100 Free Questions for the Listening Section of the TOEFL® Test (PDF included)

The TOEFL Listening section is no walk in the park.

That’s why we’ve created our very own TST Prep TOEFL Listening Practice Questions with Answers () that our students can access for free!

The best part?

Each answer also comes with a detailed explanation to help you understand why each response is correct. That’s something you won’t find anywhere else.

So what makes our Listening practice for the TOEFL special?

Here’s an example:

Listen to this TOEFL practice passage transcript below here:

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is based on the idea that people experience their world through their language, and that they therefore understand their world through the culture embedded in their language. The hypothesis, which has also been called linguistic relativity, states that language shapes thought. Studies have shown, for instance, that unless people have access to the word ‘ambivalent’ they don’t recognize an experience of uncertainty due to conflicting positive and negative feelings about one issue which is the definition of ambivalent. Essentially, the hypothesis argues, if a person can’t describe the experience, the person is not having the experience.

1. What is the topic of the lecture?

a. If certain words don’t exist in your language, there’s a reason
b. The idea that language affects our experiences
c. How linguistic relativity shapes the way we think
d. You can predict what someone is thinking based on their language

2. Why does the professor talk about the word ‘ambivalent’?

a. To prove that linguistic relativity is a viable hypothesis
b. To provide an example of linguistic relativity
c. To argue that linguistic relativity is not an accurate hypothesis
d. To further explain the concept of linguistic relativity

1. B

Although C seems correct at first, it is actually not correct because linguistic relativity does not shape the way we think, rather linguistic relativity is the name of the hypothesis that states language shapes the way we think. The main idea is clearly stated in the beginning of the passage and the rest of the passage is an example to build upon the idea.

2. A

The key word here in the answer here is to prove. The lecturer is providing an example of linguistic relativity to an extent, but mainly the lecturer is showing proof that linguistic relativity has evidence for it. The key word to listen for in the lecture is studies show, which generally introduces proof for something. “Studies have shown, for instance, that unless people have access to the word ambivalent, they don’t recognize an experience of uncertainty due to conflicting positive and negative feelings about one issue.” 

Tired of reading and want to get started already? Your free collection of 100 TOEFL Listening practice questions is available now.

But if you have another minute, I will explain what these passages are and show you exactly how they can help you boost your TOEFL Listening score.

Get the 100 Practice Questions for the TOEFL Listening Section PDF  or practice your TOEFL Listening Online

First of all…

Notice anything different about the passage above?

Our TOEFL Listening Practice passages have two distinct features:

1. Each lecture is short!
2. There are only two questions!

You may be wondering: “Shouldn’t we be practicing like the real TOEFL?” Sometimes, but not always. We have designed these TOEFL Listening practice questions to help build your listening skills so you can answer questions quickly and correctly.

With short lecture passages, you won’t feel overwhelmed by so much information. When you focus on a narrow set of content, it’s easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses in listening. If you went to other TOEFL Listening practice sites online, you would make the same mistakes over and over again without understanding why you were wrong.

What you need to know
about the TOEFL Listening

The TOEFL Listening section consists of both campus conversations and academic lectures.

But our TOEFL Listening practice only focuses on academic lectures.


Because academic lectures are more challenging to comprehend than conversations.

If you think about it, a conversation between two people is more interesting than listening to a professor drone on about some academic topic you’re not very interested in.

Also, there are four academic lectures and only two conversations in our TOEFL Listening practice. We believe that if you can master the academic lectures, the conversation passages will be a breeze.

Makes sense, right?

Still, if you want to practice just like the TOEFL test, you can download our free complete TOEFL test.

You’re still here… awesome!

Because we want to share with you some tips on how to get the most out of your TOEFL Listening Practice so you can improve your score.

TOEFL Listening Practice Step 1:
Take notes

These passages may be short, but that doesn’t mean you get to skip out on taking notes. Students often decide not to take notes because they prefer to rely on their memory for answers. However, the most common type of question in the TOEFL Listening is a detail question, and these are particularly hard to answer if you rely on your memory alone. To learn more, check out our guide on How to Take Notes Like a Pro

TOEFL Listening Practice Step 2:
Reflect on each passage

These short listening passages were specifically designed to help you improve your TOEFL Listening skills.

First, let’s consider why these short passages are so helpful. For starters, you don’t have to focus on so much material at once. It’s much easier to sort through small bursts of information.

Secondly, these short listening passages allow you to reflect on your answers. If you don’t understand why A, B, C, or D is correct, how will you be able to choose the correct answer in the future?

When you take time to reflect on your answer, you are taking time to make sure you completely understand why you got a question wrong (or right). Just because you got a question correct doesn’t mean you understand it. This is why each question includes a detailed explanation of the correct answer.

TOEFL Listening Practice Step 3:
Learn the structure

An important fact about the TOEFL Listening section is that you can’t jump around to answer questions like in the reading. You can’t go back to an answer you skipped. You must choose an answer then move on to the next question no matter what.

If you want to know how many reading passages are on the TOEFL and how many questions there are in total, you need to remember this:

  • Conversations are followed by five questions, lectures by six 
  • Contains two parts, three passages in each part for a total of six passages
  • Four academic passages and two conversations 
  • Conversations are between a student and a campus worker (usually a professor) 
  • Lectures will last at least four minutes (and it will feel like an eternity) 
  • Expect 34 questions in total 

TOEFL Listening Practice Step 4:
Get to know the TOEFL listening question types

How many questions are there in the TOEFL Listening?

