescence to occur... that under the right conditions, this process could begin with droplets closer to 10 micrometers than to 40. But, as I said, this seems to be only a partial answer. Marcus?

Male Student 2: What about large particles? Because sometimes water molecules attach themselves to relatively large particles in the air.

Professor: That's another hypothesis. If water molecules attach themselves to these larger-than-average particles, they might grow to 40 micrometers much more quickly. That could mean that on days when lots of large particles are present in the air, it might be more likely to rain. But there is little evidence to support this idea.

Female Student 2: Is there any research out there that's moving towards an answer?

Professor: Well, there was an exciting project a few years ago. It was a rather extensive study performed in areas around the Caribbean Sea. The idea was to collect lots of data about the size and movements of water droplets in clouds and use that information to try and figure out what's actually happening inside of them. Researchers are still going through the data, so we don't have any answers yet. But researchers did make one unexpected discovery. They saw clouds forming out of the leftovers, um... the debris of old clouds … that was a new one to us. Now, it could be possible that this recycling initiates rainmaking, as droplets from the old cloud combine with the newly forming cloud to grow into droplets large enough to fall as raindrops. But, while we have observed new clouds forming out of old ones, we haven't yet seen them produce rain.

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

For each question, choose 1 answer unless there are special directions.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: What does the professor mainly discuss?

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. What does the professor mainly discuss?
    1. Current research that examines cloud formation
    2. Hypotheses about how clouds produce rain
    3. Effects of air movement on raindrops
    4. Reasons for studying raindrop formation

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: According to the professor, what often happens to water droplets in clouds when they reach a size of 10 micrometers?

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. According to the professor, what often happens to water droplets in clouds when they reach a size of 10 micrometers?
    1. They stop growing.
    2. They begin to fall as rain.
    3. They attach to larger particles in the air.
    4. They become visible to the human eye.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: What does the professor imply about recent research conducted in the Caribbean Sea?

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. What does the professor imply about recent research conducted in the Caribbean Sea?
    1. It helped disprove several hypotheses about droplet formation.
    2. It has not yet produced clear support for any current hypotheses.
    3. It has provided researchers with new hypotheses about air movement in clouds.
    4. It is not as thorough as other studies about raindrop formation.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: What does the discussion of the collision and coalescence process help explain?

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. What does the discussion of the collision and coalescence process help explain?
    1. One way new clouds are formed in the Caribbean region
    2. The violence of the process of cloud formation
    3. How water droplets larger than 40 micrometers form raindrops
    4. Factors that keep water droplets smaller than 40 micrometers from increasing in size

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: According to the turbulence hypothesis, what is the effect of increased turbulence inside a cloud?

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. According to the turbulence hypothesis, what is the effect of increased turbulence inside a cloud?
    1. It increases the number of collisions between droplets.
    2. It accelerates the disintegration of that cloud.
    3. It increases the number of raindrops a cloud can hold.
    4. It encourages the formation of unusually large raindrops.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

Narrator: Listen again to part of the lecture. Then answer the question.

Professor: But after that, it becomes a very... slow... process.

Narrator: Why does the professor say this:

Professor: it becomes a very... slow... process

END TRANSCRIPT CONTENT

  1. Listen again to part of the lecture. Then answer the question.

    Why does the professor say this:

    1. To keep the students attentive by employing humor
    2. To help students understand a difficult concept
    3. To correct a previous statement
    4. To emphasize a point he is making

Answers

  1. B
  2. A
  3. B
  4. C
  5. A
  6. D

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