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Distractors in tests are included to divert attention away from correct answers choices. Knowing what types of distractors commonly appear in tests will benefit test takers as they can prepare themselves beforehand. Therefore, this qualitative study was aimed at making assumptions on plausible lexical distractors which are expected to appear in the TOEIC Question-Response listening test. The data under analysis were 300 items from the TOEIC Question-Response listening practice tests published by two internationally well-known publishers. With the aid of thematic analysis, the findings revealed that the three most commonly plausible lexical distractors were repeated words, similar-sounding words, and word associations, followed by homonyms, overlapping words, derivational words, and homophones, respectively. The two least frequently used lexical distractors were synonyms and antonyms. Based on the findings in the present study, the authors suggest integrating both explicit and implicit listening instructions to enhance EFL students’ linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge to avoid being confounded by these lexical distractors in the listening test. Explicit listening instruction can include simple and comprehensible bottom-up activities, such as dictation, macro listening, and narrow listening. In addition, extensive listening through implicit listening instruction can enhance students’ listening fluency and familiarity with fluent English speakers’ natural speech.
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