TOEIC Tips: Part One



1. Look at the photograph as quickly as possible before listening  to the four choices. Do not wait for the speaker to tell you to look at the photograph

2. While scanning the photograph, ask yourself some wh-questions:

If there is a person in the photograph, ask yourself:

  • Who is the photo? (man or woman, his or her job)
  • What are they doing? (activity)
  • Where are they? (place)

If there is an object in the photograph, ask yourself:

  •  What is in the photo? (identify the object)
  •  Where is it? (location)

3. Brainstorm nouns and verbs related to the photograph

4. Predict possible statements using a noun and a verb

Most of these statements take one of the following forms:

  • The (man/woman/people/thing) is / are doing something)
  • The (man/woman/people/thing) has / is / are something / somewhere)

5. Listen carefully to the four statements and select the one that best describes what you see in the photograph

6. Mark your answer quickly and immediately look at the next photograph to preview it



1. Similar sounding words

Words that sound similar, but do not sound exactly the same, are often used in Part 1 of the TOEIC test to confuse you. One or more statements include a word or phrase that may sound  like something in the photograph. For example:

  •  Instead of hearing the statement “The woman is sitting” (which is correct), you may hear the incorrect statement “The woman is knitting”. The verbs “knit” and “sit” sound similar. But the word “knit” is simply used here as to confuse you.
  • Instead of expecting the statement “A plant is in front of the window” (which is correct), you  hear the incorrect statement “An ant is in front of the window”. The nouns “plant” and “ant” sound similar. However, only the former (i.e. “plant” is correct. the word “ant” is included in the statement just to distract you.

2. Words in a different context

Statements often include things you can see, or words that you might expect to hear. Nevertheless they incorrectly describe the context.  Consider the following photograph:

(a) He is having his hair cut.
(b) He is talking on the telephone.
(c) He is typing on the keyboard.
(d) He is washing the desk

The statement “He is typing on the keyboard” is incorrect beacuse though we can see “a man” and “a keyboard” in the photograph, the man is not using the keyboard.


3. Prepositions

In Part 1 of the TOEIC test, it is sometimes important to notice the location of people and objects in the photograph. A preposition or prepositional phrase may often be used incorrectly.  For example:

♦ The statement “She is sitting beside her desk” is incorrect beacuse though we can see a woman sitting and a desk in the photograph, the woman is not sitting beside her desk but behind it.

♦ The statement “There are many cars on the bridge” is false. In the photo, we can clearly see cars and a bridge, but these vehicles are not on the bridge; they are under the bridge.