How to Ace Listening Comprehension

Listening comprehension is the last paper of the Malay Language N and O Level Examinations. It is the paper that students are expected to do well and gain back marks that they have lost in the earlier papers because of mistakes. However, listening comprehension may not be easy for students who are not careful. It is littered with distractions to trick students into choosing the wrong answers.

We present below 5 tips that we shared with our students on how to ace listening comprehension. Feel free to share with us other tips that you might have in the comment section so that we can help you share them with others on this website.

This is the most common and convenient trick that you often find in listening comprehension. The recording will throw at you all the wrong options early to falsely lead you into believing that one of them is the answer before quietly making a turn to the right answer.

Let us see if you can spot the Turn in this recording for the question below.

Nyatakan sebab Farah tidak dapat menemani Hakim untuk mendapatkan tiket konsert kumpulan Melodi.

(A) Farah perlu menjaga ibunya yang sakit di rumah.
(B) Farah ada banyak tugasa yang perlu diselesaikan.
(C) Farah sibuk dengan bermacam-macam aktiviti sekolah.
(D) Farah mahu ke Panggung Permata pada waktu tengahari.

You notice that the Turn happens when Farah says, ”Tetapi, sebenarnya . . . ” After the turn, you realize that the answer is (A).

This is the next popular trick and often is often used with other tricks. In this trick, the recording replaces keywords from the question with synonyms to confuse you. So if you are waiting to hear the keywords in the question mentioned in the recording, trust me you will never get to hear them.

Let us see if you can spot how the keyword in the question below is replaced with a synonym in this recording.

Apakah produk terbaharu yang dihasilkan oleh Syarikat Harmoni?

(A) Pil Minda Fokus
(B) Jus Epal Tropika
(C) Susu Soya Segar
(D) Teh Halia Anggerik

You notice that the keyword terbaharu in the question is replaced with a synonym terkini in the recording. The answer is (C).

This trick is more sophisticated than the earlier two tricks and it is employed from question 5 onwards. In this trick, the keyword from the question and some of the answer options are mentioned early in the recording but void of any connection just to distract you into believing that one of the answer options is the right answer. Stay calm and continue to hear closely for you will hear the keyword mentioned again with the right answer that follows.

Let us see if you can spot how the keyword in the question below is thrown early in this recording just to trick you into believing that what follows is the answer.

Sebagai pegawai perkhidmatan pelanggan Cik Shida dilengkapi dengan kemahiran yang memudahkannya menjadi penghantar makanan. Nyatakan kemahiran tersebut.

(A) kemahiran untuk berbahasa Mandarin dan Tamil
(B) kemahiran untuk berkomunikasi dengan sesiapa sahaja
(C) kemahiran untuk menghadapi keadaan yang berbeza-beza
(D) kemahiran untuk melayani pelanggan daripada pelbagai latar belakang

You notice that the keyword (or rather key phrase) pegawai perkhidmatan pelanggan is mentioned early and mentioned again towards the end of the recording. The first mention is to distract you while what follows from the second mention is the right answer which is (C).

This is also another sophisticated trick and is employed in the later questions of listening comprehension. In this trick, you find several half-truth answer options to tempt you to consider any of them as the right answer. Pull back and study the recording till the end. You will find these answer options seem true halfway you listen to the recording but turn out to be false by the time you finish listening to the full recording.

Let us see how many answer options in the question below you can identify as half-truth after scrutinizing till the end of this recording.

Mengapakah Yana kurang selesa dengan tindakan Faiz?

(A) Yana meragui kesahihan tawaran yang diiklankan.
(B) Faiz bertindak secara terburu-buru dan tanpa usul periksa.
(C) Reputasi syarikat yang mengadakan jualan murah itu tidak diketahui.
(D) Iklan tersebut mungkin bertujuan untuk memperdayakan orang ramai.

You notice that all the answer options are half-truth expect for (A).

This is the strategy that we strongly advised students to employ for selected questions where they are unsure if they have got the right answer. In this strategy, we urge them to ignore the recording and run down each of the answer options with a logic test. A logic test simply aims to tease out if the answer options hold true in a real-world setting.  If it does, it is likely the right answer. To facilitate the logic test, just imagine what would you do if you are faced with the question asked in real life.

Let us see which answer option in the question below survives your logic test.

Apakah langkah yang paling penting sebelum memulakan proses tawar-menawar?

(A) menanyakan harga barangan yang mahu dibeli
(B) meminta agar harga barangan yang mahu dibeli dikurangkan
(C) membuat tawaran yang sesuai bagi barangan yang mahu dibeli
(D) membandingkan harga barangan yang mahu dibeli terlebih dahulu

You notice that (D) is the what you and anyone else would do if you address the question above in real life. That’s the logic test in play.

We hope you have benefited from our sharing. We wish you all the best in the coming N and O Level Listening Comprehension Examinations. Do share this post with your colleagues and friends. Cheers!