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Tips on preparing for the listening section of the HF Exam

To improve your listening skills you should try and listen to as many types of English as possible, not just one. For example:
  • films
  • television comedies
  • documentaries
  • songs and pop radio programmes
  • news headlines

...are all good sources of REAL English, especially if it is what you like to listen to. However, you should also plan some of your study time for listening regularly to sources of English of the type usually found in the AP exam.

These include commentary and discussion programmes or news programmes, where often not only one person is speaking but where there is comment and/or interview at a rather more complex level.

BBC Radio is one of the best sources for these, in particular at Radio 4 or World Service. To listen to past programmes, go to "Listen again" in the case of Radio 4, or in the case of World Service, go to Find a Programme.

For more intensive vocabulary and pronunciation practice go to BBC Learning English. If you click on "Words In The News" you can read the story and listen to it at the same time. Difficult vocabulary will be repeated and explained seperately. The listening texts here are, however, slightly easier than the more authentic texts found in the exam.

On the  BBC  you will hear many accents but obviously mostly British. For practice listening to American sources, you may like to listen to NPR Radio. For example, you can browse there "NPR Worldwide" archive.

In the HF exam you may hear American OR British speakers, or even a combination of the two.