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How to Pass OET Listening: Strategies and Self-Study Tips

Student listening to lesson

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language proficiency test for healthcare professionals, designed to assess their ability to communicate effectively in English in a healthcare setting.

One of the four components of the OET is the Listening subtest, which assesses the test-taker’s ability to comprehend and respond to spoken English in a healthcare context.

In this article, we will discuss how to pass the OET Listening subtest by outlining strategies and self-study tips for each of the three parts of the Listening subtest.

OET Listening Part A

Part A of the OET Listening subtest lasts for 15 minutes and requires the test-taker to complete notes based on a consultation between a healthcare professional and a patient.

Here are some strategies and self-study tips to improve your performance in Part A:

  1. Use the pre-listening time effectively: You have 30 seconds to read the notes and underline keywords before the audio starts. Use this time to get familiar with the context, identify subheadings, and notice any gaps in the notes.
  2. Improve your vocabulary using transcripts: Use the transcripts to identify synonyms and paraphrases, notice signposting phrases, and understand how certain words are expressed in spoken English.
  3. Listen to a variety of authentic audios: Listen to different accents and a variety of patient- and healthcare professional-based role plays to improve your listening skills.
  4. Build up a bank of useful vocabulary: Compile a list of words and phrases related to the 12 professions that could come up in a consultation.

OET Listening Part B

Part B of the OET Listening subtest lasts for 10 minutes and requires the test-taker to answer six multiple-choice questions based on six different extracts, which could be monologues or interactions.

Here are some strategies and self-study tips to improve your performance in Part B:

  1. Underline keywords: Read each question and underline the keywords before listening to the audio.
  2. Listen to the audio without the transcript first: Train your ears to pick up spoken English and then use the transcript to check your answers.
  3. Analyze the transcripts: Use the transcripts to understand why the other options are incorrect, notice signposting and linking phrases, and develop your knowledge of topic vocabulary.
  4. Listen to online training videos: Listen to videos of healthcare professionals discussing different topics and make notes on their conversation.

OET Listening Part C

Part C of the OET Listening subtest lasts approximately 15 minutes and requires the test-taker to answer six multiple-choice questions based on two longer audios, which could be presentations or interviews.

Here are some strategies and self-study tips to improve your performance in Part C:

  1. Use the 90 seconds pre-listening time effectively: Read the questions and options, notice the structure of the interview, underline keywords, and remember that the questions often ask about views and opinions rather than facts.
  2. Develop your vocabulary using transcripts: Review your answers, find links to the questions and options, and improve your ability to understand fast speech.
  3. Analyze the transcripts: Analyze the scripts for language to express attitude and opinion or any indication as to the speaker’s view, and make a note of phrases in your notebook.
  4. Practice listening to a variety of longer talks: Listen to speeches or presentations and make notes on the main structure, then listen again and make more detailed notes, and make a note of any expressions the speaker uses to organize their speech and express opinion.
Help with further preparation

If you’re in need of additional assistance with your OET preparation, look no further than Specialist Language Courses (SLC), UK’s Leading Medical English Providers and OET Premium Preparation Provider.

With SLC, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands and on the right path to passing the OET test.

Check out SLC’s various courses to see which one would best suit your needs.

If you’re unsure which course is the ideal fit for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to SLC for guidance.

Contact information can be found here. 


In conclusion, passing the OET Listening subtest requires a combination of effective strategies and to develop effective listening skills.

This can be achieved through various techniques such as using pre-listening time effectively, using transcripts during self-study, and listening to a variety of authentic audios to improve vocabulary and comprehension.

Building stamina is also crucial to perform well in the OET exam.

By incorporating these practices into your study routine, you can enhance your listening skills and increase your chances of success in the exam.

Remember, it takes time and effort to master any skill, but with dedication and perseverance, you can achieve your goals.

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