Tip #1: Practice listening while simultaneously reading
Nowadays we have YouTube and Netflix, which means that you could switch on the subtitles to a video and read along. That would help you train your visual and listening skills, because you would see the way the person speaking moves their mouth, while listening what they are saying.
Tip #2: Forget about spaces
When native speakers talk they tend to say one sentence as one word, leaving no spaces between the words. You have to learn to understand one sentence as one word. This will also help you with your spoken language, because you have to do the same in order for people to understand you.
Tip #3: Content vs. function words
In order to be able to understand when native speakers are talking, you need to be able to understand distinct words. You do not always have to understand the whole sentence; you just have to get the most important words in it and then you can figure out the general meaning. So, do not worry if you are listening to somebody and there are some words that you fail to understand. This applies to reading as well. If you feel that you should check out every single word that is new for you – stop. If you are reading a book and every third word is new, you will be consulting your vocabulary and dictionary all the time rather than reading the book. Your task is to figure out the most important words in the sentence, which are normally nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
Tip #4: Like Like Like
Native speakers tend to use a lot of filler words, such as “like”. What you should know is that “like” in this context has no actual meaning. It adds nothing to the sentence. It is just used to win some time and think of what you are trying to say next.
Tip #5: The problem of regional accents
There are so many accents in the US, that if you go from the east coast to the west, for example, you will not really hear the difference. You might notice something is weird about the speech, but you will not be able to tell what exactly. However, if you are in the UK and you go from London to Edinburgh you are going to hear it straight away. Their accents are really tough. But don't worry. Normally when you come to a city you adjust to the local accent.
Tip #6: Expose yourself to different accents
If you travel to a big city like New York or Los Angeles, you will meet a lot of people and the more you talk, the more you will start to understand the accents. Also, watch as many movies and TV shows in English as you can.
Check out: Show Your English Proficiency with TOEFL iBT