Listening

The Listening sub-test consists of two parts, with approximately 20-28 question items. The topics are of generic healthcare interest, accessible to candidates across all professions. Each part consists of about 15 minutes of recorded speech, containing pauses to allow you time to write your answers. You will hear each recording once and are expected to write your answers while listening.

The Listening sub-test structure

Part A – consultation (20-25 minutes)

Part A assesses your ability to follow facts during a consultation. You will listen to a recorded health professional-patient consultation and complete a note taking task, guided by relevant headings.

Part B – presentation (20-25 minutes)

Part B  assesses your ability to understand a short talk on a health-related topic that might realistically occur in the workplace. You’ll listen to a recorded talk or lecture (monologue) by a healthcare professional and complete a range of open-ended and fixed choice tasks.

How is listening ability assessed in OET?

A wide range of task types are included so that a good sample of each candidate’s listening ability is tested. This includes tasks assessing comprehension, such as:

  • ‘multiple- choice’ questions
  • ‘short-answer response’ questions
  • tasks that assess your ability to listen for specific information – for example, completing tables or lecture notes, ‘sentence-completion’ tasks or ticking/circling boxes or lists, etc.

Assessors who mark the Listening sub-test are qualified and highly trained. Candidate responses are assessed against an established marking guide. During the marking session, problematic or unforeseen answers are referred to a sub-group of senior Assessors for guidance. Candidates with scores that are near the borderline automatically have their papers double-marked to ensure fairness and consistency.

How is the listening test scored?

Your answer booklets for the Listening sub-test and for Reading Part A are marked by trained Assessors at the OET Centre.

Answer booklets are assigned at random to avoid any conflict of interest. Your answer sheet for Reading Part B is computer scanned and automatically scored.

Listening and Reading Assessors use a detailed marking guide which sets out which answers receive marks and how the marks are counted.

Assessors use this guide to decide for each question whether you have provided enough correct information to be given the mark or marks available. Assessors are monitored for accuracy and consistency, and the data entry of scores is also double-checked for accuracy.