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OET Listening Section: Essential Resources Guide

OET Test Preparation Specialists

In order to successfully tackle the OET Listening component, you will need to be confident in listening to and understanding a range of topics and scenarios in natural spoken English, in a range of different accents. The following is an overview of some resources that you might find to be useful. There is more information available in the OET Listening Section: Preparation Guide.

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

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

General listening should begin early and should focus on podcasts, YouTube shows, and English language radio shows. You should easily be able to find shows that interest you, and the scope is too broad to provide specific podcasts or shows here. In terms of radio stations, you might find Radio 4 in the UK to be particularly useful. It is typically seen as more intellectual. Radio 5 is also useful – it is typically seen as less intellectual and will allow you to listen to a more ‘representative’ range of accents speaking on a broad range of every-day topics.

Healthcare-specific shows or podcasts form a useful middle ground between general content and content specific to the OET. Some useful resources include:

Podcasts: HealthcareNOW Radio, MedTech​​ Talk, Bright Spots in Healthcare, Digital Health Today, and Healthcare Focus.

Radio Shows: Looking at the UK in particular, you might find Radio 4’s Inside Health and National Health Stories to be useful.

YouTube: Channels that might be of interest include Healthcare Triage with Dr Aaron Carroll, NHS Health Careers, Public Health Scotland, Nuffield Health, and Health Education England. Remember to listen only – do not watch the video, as you will become reliant on visual cues and could then feel lost when only able to hear the audio in the exam. 

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You should then consider the structure of the exam itself, and the kind of content that you are likely to encounter.

 

Part A is composed of two histories, which will involve a medical professional speaking to a patient in a typical healthcare setting. These are relatively formally structured and should be immediately familiar to you from your own work.

In order to become familiar with hearing histories being taken in English, you will likely need to rely on YouTube again. We won’t provide specific resources here as there are countless channels dedicated to history taking, and therefore countless videos. Remember to use videos aimed at a range of different specialties and health professionals. You should listen to videos aimed at doctors, medical students, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and all other allied health professionals. As above, avoid watching the video, and force yourself to listen only.


Part B is composed of six short passages, each of which features people communicating in a typical healthcare situation. An example might be a night shift handing over to a morning shift in a hospital. This is more difficult to prepare for. You ought to consider the different types of situations you might encounter. You can use dedicated OET practice resources for this, like BlackStone Tutors’ Listening question bank. Having done this, you might then use YouTube again, and use a variety of search terms to generate results. As an example, you might choose to search ‘medical handover,’ and ‘nursing handover’ in order to become familiar with how these are conducted in English. This domain will take time as it is varied; remember that it is impossible to cover all possibilities and you will therefore be reliant on the general vocabulary and structures that you have learned.

Part C is composed of two longer presentations or interviews given by a healthcare professional on a particular topic – an example might be transitioning from being a nurse to being a Physician Associate, for example. This will require practicing listening to general-interest healthcare topics as seen in Part , as well as listening to  overviews of common diseases and information on careers. Remember that information will not be highly technical or specific. You might therefore choose to search on YouTube for videos aimed both at healthcare workers and the general public. Ensure that you become confident in listening to longer (5 minutes plus) passages with only one person speaking, and ensure that you are clear on the information that is being conveyed throughout. Remember to find speakers with different accents from different countries.

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