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Listening sub-test

The Listening sub-test consists of two parts (Part A and Part B). It’s the same for all professions. See full details of what's on the test Preparing for the Listening sub-test
To help you prepare for the Listening sub-test, you can:

• Try the Listening material from the sample test
• Buy Listening practice materials from the OET Bookshop
• Listen to health-related radio and television programs in English, which are often available online as streamed or downloadable files. They include:

 Taking the Listening sub-test: Dos and don’ts

• Do demonstrate that you have understood the recording (as well as heard it).
• Don’t try to write everything the speakers say – it is not dictation or a memory test.
• Do take a sample test under test conditions beforehand so you know what it feels like.
• Do practise writing clearly if you have poor handwriting.

How can I help myself during the Listening sub-test?

• Have a spare pen or pencil ready just in case
• Stay relaxed and receptive – ready to listen
• Focus on listening and understanding then recording your answer
• Use the time allowed, once the recording starts, to look through the questions carefully:
    o Scan the headings and questions so you know what to listen out for
    o Think about what vocabulary is likely to come up for this topic
• Don’t write full sentences: make notes and be sure they are clear and unambiguous
• Use common abbreviations and symbols
• Write clearly: writing that is hard to read could lose you marks
• Keep looking ahead to what is coming up (on the next page too)
• Use the pauses in the recordings to finish writing, review, and prepare for the next section
• Look at the space provided for answers and the number of marks available for each question, to get an idea of how much information to include

Part A
• Use the headings to guide you – give all relevant information under the correct heading
• Give specific information rather than general information from the recording
• Don’t jump ahead or back: the headings follow the sequence of the recording
• Note the longer pauses in the dialogue usually indicate the end of each numbered question

Part B
• Read through each question carefully
• Check the format of each question: e.g. sentence completion; note-taking or listing; table or diagram completion; true-false or multiple-choice questions
• Predict what type of response is required: e.g., to complete ‘___­%’ you will probably need a number

Checking at the end
• Look for any simple spelling errors that may accidentally change the meaning of your answer (‘message’ for ‘massage’, ‘bills’ for ‘pills’, etc.)
• If a page is messy, use clear marks like arrows to show which answer belongs to which question or heading
• Think twice about going back to change something – it may be better to leave what you wrote the first time if you are not sure
• Don’t leave any blanks: if you’re not sure, have a guess at the answer

How is the Listening sub-test assessed?
The Listening sub-test is marked by fully trained assessors who follow a detailed marking guide prepared by the test designers. This sets out which answers are given marks and how the marks are counted. Assessors use the guide to decide for each question whether you have provided enough correct information to be given the mark(s) available.
Read more about OET assessment procedures