Monday, 12 November 2012

Synonyms in Section 3

This blog entry is going to focus specifically for the Listening section of the Test parts 3.
  • In section 3 you hear two people having a conversation and then you will have to answer questions based on the conversation.
  • In section 4 you will hear one person talking and then you will have to answer questions based on the speech.

 In section 3, you might hear conversations about:
  • Meetings
  • Arranging lunch
  • Products
  • Travel arrangements
  • Ordering food at a restaurant
  • Customers and services
  • Shipments and orders
  • Returning items at a store
  • Traffic updates
  • Weather updates
The questions will focus on the topic and vocabulary you hear in the conversation. In this situation, the first piece of advice I have is simple: Listen carefully and try to find the phrases in the questions that match what your hear. let me give you an example. The following passage is a transcript of a genuine TOEIC test question:

Man: I was wondering if we received the contract from Ms Park? She said last night that she'd fax it here today.
Woman: It hasn't arrived yet. Perhaps we should call her if we don't get it by lunchtime?
Man: Well, it is only ten o'clock in the morning, and she is very reliable. The Seoul office is running so much better since she became the manager.

Question 1: When does the conversation take place?
  • In the morning
  • Around midday
  • In the late afternoon
  • At night
Question 2: What are the speakers waiting for?
  • A call from a customer
  • A job application
  • A food delivery
  • A contract
Question 3: What does the woman suggest?
  • Sending a fax
  • Making a phone call
  • Hiring a New Manager
  • Flying to Seoul
 If we look at question 2. It is easy to find the answer because the question uses the same word. I have marked this in red. Question 3 is the same. The vocabulary is easy to spot. I have marked this in blue.

The important question, though, is number 1. Here the vocabulary is different. In the conversation, the speaker does not use the word morning, she says "by lunchtime". This is a synonym for "In the morning". This is a very important point to remember. In Sections 3 and 4, you will need to recognise synonyms in many places.

If you are likely to hear synonyms, it is very important that you practise these and are ready for the ones that you read/hear in sections 3 and 4. The example above shows time. But, you should think about improving your vocabulary in some of the areas I mentioned above. I have started things for you below. The synonyms are in Blue:
  • Meeting: Appointment, Conference
  • Schedule: Planning, Timetable, Arrangements
  • Problem: Issue, Query, Complaint
  • Traffic Jam: Congestion, Delays, Heavy Traffic
  • Customer: Client
These are just a few examples. To really expand your vocabulary, I would brainstorm words for each section that I have listed at the start of this article. I would then try to find three synonyms for each of the words you can come up with. A great resource for this is

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