Inside the TOEFL® Test - Listening Detail Questions



Video duration: 2:47

People in this video

Female Student
Male Coach


[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 detail questions.

Inside the TOEFL® Test – Listening
Detail Questions

Michael: Detail questions are probably the most straightforward of all the listening question types. They will ask you to remember specific facts about the lecture or conversation.

Detail Questions – Specific facts

Michael: You can recognize detail questions, because they include phrases like "according to” and "what is” in the question.
Detail questions will always ask about an important conceptual detail. You will not be expected to memorize trivial details, such as whether something happened in 1977 or 1978.
The answer to a Detail question will always be explicitly stated in the listening conversation or lecture.

On-screen: Recognizing the Question Type
Detail Questions

  • According to…
  • What is…?

Important Details [green check mark]
No trivial details [red x]

Answer always explicitly stated

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

On-screen: Recognizing the Question Type
[picture of male coach and female student]

FEMALE STUDENT: Okay, I guess I'll see you this afternoon at practice, then.
MALE COACH: Just a minute. There are a couple of other things I need to tell you.
MALE COACH: Uh . . . First, everybody's getting a new team jacket.
FEMALE STUDENT:  Wow. How did that happen?
MALE COACH: A woman who played here about 20, 25 years ago came through town a few weeks ago and saw a game, and said she wanted to do something for the team, so . . .
FEMALE STUDENT:  So she's buying us new jackets?

FEMALE STUDENT:  Wow, that's really nice of her.

MICHAEL: An example of a Detail question is:
Who is buying new jackets for the team?
Again, a Detail question will always be a fact that is directly stated in the listening passage.
The coach explicitly tells the woman that a former player is the one who is buying the team new jackets, which makes option C the correct answer.

On-screen: Who is buying new jackets for the team?

  1. The coach
  2. The captain of the team
  3. A former player
  4. A group of basketball fans

Michael: Here's a tip to help you practice recognizing important details in a conversation or lecture.

On-screen: Skill Building Tips – Remembering Important Details

Michael: Find a friend or study partner and listen to a short audio clip. When it's finished, each of you write down as much as you can remember. Then compare notes to see who remembered more of the important points and supporting details.

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