On this page you will find a mixture of academic listening selections. Some of these selections are from the TOEFL speaking or listening sections, others are readings from scientific blogs or journals. Use this page to help you improve your listening skills for the TOEFL exam, for academic purposes, or to improve your general English listening skills. For listening exercises specific to the IELTS exam click here. For non academic general listening click here.
There are 4 listening levels.
- Level 1- is recorded at a speed slightly slower than a regular speaking voice.
- Level 2- is recorded at the speed of a regular speaking voice
- Level 3- is recorded slightly faster than a regular speaking voice
- Level 4- is recorded at a very fast speed and this level is best for those students who are focusing on improving their listening skills.
Each level comes with a set of questions for you to answer to test your comprehension. To achieve the best results do the following.
- Determine your starting level. Start at level three and adjust from there. If level three is too fast, move down to level 2 or level 1. If you can understand level 3 then continue at that level.
- Write what you hear. The best way to improve your listening skills is through transcription. Listen to the recording and write down what you hear. You can stop the recording as often as you like and you can repeat the recording up to 3 times.
- Check your work. Look at the article to see if you heard the words correctly and to see if you spelled the words correctly. If you consistently hear more than 10 words incorrectly, then you should consider moving down to a lower level.
Practice Listening with TOEFL Speaking Question Type 6: The Gilded Age
The Slowest Speed
Just a Little Faster Than Regular Speed
The Fastest Speed
Explain the role poverty played in the development of U.S. culture during the “Gilded Age.” Use details and examples from the lecture to support your explanation.
The end of the 19th century was known as the “Gilded Age” in the U.S. Every person had the chance to earn a fortune, and those who did celebrated it extravagantly. For example, in New York, the wealthy spent a great deal of time throwing grand parties and visiting the theater and opera house. The elites spent money in a way that had never been seen before. While they did this, others—the working class—struggled in rags. At the turn of the century, the average national income was a meager $380 a month, and most of the nation’s families earned less than $1200 per year, far below the poverty line. Newly arrived immigrants and Americans who once lived in rural areas rushed to find jobs in urban areas of overcrowded squalor. Cheaply made and poorly run tenements filled the city with crime and filth. While Americans had phonographs, sewing machines, electric lights, and even skyscrapers, most worked and lived in extreme poverty and could not take advantage of these things. In response to the disparity, many laborers in mills, factories, and sweatshops began to express unrest. Violent strikes became commonplace, and many people turned to political machines. During the early 20th century, many politicians helped the poor in exchange for their votes. Corruption began to reach up through high levels of the U.S. government. Some reports even implicated Ulysses S. Grant’s administration in political schemes like the Gold Conspiracy and the Salary Grab. In response to this, many Europeans expressed shock and felt that despite America’s money and factories, the country remained without a sophisticated culture.