English & EAL

NAIL that exam listening component

Rachel Chen

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Are you an EAL student worrying about the listening component of the new study design?

Are you worried? If you are, fear not, I am here to help!

Here are some extremely useful tips that I have acquired from completing both Japanese and Chinese listening exams. They are very applicable to the EAL exam and will hopefully make you feel more confident about this new component!

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  1. As EAL students we are allowed to bring bilingual dictionaries into the exam, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT! You will be amazed at how useful your dictionary can be.
  2. Use your reading time efficiently! Take a close look at your listening tracks’ questions! Search your dictionary for tricky vocabularies that are embedded in the question. Make each second count!
  3. Look out for the key question words! If you spot “when” and “why” in the question, then you know for sure that you need to listen out for location and time!
  4. Pay attention to the tone.
  5. Take note of any adjectives, phrases and words that express the character’s (in the listening track) thoughts, feelings and concerns.
  6. There is a space in the exam paper for you to take notes, USE THAT SPACE! Write down all the key information you can possibility hear from the track! According to the examiner’s report those students who wrote notes in the space provided tend to score much more higher than those who don't.
  7. Don't waste time wondering what the track just played! Listen carefully for the next sentence, missing out on one piece of information is better than two!
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Misconception

Some of you out there might be thinking “Listening is easy! I just need to write down the correct answer, it's a piece of cake.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for EAL listening or any VCE Language listening SAC or exam. The VCAA examiners will look at the accuracy of your answer, grammar and spelling. They even look at how well you phrase your response!

If you are aiming for a perfect listening response you MUST take a look at my breakdown of the examiners’ marking criteria!

Marking Criteria

For the listening component of the exam/SAC the examiners (and your own teachers) will be marking your answers base on TWO main points

  1. Your ability to understand and convey general and specific parts of the listening track
  2. Your ability to convey information accurately and appropriately
  • Appropriateness of vocabulary
  • Accurate use of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Are you feeling more confident for section A with a couple of handy hints in your pocket? I hope you are! Give it a go, it is not as scary as you think!

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