Many people agree that the listening part is the easiest part of the test. If your reading is weak, you will need to get a very high score in this section to compensate. Here are few hints that will improve your score. Taking notes doesn't help at all and actually lowers your score because you tend to miss key points because you are concentrating too much on individual words or concentrating on writing the last sentence. You also miss a lot of the trick questions when you are writing. Sometimes you start concentrating so hard on what you are writing, that your brain stops thinking and you make mistakes that you wouldn't if you were just listening intently. You can learn to recognise these questions by taking a few practice tests.
Watch out for the graphs and maps. Most people agree that they are the most difficult part of the listening section. Also, the pictures in this test are not used to give you hints about the content of the questions as they are in other tests. They are there to confuse you and make the questions harder. Most people get better scores on the non-picture section than they do in the picture section. When the tape is playing the example questions you would be well advised to flip through the question book and familiarise yourself with the pictures carefully. Sometimes they have charts with lots of Kanji on them, so you should check the Kanji and write them in hiragana or romaji so that you don't have to waste time while listening.
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