OET: Listening Guide

OET Test Preparation Specialists

The OET (Occupational English Test) Listening test is made up of three parts, all of which cover generic topics that will be equally understandable for students from each healthcare profession – so don’t worry, your medical knowledge will not be tested, only your ability to listen to and to understand common healthcare topics and situations. The total time of the test is 40 minutes. The test time is made up of both recorded speech designated pauses, ensuring that you will have adequate time in which you can write your answers. Note that you must write whilst you are listening, or you will run out of time!

OET Medicine Online Course & Question Bank

Our OET Medicine Question bank features questions from UK doctors, as well as tutorials and techniques.

OET Nursing Online Course & Question Bank

Our OET Nursing Question bank features questions from doctors and admissions specialists, with a range of tutorials.

OET Pharmacy Online Course & Question Bank

Our OET Pharmacy Question bank features questions from UK doctors and pharmacists, with tutorials and tips.


Part A consists of two patient consultations. These could be between a nurse and a patient, a pharmacist and a patient, etc – the healthcare professional in question will not affect the content that you will need to listen to. The consultations have been pre-recorded and are played back to you. You must fill out notes using the content that you listen to. You MUST use the exact same words that you hear in the recording. You must not change the information, change its meaning in any way, or paraphrase the information. As an example, if the recording says, I diagnosed the patient with AF and initiated them on a beta-blocker for rate control’ then you must write exactly that; writing ‘a diagnosis of AF was made, and so they were initiated on a beta-blocker for rate control’ would be wrong, for example. This is because the meaning has changed – we cannot be sure if you initiated this treatment or if it was done by someone else.

Part B consists of short passages that pertain to the workplace. Similarly to the writing section’s part B, the content passages will be very mundane – expect to hear a handover, a conversation between a health professional and a patient, an announcement to a ward, a morning briefing, etc. You will not hear complex medical information that would require specialist or specific knowledge. Each recorded passage will have one multiple choice question attached to it.

Part C consists of two recorded passages that will be drawn from either a presentation or interview. These will relate to healthcare topics that are non-specific. Each extract will have six multiple choice questions associated with it.

OET Test Resources & Tutoring

Find our 1-1 tutoring for OET Medicine and Nursing here. We also offer 1-1 tutoring for Pharmacy.


The listening test is designed to assess your ability to understand the spoken word both at a high level and in more granular detail – so expect to be questioned on both a speaker’s overall argument and on particular facets of information that they are conveying. You will have to both write (in Part A) and select multiple choice answers (in Part B).

Your spelling will not impact on your mark, so long as the meaning that you are conveying is clear. Normally the assessors will be provided with information on which misspellings will be accepted and which will not. This means that the listening test is different to the reading and writing tests – both of which require correct spellings. This is because encountering drugs or conditions that you are unfamiliar with in a listening section can understandably lead to you spelling something wrong – but still having heard and understood the context perfectly.

Of the 42 marks available for the listening test, 24 marks are available in Part A, 6 marks are available in Part B, and 12 marks are available in Part C.

When considering Part A, don’t be concerned that your responses could be marked incorrect simply because an assessor fails to understand the content or is not qualified enough – the assessors are trained specifically for the task and will be required to bring answers that they are unsure of to a senior assessor for further feedback. All the papers are marked by two assessors. The assessors chosen are selected at random.

The marking guide that the assessors use will clearly outline which marks are awarded for a given response, and why – ensuring that a range of correct responses are awarded fair marks. The assessors themselves are monitored to ensure that their marking is fair and consistent.

Parts B and C are scanned and marked by a computer as the multiple choice format leaves no room for interpretation.

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