CHALLENGE 1: "l don't know a lot of words that I hear in the audio recordings or see in the question."
Here are the solutions:
SOLUTION 1: Learn more vocabulary. The TOEFL test content major focus is on academic contexts.
There are several word lists available that present the most common words found in academic settings. The Academic Word List (AWL), developed by Averil Coxhead, includes 570 words that are commonly included in introductory college texts. Acquiring these words will probably help you perform much better on the test and get ready for entering English-language courses.
SOLUTION 2: Listen for definitions in case of hearing a word you don't know. When a specific term or a technical word is introduced, the professor will probably define the word in the lecture.
SOLUTION 3: Use the context words, or phrases around unknown words in recording, questions, or answer options to help you comprehend what the meaning of the word is. In the listening section, speakers will often provide a number of meaning clues for the definitions of key terms [= the words or phrases that the lecture is about them]. Here are common ways that speakers give context clues for key terms. To practice, try listening to English-language news programs. Announcers often make the meaning of new terms clear by using these types of clues.
Ways of giving context clues:
1. Repetition: speaker will repeat a key term multiple times in every lecture.
Example: Animals use camouflage to protect themselves from predators. An animal might blend in with the background, and that's camouflage.
cam‧ou‧flage1 /ˈkæməflɑːʒ/ noun: the way that the colour or shape of an animal protects it by making it difficult to see in the area in which it lives
2. Rewording: The speaker will often reword a phrase in a way that the meaning of a key term is clearer. A rewording often includes the following phrases:
• By that, I mean...
• What I'm talking about here is...
• In other words.
Example: Why do companies vet new hires? I mean, why do they perform background checks and check out The potential employee's history?
3. Definition Signposts: Speakers use certain terms to introduce a definition, including:
• This refers to...
• This means...
• That's a...
• I think a definition is in order here.
Example: It's a matter of agency. I think g definition is in order here. Agency is people's ability to make choices that will influence their futures.
4. Giving Examples: In order to clarify a definition, speakers will give examples. Listen for the following phrases for examples:
• such as
• you know
Example: Engaging in recreational activities such as jogging or playing an instrument, has been shown to reduce stress level.