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2 Supereinfache Strategien zum Advanced Listening Teil 4

2 Supereinfache Strategien zum Advanced Listening Teil 4


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How good are you at multitasking? Can you do two things at the same time? The idea is that the brain ’splits‘ its focus so that we can perform two tasks at once, or at least that’s what I’ve always believed. But it turns out I could have been wrong all along. You see, some studies suggest that multitasking is a myth, and very, very few people are able to do it. When we think we’re multi-tasking, we’re actually quickly doing individual actions one at a time, or task-switching. Advanced Listening Part 4 requires you to do two tasks at the same time. So, whether you want to call it multi-tasking or task-switching, the bottom line is you need to pay attention to both tasks as you listen to the recording. This is a tricky skill to master, but lucky for you, we’ve got two super simple strategies to help you manage it with ease: listening for gist and learning to paraphrase.

1. Get the gist

 Have you got any idea who this is? Yip, that’s William Shakespeare a.k.a the father of modern English literature. If you’ve ever read any of his works, you probably know it’s impossible to understand every word. And in fact, if you focus too much on specific words and try to analyse every item of challenging vocabulary, you could miss out on the beauty of his prose. You’d be better off trying to get the general sense of what he’s written. Take a look at a quote from one of his most famous plays.

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” -Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

Do you understand what the character Polonius is on about? Basically, he’s saying that when you’re faced with a dilemma, you need to stick to your values. Or, that’s the gist at least. So, the gist is the main (general) idea or most important information about something without details. In English we often use the expressions ‚to get/catch the gist of something‘. When you’re listening for gist, you’re trying to understand the ‚big picture‘ of what someone is saying – their general attitude to the topic that they’re discussing, or the general ideas that they’re expressing.

What is the gist of the woman’s reason(s) for going to Australia?

Suggested answer: Basically, she’s bored of her monotonous routine and wants to take a spontaneous trip while she’s still young.   It can be really helpful to listen out for content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) that can help you to make the ‚whole‘ picture. For instance, if you hear the words ‚gifts‘, ‚friends‘, ‚cake‘ and ‚fun‘ used together, what do you think the context might be? That’s right, it’s most likely a birthday party. When you do the listening tasks in the exam, there might be some unfamiliar vocabulary to you. Don’t worry about it! You don’t need to understand every word. Just listen out for the main content words as they should be enough for you to come to the right answer. Listen to the recordings and write down the content words that help you to answer the questions.   Question 1: What do you think his job is?


Some of the content words were ‚promote (me)‘, ‚managerial aspect‘, ‚bad guy‘, ‚in charge‘. From these key words, you can probably get the gist of his job as a manager/the boss.   Question 2: What do you think her job is?


In her case the main content words were ‚recruiting‘, ‚training‘, and ‚looking after [the] staff‘. These suggest that she works in HR [Human Resources].

2. Paraphrase

 What a burn!   Shakespeare was a master of intelligent insults, and this is a brilliant example:

“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.”                           -Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene I

But, what exactly does he mean? Could you put his quote into your words? If I were to paraphrase, I’d say ‚you speak a lot of nonsense‘ or ‚you speak a lot, but don’t say anything useful.‘ So, to paraphrase is to express what someone else has said using different words, usually to make things clearer or easier to understand.

Let’s practise paraphrasing.

Listen to what Alexis has to say about going to the gym:

She said: ‚There’s quite a sense of camaraderie there too as lots of people are in the same boat.‘ Take a moment and think about how you could paraphrase her words. I’d say that she enjoyed the encouragement that people gave each other (being in the same situation).    Now listen to what Ian has to say about losing weight:

He said: ‘I didn’t realise that depression was a treatable illness.’ Again, can you paraphrase using your own words? I’d say that he hadn’t realise that he could find help for his illness.

How does this translate in the tasks for Listening Part 4?

First, look at the list of statements from Task two, which is about inventions:

A  You can fool yourself that something is true.

B  I used to be a bit of a vandal.

C  This invention breaks down prejudices of social status.

D  I’m really tired of my job.

E  Someone was ahead of his time.

F  There don’t seem to be any inventors these days.

G  I have to read between the lines in my job.

H  My conscience is clear despite what people say.

Next, look at an audio transcript from one of the speakers. Can you find any paraphrases that match an option from the list?

„This invention goes back hundreds of years. In fact Leonardo da Vinci actually designed a bicycle in 1490, although it was never made. Mind you, he seemed to draw just about every modern invention hundreds of years before they were actually invented. Pure genius. You wouldn’t catch him without a job. My friends and family call me the biker because I cycle everywhere. Until I get a salary, I can’t afford a car, but I’m not sure that I really want one. Maybe I should be a postal worker, I could cycle all day delivering letters. Sounds good.“

That’s right, the assertion that ‚he seemed to draw just about every modern invention hundreds of years before they were actually invented‚ matches ANSWER E. Da Vinca was ahead of his time.   Let’s do one more. Can you spot any paraphrasing?

„Now you may argue that this isn’t really an invention, because it’s not a machine or a gadget but denim jeans that have revolutionised the world. Look around you, denim is everywhere and is a great  equaliser of class as the poorest kid on the street to the wealthiest film star wears jeans.I wear them to work every day and wouldn’t cope without them outside in the weather and dealing with the cattle. The only time I don’t wear them is if I go to the theatre or to a nice restaurant. That’s quite a rare event though.“

Yip, ‚denim is everywhere and is a great equaliser of class as the poorest kid on the street to the wealthiest film star wears jeans‘ matches ANSWER C as denim breaks down prejudices of social status.

And now, it’s over to you.

Which is the hardest part of the Listening test for you? Why? Write your answers in the comment section below!

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