OET Listening: The Complete Guide

About This OET Listening Guide

At Swoosh English we care deeply about our students and we want nothing more than for you to achieve your goals. The Requirement upon entering OET Listening and any other listening exam naturally generate anxiety. Because you need to listen and make sense of large amounts of information, while following lists of notes and then having to answer difficult questions all at once. So you really need to improve your listening skills.

The fact that the Occupational English Test Listening exam only gives health professionals like doctors one opportunity to hear the information in the OET listening sample makes the situation and the work more challenging. Having a clear strategy and focuses on the exam make all that more important. 

This guide will give you the vital information you need to help you become an expert OET listener. And, thereby, help you understand what you’ll be listening to in the examination. We’re here to help you achieve the results for your career dreams.

What is the OET Listening Test?

The OET listening test is a test of English designed for medical professionals or health professionals who want to work abroad. Unlike the writing and speaking sections of the exam, it is not designed for medical professionals from a specific medical background. Rather, it’s a test that
is designed to relate all medical professionals’ experiences. Both inside and outside the workplace more generally.

The exam, in total, will last for approximately 40 minutes and it is divided into three sections.  Each section has a specific focus and design.  Part A has 24 questions divided over two dialogues both between a medical professional and a patient.  The question format for part A is a gap-fill format.

Part B has six multiple-choice questions with three options for each question.  Each question will relate to a separate recording, that lasts between 40-60 seconds.

Part C also has multiple-choice questions with three options for each. However, there are 16 questions in this section in total. With eight questions relating to two separate recordings. The recordings in part C will either involve a presentation or an interview with a medical professional, normally one of each.

As stated above, you will only have one opportunity to listen to each of the recordings. As a result, you must write down your answers to the questions as you listen.

What to do to prepare before the OET Listening Test

Get familiar with the exam

There are many aspects to successful listening.
And, thus, there are many ways in which you can ensure that you are fully prepared before you enter the listening test. The first step you should take is to familiarise yourself with the exam. Basically, make sure you fully understand all of the information written above.

Assess your level

It’s important that you are able to assess your current level. To see how close you are to achieving a B or above in OET listening.  The most effective way of doing this is to take the Swoosh English OET Listening Readiness Test.
With this, you will have the opportunity to do a shortened version of the OET Listening test and get direct feedback on your current level.

Get plenty of listening practice

Once you have found out your current level, you will know how much improvement you will need i
n order to be ready to take the OET listening test. One form of practice should come with doing OET mock listening tests. This will get you plenty of exposure to the exam format and can track your progress each time you do so.

Reliable mock listening tests can be hard to find. But at Swoosh English we will be able to provide you with plenty of such practice. Your listening practice should not be limited to doing OET tests though. Take the opportunity to listen to other English materials as well. This could be in the form of podcasts, radio broadcasts, YouTube videos and any other English content you can find.

Medical podcasts will be useful. This includes ABC’s “All in the Mind” and BBC’s “Health Check”. The previous resources are useful as well. Since they will help you practise listening to different accents in English. Especially, Australian and British accents which are very common in the OET Listening test.

Get direction from a qualified OET English teacher

Linked to listening practice is the focus on trying to move from passive to active listening.  What I mean by this is that you should always try to listen for a purpose. Not just listening and allowing your mind to wander onto unrelated pursuits. 
You can do this by writing summaries of what you’ve heard after listening to content. Or you can contact one of our qualified OET English teachers at Swoosh English. They will organise lessons with you to focus on developing listening skills and will be able to set you questions to test how well you’ve understood the content of a particular recording
A qualified OET teacher will also be able to advise you as to when you are truly ready to take the exam. So that you don’t waste vital time and money sitting the exam too soon.


Preparing for part C: Using background knowledge

In part C, you will have 90 seconds to read the set of eight questions you will have to answer for each recording. 
It is important that you take this opportunity to read each of the options in detail. Like in part B, you should underline key words in the questions and the options. So that you are clear about exactly what you are going to be listening for. 
At this stage, you should also make use of any background knowledge you may have. Which you can use to help you make sense of the recording you will hear. 
For example, if it is about infectious diseases, think about any training and experience that you have working in this field.  What information would you expect to hear? Are there any questions that your background knowledge could help you answer?
Be careful here as you should never select an answer to any of the questions until the recording has begun. But it is particularly useful to draw on your own relevant experience and background when approaching this section of the exam.

Preparing for part C: Following a talk/presentation

This section involves following one dominant speaker for an extended period of time. it is important that you are able to
successfully follow a longer stretch of spoken text. 
One of the ways to do this is to pay attention to signpost language. This is the language that indicates different sections of a speech.
For example, a speaker will state an introduction by using a phrase such as “Today, I want to talk about…” or “The focus of today’s talk will be…”
The speaker will also use language to sequence information such as: “Firstly…”, “Next…”, “Following that…”
There are other ways speakers will organise longer speeches too.
Preparing for part C: Identifying opinions

One of the key listening skills required for part C is the ability to listen out for the opinions of the main speakers
.  A lot of the questions as you will identify are about the speaker’s attitude.
To do this, you will need to pick specific vocabulary used to express your opinions. As well as recognising how attitudes can be expressed using stress and tone of voice. 
A rising-falling intonation to show uncertainty, for example, or a particular word being stressed to show a strong opinion on a topic.
As with the other sections of the exam, you should expect the words the speaker uses are a paraphrased version of the option. So make use of the skills used in other sections of the exam to give yourself the best chance of success in part C.

The OET Listening checklist

To summarise, then, for OET listening success:

  1. Make sure you are fully familiar with the OET listening test
  2. Take an exam readiness test so that you are clear as to your current level
  3. Get plenty of practice listening to both OET listening mock tests and other relevant listening material
  4. Find a qualified OET teacher to help provide a focus for your listening
  5. Make sure you make the most of your preparation time for each section of the exam.
  6. Make predictions before listening to part A and then ensure that you are prepared to recognise paraphrasing and that you focus on the specific information given.
  7. Clearly analyse each question for part B then ensure that you are focused on the context of the information provided so that you are not distracted into choosing an incorrect option.
  8. Use your background knowledge to help you connect with the topics in part C then use strategies to help you follow longer stretches of information and to help you detect opinions.
  9. Celebrate.  Your exam has come to an end and you should now be ready to contemplate success.


How Swoosh can help you

I hope this OET listening guide has been useful to you. Swoosh English has a vast amount of resources of live classes, videos, correction services, blogs and articles and a team of highly trained professionals for you to use.

If you have any doubts, any questions or need any further guidance, please contact us.

2 thoughts on “OET Listening: The Complete Guide”

  1. Good day
    Thank you for the most needed information. I’m ready to pursue my dreams because I’m connected to the masterminds in my profession.
    Thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *