The “Listen, Then Speak” question on the Duolingo English Test can be scary because you have to understand something said to you and you have to speak back.
In this post, you are going to learn what you need to know to be completely confident when you see this question on the test.
Table of Contents
- What is the “Listen, Then Speak” question type?
- Tips to do well on the “Listen, Then Speak” question type
- How to use the “I LAST” strategy to get a great score
- How to practice “Listen, Then Speak” questions
What is the “Listen, Then Speak” question type?
The “Listen, Then Speak” question looks like this:
You will have 20 seconds to listen to the topic and prepare your response. Then, you will have 90 seconds to record your response.
When you come to the question, the topic will play automatically. You can listen to the topic 2 more times by clicking the big blue button.
The “Listen, Then Speak” question appears twice on the test. Your responses count toward your Conversation and Production subscores.
Tips to do well on the “Listen, Then Speak” question type
Check your microphone
If you don’t use a good microphone, it will be hard to hear your voice in the recording, and you could get a lower score. You can check the quality of your microphone using Arno. You will see how later on.
If your microphone isn’t good, ask to borrow a computer or laptop from someone else that has a better one.
☝️You cannot use headphones or earbuds with a microphone on the Duolingo English Test. However, you can use an external microphone.
Make sure your volume is turned up
Remember, the topic will play automatically when you come to the question. If your volume is not turned up, you won’t be able to hear it.
Take the test in a quiet place
If there is background noise, it will be harder to hear you, which can negatively impact your score.
Slow down and speak clearly and loudly
When we get nervous or stressed, we talk more quickly. It is important to remind yourself during the test to slow down.
You should also focus on clearly pronouncing each word.
Finally, be sure to talk loudly. We recommend that you pretend like you are talking to someone who is across the room, not someone who is sitting in front of you. This will make it easy to hear you in the recording.
Make sure you understand the topic
You have 20 seconds to listen to the topic and prepare your answer. Make sure you understand it before you start responding.
Speak for the entire 90 seconds
This will help you get a higher score. In the next section, you will learn a strategy that will help you find things to talk about.
Don’t stop if you make a mistake
If you make a mistake, keep speaking. You can still get a high score even if you have a few mistakes in your response. But if you stop and don’t speak enough, it is impossible to get a high score.
☝️Remember that you will only be able to record yourself 1 time.
Use a strategy to structure your response
A good strategy will help you generate things to talk about and get a higher score.
A simple yet effective strategy for “Listen, Then Speak” questions is: I LAST.
How to use the “I LAST” strategy to get a great score
The I LAST strategy is:
- Identify: Identify the topic
- List: List out the tasks Duolingo wants you to perform
- Answer: Answer the question or state your viewpoint directly
- Support: Support your answer
- Three: Provide three examples
I will explain through a response to an example prompt.
Here is a “Listen, Then Speak” prompt:
Talk about a memorable experience you had in nature. What about this experience made it so enjoyable for you?
1) Identify the topic: A memorable experience in nature
2) List the tasks Duolingo wants me to perform:
a. Talk about a memorable experience I had in nature
b. Talk about why it was so enjoyable
3) Answer the question or state your viewpoint directly ⇒ A memorable experience I had in nature was when I hiked Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. This experience was so enjoyable because it provided beautiful views. I also did the hike with classmates, and I enjoyed bonding with them during the trip.
4) Support your answer and provide three examples:
- We started our ascent in the forest. At one point, we passed through Aspen trees with white bark and bright orange leaves. On the top of the mountain, we could see countless peaks and ridges all around.
- The hike was organized through my school. We spent hours and hours hiking, so we had a lot of time to talk and get to know one another. It was a lot of fun learning about everyone and making new friends.
- There were also challenging parts of the hike. It was unexpectedly very cold. Some people didn’t bring jackets, so we had to share our clothing among the group. At the time, it was difficult being so cold, but it made the trip more memorable looking back.
How to practice “Listen, Then Speak” questions
Arno is a great tool to practice your speaking. You can get instant scoring and feedback on your responses to “Listen, Then Speak” practice questions.
Here is how it works:
1) Go to duolingo.goarno.io. If you don’t already have one, just create a free account.
2) Go to the “Listen, Then Speak” question type. Click the “play” button to start (shown in the red box).
3) Use the I LAST strategy to respond.
4) After you record yourself, submit your response. Arno will give you a score and feedback on your vocabulary. Just click on any of the score ranges to the see the words you used that are in that level.
(The answer below is for the topic: Discuss a historical figure that you admire. Explain why you find them inspiring and what you have learned from their life.)
☝️You can also listen to your recording by hitting the "play" button at the top of your transcribed response. This is a great way to test the quality of your microphone!
5) You can also get grammar feedback, including explanations of how something could be improved.
6) Finally, you can get suggestions for how to improve your vocabulary as well as a completely rewritten version so that you can see what an excellent answer looks like.
Now you understand the “Listen, Then Speak” question type and you know how you can practice it to get a great score: Arno!
Arno gives you unlimited practice questions for every question type on the Duolingo English Test, with instant scoring and feedback! 🥳
Just click below to get started.