Home > Blog > Answering Strategies

Interactive Listening Made Easy: A Simple Framework to Nail the New DET Question Type

Hello everyone, welcome to DET Practice. Today we are going to talk about how to do the “Interactive Listening” questions. Unlike any articles that give general suggestions for improvement, we will give very specific and actionable advice and steps in this article. Please read carefully, and we believe it will help you get a higher score in “Interactive Listening”. Let’s get started!

Question Type Introduction

“Interactive Listening” is a new question type added to the Duolingo English Test in 2023. In this question type, you will see multiple questions appear consecutively. It includes two major types of questions. The first one is “Listen and Respond”, which appears in the form of multiple-choice questions. Each time you will have 5-6 choices to choose from. The answer time for this part is 4 minutes. The next part is called “Summarize the Conversation”, and the answer time for this part is 75 seconds. If you want to know more details about “Interactive Listening”, you can watch the video below:

Alternatively, if you prefer to read the text version, we also have a more detailed introduction to “Interactive Listening” in our other post: https://www.detpractice.com/duolingo-english-test-tips-3/

Answering Strategies

This will be the focus of our discussion today. “Interactive Listening” allocates unequal time for each question type. You have to remember this. It allocates 4 minutes for “Listen and Respond”, but only a meager 75 seconds for  “Summarize the Conversation” (yes, this part is writing). If you have taken the actual DET test, or have done a mock test, you will find that the time allocated for “Listen and Respond” is basically not used up, but the time for  “Summarize the Conversation” is often not enough. How to deal with this problem? Let’s analyze it step by step:

Unlike the listening questions in the TOEFL or IELTS tests, the “Interactive Listening” questions in DET will gradually display the listening scripts. Yes, you read that right. This means that for each question you choose, there will be a previous hint (Good news!). Let’s look at an actual question (the question pictures are screenshots from the official DET video, you can find more information in the YouTube link above).

<img src="src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/AALAtaSQUkc?feature=oembed"" width="90%" height="auto" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" />

Before doing “Listen and Respond” each time, you will see the following Scenario. Let’s see what information this Scenario provides us:

You will participate in a conversation about the scenario below. (Note that, unlike traditional listening questions, you, as a test taker, will play one of the roles in this listening segment.)

You are a student in a journalism class. (This tells you your identity.)

After today’s lecture on reporting, you approach your professor to ask them more about what it means to cultivate sources. (This mentions the problem you encountered and the person you asked for help or discussed with.)

At this point, we understand that this Scenario is actually a summary of the listening scripts in some form (we will continue to explain this part later). Then, this Scenario can also be used as a basis for judging the “Listen and Respond” questions. Let’s use a question as an example:

Quickly recall the Scenario we just saw. Your problem is “After today’s lecture on reporting, you approach your professor to ask them more about what it means to cultivate sources”, which is actually to find the professor and ask what “cultivate sources” is. In this way, only option 4 is the most appropriate answer. Let’s continue to look at the question:

Here we find that your previous choices, including the content you heard, scripts will be displayed. This is very friendly to the test takers because it can reduce the difficulty of the question.

How do we make choices? Do you still remember the Scenario just now? Your purpose in finding the professor is to ask what “cultivate sources” is. In this way, option 5 will be the most appropriate answer. I believe that through the above examples, you already know what the Scenario and the subsequent gradually displayed scripts are for. Yes, this information can help you to judge the multiple-choice questions that will appear later.

After completing the “Listen and Respond” part, you will see all the listening scripts. As we mentioned earlier, at this time, your 4-minute answer time is often still left with a lot (about 1-2 minutes). You can use this time to scroll up and down the text and try to memorize the key information in the listening conversation because the most difficult question (yes,  “Summarize the Conversation”) is about to appear.

In the next part, we will see how to do the  “Summarize the Conversation” question. First, let’s take a look at the question interface:

This is a desperate scene. In this interface, except for reminding you that this question only has 75 seconds to answer, there is nothing else. Yes, you will not be able to see the previous listening conversation again. So, we can only write a summary of the listening conversation from memory. The difficulty of this question is that it requires a high level of short-term memory and typing speed for the test takers. How can we get as many points as possible in this question? First, here are some details to pay attention to:

1. Use the first person in the summary

2. Past tense and present tense will be the most commonly used tenses

3. Try to include as many details as possible from the listening conversation in the writing

If you have any questions about the above 3 points, you can watch the video we mentioned above. The video has an actual answer demonstration by the official DET staff (BTW, you can also see the complete version of the example question in our post in the video). Next, here are some suggestions and answer strategies for most test-takers:

  • If your short-term memory is not very good, or your vocabulary foundation and listening ability are both weak, and you do not fully understand the content of the conversation, we suggest you stick to the Scenario. The reason has been mentioned before. This Scenario is actually a summary of the listening conversation in some way (although it lacks some details). In the remaining time after completing the “Listen and Respond” part, please focus on memorizing the Scenario part and try to restore it in the later writing. Of course, it is best to paraphrase it in your own words, rather than directly copy the original text.
  • If your typing speed is not fast enough, we suggest you go to typing.com or keybr.com websites to do 15-30 minutes of typing speed practice every day. For test takers with a short preparation time, we suggest that you master at least one writing framework for “Interactive Listening” before the test because if you still need to think about the writing framework in the 75-second answer time, you will not be able to write too much content. Here is a supplement to the answer framework for everyone, for example, we can write like this:

Your Identity + Problem + Helper + Advice/Solution + Result/Impact

Tip: If you don’t have enough time, or you remember a lot of details in the listening, you can omit the “Your Identity” part in the above framework. According to this framework, we can summarize the above conversation like this:

I am a college student who is majoring in journalism. I was confused after my professor’s lecture. To be specific, I didn’t understand the concept of “cultivating sources”. Therefore, I approached my professor to ask them about it. They told me what “cultivating sources” is, ways to do it, the difference between “cultivating sources” and “networking”, and the importance of “cultivating sources”. Finally, my problem was solved.

  • If your typing speed is relatively fast, and you remember a lot of details in the listening material, we suggest you try to restore them in the writing part. Let’s take a look at the sample answer given by the official staff:

I asked my professor a question after class today. I asked them to explain the concept of cultivating sources as a reporter. They said that it is the process of building relationships with people who can provide information for stories. One way to do this is by attending events where these people are likely to be and starting conversations with them. Having sources is useful because you can reach out to them for information rather than asking strangers for information.

This should be a high-scoring answer. Compared with the answer we gave before, this answer contains a lot of details from the listening, which will increase the score of the answer in the “topic relevance” item. But if your English ability is not that good now, we recommend you try to use our suggested method to prepare or answer the questions. Good luck with your DET test!

Click here for more DET Preparation Strategies 

Look for tips on DET? Find out here: https://www.detpractice.com/category/pro-test-tips/

Start practicing today by signing up for our DET question bank for free.

Related Articles
0/5(Rating:4.0 · 1 votes)
Rate this article
Related Articles