The Listening Module


Find the Hidden Meaning

Look for the meaning behind a statement. When a speaker answers a question with a statement that doesn’t immediately seem to answer the question, the response probably contained a hidden meaning that you will need to recognize and explain.

Man: Are you going to be ready for your presentation?

Woman: I’ve only got half of it finished and it’s taken me five hours just to do this much.  There’s only an hour left before the presentation is due.

At first, the woman did not seem to answer the question the man presented.  She responded with a statement that only seemed loosely related.  Once you look deeper, then you can find the true meaning of what she said. If it took the woman five hours to do the first half of the presentation, then it would logically take her another five hours to do the second half. Since she only has one hour until her presentation is due, she would probably NOT be able to be ready for the presentation.  So, while an answer was not immediately visible to the man’s question, when you applied some logic to her response, you could find the hidden meaning beneath.

Memory Enhancers

You have scratch paper provided to you while taking the test. This can be a huge help. While you listen, you are free to make notes. If different people are talking, use short hand to describe the main characteristics of each speaker.  As you hear main adjectives that you think might be hard to remember, jot them down quickly in order that you can refer to them later during the question stage. Use your notes to help you remember those hard to remember facts.  Don’t end your test without making use of your scratch paper ally.


Speaker 1: I’m Bob Thomas, and I’m majoring in business development.

Speaker 2: I’m Matt Smith, and I’m majoring in chemical engineering.

Speaker 3: I’m John Douglass, and I’m majoring in speech therapy.

Your short hand might read:

Bob – Bus.

Matt – Chem. E

John – Sp. Th.

On subsequent questions about the characters, you’ll be able to remember these basic facts and answer more accurately.  However, don’t spend so much time making notes that you miss something on the tape. You won’t be able to rewind it and catch what you miss.

The idea is that the notes should only supplement your memory, not replace it.

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