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OET listening

Whether your medical field of expertise involves dealing directly with patients or not, listening skills are particularly important in ensuring you understand everything asked of you in your role. Having strong listening skills can be paramount for patient safety and can be vital in understanding your patient’s needs and responding appropriately.

Strong listening skills can help you work better within your team and help you appear more sympathetic to patients and co-workers, as well as allowing patients to feel more confident in sharing sensitive information about their health with you.

The OET listening exam preparation class will help you improve your listening skills by focusing on specific situations found in healthcare settings. From challenging a candidate’s ability to identify gist and detail to their ability to follow an extended recording, the OET listening exam will prepare you for daily demands of your chosen healthcare role in English.

Here are some more details about the OET listening exam.

Question amount

• 3 parts

Times of exam/ sections

• The listening test is the first test on test day.

• You have 40 minutes for this test:

Part A – Assesses your ability to identify specific information

o 2 x 5 – minute consultations between a healthcare professional and a patient

o Gap – fill completed with notes made while listening to the recording.

Part B – Assesses your ability to identify detail, gist, opinion and purpose in short extracts from healthcare settings. Extracts could include team briefings, handovers or healthcare professional and patient dialogues.

o 6 x 1 – minute extracts from the healthcare workplace

o 1 multiple choice question per extract

Part C – Assesses your ability to follow an extended recording on a range of healthcare topics

o 2 x 5-minute interviews/ presentations given by a healthcare professional.

o 6 multiple choice questions per extract


The listening section is split into 3 parts and has an overall maximum score of 42.



Part A


Part B


Part C


Tips and tricks


1. Read the sentence before the gap and especially the word before the gap and learn to anticipate the type of word (adjective/adverb/noun/verb)

2. Underline the words in the notes that tell you what you’re listening for (e.g. type of pain)

3. Think about the type of information that is missing in the gap (diagnosis, symptom, colour, sensation).

4. Think about the sequence of the conversation (Look at the headings so you know where you are in the text).


1. Underline key words in the question

2. Underline key words in the multiple answer choices (normally a verb/noun would be different or a question word such as “why”, “how”, “when”)

3. Listen out for synonyms (OET often uses different wording in the listening from the one on your paper).

4. Spelling matters. A misspelt answer is counted as wrong.


1. First look at the context sentence to find out who is talking and what the topic of the interview is.

2. Underline key words in the question

3. Underline key words (noun, verb, question word) in the answers

4. Remember that wording of the recording can differ from the wording on your sheet (synonyms).

5. Think about the sequence of the conversation (Look at the headings so you know where you are in the text).

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