Improving Your Reading and Listening for the OET

A doctor carrying a laptop with Improving your Reading and Listening for the OET written on it

It is natural to think that the best way to prepare for the OET reading and listening sections is with lots of mock exams. The logic is simple. The more mock tests you do, the better you will perform during the actual exam and get the B+ score you need in order to achieve your career ambitions.

Although this may seem right, unfortunately, achieving OET reading and listening success is not that simple. The OET is not just a test of familiarity with the exam, it is fundamentally a test of English comprehension.

As a result, you must ensure that your level of English comprehension is high enough. After this, you can then focus on things like OET reading and listening mock exams.

This necessitates a focus on resources and practice which goes beyond the OET. Read on to see which resources can help you the most in improving your reading and listening level.

How To Improve Your Reading and Listening


Reading Medical Journals

The simplest way to start your OET reading and listening practice is with materials on medical topics. This is because the language and themes that you will encounter here are quite similar to the actual OET exam.

By reading medical journals, you will not just be exposed to medical language, you will also have the opportunity to observe the use of transition and linking phrases which are common in longer texts. These will help you prepare for the sort of texts that you will need to read in OET Reading part C.

These journals will also very likely introduce new words and phrases that will be incredibly useful to you moving forward. You should check the definitions of these words and phrases and write them down in the form of a vocabulary list.

Another skill that is tested by the OET reading exam is using context clues to decode the meanings of less common words and phrases. So an essential part of your review revolves around activities that help you develop your reading skills to perform better during the exam.

A highly recommended medical journal is the British Medical Journal. This resource can be accessed online and provides a regular stream of articles on topical medical issues.

Listening to Medical Podcasts

Medical podcasts also help expose you to relevant language and topics related to the OET listening exam. You should take this opportunity to understand a wider variety of accents and note down specific words and phrases which are new to you. Afterward, you can look them up and improve your vocabulary score.

Some recommended podcasts include ABC’s “All in the Mind” and the BBC’s “Health Check”.

These podcasts are particularly useful because of the Australian and British accents used throughout the show. As you may or may not know, these accents are very common in the OET listening exam.

Reading Newspapers and News Websites

Another great way of improving your reading in English is to engage with materials on current affairs.

News media offers a variety of language, from more formal language found on The Financial Times and The Washington Post, to less formal language like the one used on The Daily Mirror or The Sun. Try reading these publications to expose yourself to as many variations of the English language as possible.

There is also a large variety of topics covered by international affairs, such as politics, economics, sports and even entertainment. As a result, you can focus your reading on topics that interest you. This technique helps you learn more because the more engaged you are with the topic, the more likely you are to retain new words and phrases that you encounter.

But you should also branch out a bit more and experiment with reading materials from other points of interest. Take the opportunity to read any other English language material that you find engaging like novels, magazines and even film reviews. Immersing yourself in English is the best way to attain high-level reading abilities.

Listening to YouTube videos

English dominates the internet and nowhere else can English listening content be found more readily available than on YouTube. You can find content on pretty much every topic imaginable, from global warming, education, celebrity biographies and even sports analysis.

Finding topics of interest on YouTube helps to broaden your exposure to English and its range of accents. In order to focus on the listening you will do during the OET, it is advisable to listen without looking at the video and noting down any new words or phrases.

After this, it is best to repeat the video. This time however be sure to watch the video too so you can check the new words and phrases with the assistance of visual cues. You can even listen one more time and use subtitles if there is a lot of information that you want to further clarify.

Be sure to only use subtitles after the second or third listen. Otherwise, you are not really practising your listening skills and instead honing your reading abilities.

Access Graded Reading and Listening Content

Graded content is specifically focussed on an identified listening level. This can range from beginner level (A1) to high-level proficiency (C1).

Websites like Sensations English offer graded content ranging from A1 to C1 levels. With them, you can access materials that are appropriate to your current level or challenge yourself to learn more with the higher levels. Find out more about Sensations English by accessing this link – Sensations English.

Contact a Qualified General English Teacher

A qualified English teacher is able to provide guidance and set tasks with reading and listening materials. He or she can assess your level, keep you on track for success and give you appropriate materials that go beyond just passing OET mock exams.

Contact us at Swoosh English so that we can help to guide you to OET reading and listening success!

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