Listening to you
At the OET Centre, we get a lot of questions from concerned students preparing for the test about their answers to the Listening test. Listening Part A in particular.
To soothe some of the stress from these and other students, this week’s post is going to cover the following FAQs:
- What to write
- How assessors grade spelling and grammar errors and use of abbreviations
- Which answers will be considered correct.
What a Listening Part A answer booklet looks like
Each section includes a Heading (and sometimes sub-headings as you can see in this example) and a bulleted line for each mark available. In the example left, the sub-heading ‘Specialist’s view’ has 2 marks available (seen in the box on the right hand side) and so there are 2 bulleted lines.
Writing your answers
- To get the marks for the 2 answers in our example, you must have your answer on or around those two lines. If, for some reason, you wrote your answers under the next sub-heading ‘Patient’s view’, they would not be marked.
- It doesn’t matter if you write both answers on the same line or the individual lines given. As long as the answers are on one or other line, this is acceptable.
- If you write part of your answer to the left of the bulleted lines or next to the sub-heading, this is also acceptable.
Look at this image for the answers to the subheading ‘Specialist’s view’. All the space highlighted yellow is included as part of your answer by the assessors. All the space highlighted in red is not included as part of your answer to this sub-heading by the assessors.
How assessors grade your answers
- Spelling and grammar mistakes are accepted by the assessors as long as the meaning of what you have written is clear. E.g. if you wrote ‘pewmonea’ for pneumonia, this would be accepted as correct. Alternatively, if your wrote ‘visit sister house every week’ (missing off the ‘s’ from ‘visit’ and ‘s from ‘sister’) this would be accepted as correct.
- As a note-taking task, abbreviations and symbols are recommended as mentioned in a recent test tip post. There isn’t a standard list of abbreviations and symbols which the assessors accept but they are familiar with all common abbreviations.
Which answers will be considered correct
The answers for the 2 marks in the sub-heading ‘Specialist’s view’ are:
(being) pregnant not an issue/no problem
think about whether to breastfeed OR breastfeeding takes calcium from bones/ may cause fractures
- Your answer must be complete. For example if you missed the word ‘not’ or ‘no’ out of the first answer, you would not get the mark.
- The second answer is even more critical. If you only write ‘whether to breastfeed’ or ‘think about breastfeed’ this would not get the mark as there are two parts to this answer. 1) thinking about a decision to be made AND 2) breastfeeding.
- If you write something extra between those two answers for example: ‘follow a healthy diet’, this answer is incorrect and is ignored. It doesn’t stop you from getting 2 marks for the other 2 answers you have written down. The assessors would see both correct answers and, even though there was an incorrect answer between them, give you 2 marks.
One final point
Your handwriting does not have to be beautiful but it must be legible. Remember that someone is trying to find as many marks as possible for you. To do this they must be able to read and understand what you have written. When you’ve completed a pratice test, give your answers to someone unfamiliar with your handwriting and ask if they can read what you’ve written. If they can, then your handwriting will be fine for the OET assessors.