Test-taking strategy instruction for Part III of the TOEIC Bridge

Article appearing in Shiken 22.1 (June 2018) pp. 1-6.

Authors: Stephen M. Paton1, Mark W. Howarth2, and Alexander Cameron2
1. Fukuoka University; 2. Kyushu Sangyo University

Part III of the TOEIC Bridge requires candidates to listen to a short conversation and then answer a written multiple-choice question about it. A commonly-taught test-taking strategy for this part of the TOEIC is for test-takers to read the question and answer choices before listening to the conversation so as to know what to listen for, rather than trying to recall what had been heard and attempting to answer the question post-listening (Trew, 2008). The current study aims to examine the effectiveness of this approach to Part III of the TOEIC Bridge in two ways: firstly by comparing the gains of students who had and hadn’t received this particular strategy instruction, and also examining the effect of forcing the strategy to be used. The study was carried out with 148 Japanese university students of low English proficiency with TOEIC Bridge scores between 90 and 140. Results seem to indicate that teaching this strategy to students at this level does not significantly improve scores, and may, in fact, hinder their performance.

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