The TOEFL Listening consists of two parts, and each part includes one conversation and at least one academic lecture. One part will consist of one campus conversation and one academic lecture, while the other will include three passages, one campus conversation and two academic lectures.

The TOEFL Listening section has eight different question types.

  • gist – content (like a main idea question) 
  • gist – purpose (only in the conversations, not lectures) 
  • detail (most popular) 
  • understanding the speaker’s attitude
  • understanding the function
  • making inferences
  • understanding organization
  • connecting content

In the chart below, all of the question types have been laid out and separated based on frequency, common lexical structure, and the question point value.

"There is a table here. Please rotate your phone to landscape in order to see it."

The Listening Section Question Types

Question Type Question
(per section)
Question Value Question Phrasing
1. gist - content 3-5 1 “What is the topic of the discussion?”
“What is the professor mainly discussing?”
2. gist - purpose 1-2 1 “Why does the student visit the professor?”
“Why does the professor mention…?”
3. detail 6-10 1 “What is stated in the passage about…”
"According to the speaker,…”
4. understanding the
speaker's attitude
1-4 1 “What’s the professor’s opinion of…?”
“What can be inferred about the student?”
5. understanding
the function
3-6 1 “What does the speaker mean when he says…”
“Why does the professor say this…”
6. making inferences 1-4 1 “What can be inferred about …?”
“What does the speaker imply about…?”
7. understanding
2-5 1 “How does the professor organize the information about…”
8. connecting content 1-4 1 This is a question where you must fill out a table and indicate the correct information.
“What does the professor imply about X?”

Why does this matter?

If you can recognize the type of question you have to answer, you’ve already won part of the battle. Understanding the question type will give you hints and clues as to what to look for and which responses to eliminate.

If you’re still getting questions wrong, you may have…

  1. Heard some challenging vocabulary words
  2. Misunderstood the topic of the lecture (or conversation)
  3. Misinterpreted the tone of the lecturer (or speaker)

It’s not always about strategy when it comes to getting these questions correct. That’s why it’s important to always look up words you don’t know, and practice, practice, practice.

When I talk about TOEFL Listening practice, I don’t mean just taking practice exam after practice exam. Practice your listening skills in every way possible. Watch shows, listen to podcasts and download music in English. Increased exposure is one of the best remedies for a limited vocabulary.

And, of course, use our complete TOEFL Listening Practice Pack (with answers)

TOEFL Listening Practice Step 5:
Set a timer

It’s one thing to sit down and take a few practice exams, it’s another to feel confident under the pressure of the clock.

Here’s the deal.

On the TOEFL exam, you won’t be able to think about a question for 5 minutes. In reality, you have about 30 seconds to answer each question in the allotted amount of time.

How long is the TOEFL Listening? Since December 2023, it has takes 36 minutes and has 28 questions.

Since our TOEFL Listening Practice has short passages and only 2 questions, we suggest trying to answer both in less than a minute.

After you have mastered answering in less than 60 seconds, try to do it in less than 45 seconds. This will help you sharpen your skills and reduce your anxiety about the clock on test day.

To feel confident, rather than time restricted, it’s important to start training yourself to stay calm and answer questions when under pressure. That’s why you should start out giving yourself plenty of time. Focus on improving your listening skills first, then worry about time.



That was a lot to take in…

I’m sure you’re ready to dive right in and start practicing right now!

What you need to remember is:

  • Take notes
  • Reflect on each passage
  • Learn the structure
  • Get to know the question types
  • Use a timer

These 100 questions are an excerpt from our 500 TOEFL Listening Practice Questions and Answers.

For those of you who are ready to jump in and get started, here is your 100 listening practice questions

TST Prep TOEFL Listening Practice 100 Questions
Practice your TOEFL Listening Online
Complete TOEFL Practice Test

Did we miss anything? Any more advice you would like to add about the TOEFL Listening?

Let us know in the space below.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Syeda

    Hi Josh! I am taking the TOEFL Home Edition, and note-taking is not allowed. I vary the proctors, allowing a desktop whiteboard for notes. Do you think one can score high without taking notes and solely relying on their memory?

    • Josh

      Hi, and thanks for your question. Whiteboards should always be allowed on the home edition. The rule should not change from proctor to proctor. I strongly suggest you contact ETS with your concerns. You will do your best if you can take at least some notes.

  2. Angela

    Hi, I try to jot down the notes, but I don’t know the vocabulary or am too slow to follow the conversation. Personally, I have no idea how to take notes while listening.

    • khalil Ahmad

      The strategies are not same for everyone. personally, I have never used notes, but still got 28 in my previous exam. I am sure that if I was to adopt note taking strategy, I would not get more than 15, as I tried it multiple times in practice tests.

      • Josh

        Very true! Of course, no two people are the same. Some people do better with no notes. However, many feel better if they write things down. To that end, we try and do our best to show them so strategies as to how to do this. Congrats on your great score! 🙂

  3. HM

    Hi Josh, My test is in the upcoming week and I am having difficulty in the listening section, especially the lectures. I get stuck answering questions related to detail and understanding organization and I think the reason is when I note down something while listening Although I don’t take notes too much but, I miss some words. Is there any advice for this?

    • Josh

      Hi, This is a very common question. Many people do well-taking notes, but some do better at taking no notes at all. This means you are using 100% of your energy to listen and will have a better understanding of the overall passage. It’s not a perfect solution as you may miss some detail questions, but it might be worth a try. I would suggest doing a few passages with no notes and see if you notice a difference in your scores.


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