Words are made up of syllables in all languages. Some of these syllables are made more pronounced by bearing a primary stress phoneme which carries the highest prominence among in louder forms the surrounding syllables. The stressed syllable with a primary stress is an innate property of the word; each word carries a primary stress. The syllable with the primary stress is also known as tonic stress. The syllable with primary word-stress is most prominent because it is automatically placed upon the related syllable, drawing attention to native uses of pronunciation and intonation. Recognizing a stressed syllable requires us to perceive its prominence, which is actually an auditory signalling that the hearer's attention is centered upon. Perception of the nuclear stress escapes the attention of prospective Turkish students and English majors, especially in longer words. This research will investigate the perception of tonic stress placement in English words by the first year students in the English Language Education Department in one of the leading universities in Turkey. In the pre-test, the participants listened to 15 words given by a computer in audio forms and then were asked to single out the tonic syllable in a five-answer multiple choice test. After the evaluation of the pre-test results, the participants were taught for 3 hours on the inspection of tonic stress in words. Two weeks later, the same pre-test was administrated as post-test to the participants. While overall rate of success was 17.47% in the pre-test, it increased to 52.4% in the post-. These results indicate that the ability of nuclear stress perception in vocabulary items can be beneficial in learning listening comprehension. (C) 2016 Published Elsevier Ltd.