OET Listening 2021 Test Rules

A listening test in any English language assessment can be challenging and it is the same when it comes to the OET listening sub-test. The listening test contains 3 parts and has a total of 10 recordings. Based on the recordings there are 42 questions that you have to answer. The topics of the recordings are of generic healthcare interest and can be understood by candidates across all the medical professions. The total length of the Listening section is about 40 minutes, including recorded speech and pauses to give you time to write your answers. So, it is understandable if the listening section seems difficult to some candidates. 

Important tips that you need to keep in mind when taking the listening test:

1.    Read the questions before the audio is played: It is best that you quickly read over all the questions before the recordings are played. This helps you be ready to listen to keywords or phrases that will help you answer the questions. And you will have some time before each recording is played to glance at the questions. This is a highly recommended strategy that works for any listening test.  

2.    Speak up if you can’t hear the audio: There might be a time during the test when you may have problems in audio playback or your headphones might not work, in that case you must inform the test center staff to help you. You will be guided on how to complete the test in case of technical difficulties. It is advised that you shouldn’t try to solve the problem on your own and instead inform the authorities because they can make arrangements for it to be fixed.     

3.    Follow the interview questions as a guide: The OET listening part C, in particular, has two audio extracts.  They will either be in the form of a presentation or a monologue with only one speaker or they will be in the form of a conversation as an interview with two speakers.  If it’s an interview, then it will be advantageous for you as each time the interviewer asks a question it should act as a prompt to you as the listener that you need to focus on a new question from the question paper. While practicing mock tests you will notice that the interviewer’s questions and the questions on the question paper are very similar. So, it acts as a useful guide as to when you should be moving on to the next question.  This is an important point as it can help you to navigate the recording and avoid missing answers.

4.    Using signposting language as a guide for monologue: If you get a presentation or a monologue for your part C audio recording instead of an interview, then you will need to listen out for signposting language as your guide. Language or words which indicates the beginning of a new idea or the end of an old idea is called signposting language. It is used to organise longer sentences of speech by using sequencing adverbs such as “first”, “second”, etc. or by using discourse markers such as “Now” and “So” to indicate a change of topic or the development of an idea. 

5.    Practice and become familiar with the format: Practice makes a man perfect and so you need to listen to different audio recordings available in OET Mock Tests. This will not only help you become familiar with the accents of native speakers but also with the format of the reading section. Another important thing that you will learn is to answer the questions within the time limit.