Listening Part C of the OET listening sub-test is, in my opinion, the most challenging of all the listening parts. In this article, we are going to break it down so that you know what it consists of, what is required of you, and how you can start to work on your skills for this part of the test.
The structure of Listening Part C
In Listening Part C, you will hear two extracts, each of which lasts about 4-5 minutes. They will take the form of an interview with or a presentation by a healthcare professional. You will hear each audio extract once only.
A question for Listening Part C looks something like this:
How does Dr Lee describe the movement from traditional care systems to non-visit care?
- Large pre-existing medical providers will probably be dominant in the market
- There will be a mixture of reactions from existing and new organisations
- Flexible new organisations will have an advantage over new ones.
What do you have to do in Listening Part C?
Your job is to answer six 3-option multiple-choice questions per audio extract. These questions may focus on attitude, gist, or the opinion of the speaker, and very often the answer is implied rather than stated outright. The fact that all of the answer options will have some kind of relationship to the audio content complicates the task of choosing the right answer. Therefore, remember your job is to choose the answer that best matches what you hear and that answers the question.
There are two types of questions you will see in the OET Listening Part C. The first type of question is the direct question. This type of question will end with a question mark like the example given above.
The other type of question is a sentence completion. In this question type, your choice of answer will finish the sentence:
According to Dr Lee, a non-visit care culture:
- views face-to-face consultations as a final resort in the treatment
- will develop more rapidly in new medical start-ups
- requires a blend of responses from medical organisations
Before each audio begins, you get 90 seconds of reading time during which you should pay careful attention to and underline the keywords in each question. This will help you focus while listening.
You will notice the Listening Part C looks very similar to Listening Part B. However, whereas in Part B each question corresponds to one short audio extract, in Part C there are no breaks in the audio to indicate that you need to move onto the next question, which means it is up to you to keep up with the audio. For this reason, most candidates feel the interview format is easier than a presentation, as the interviewer provides a paraphrased version of the question on your question paper, meaning you know when a new topic is being discussed. In a presentation, there is only one speaker, meaning that you have to listen carefully for topic changes that correspond to the focus of each question so that you can keep up with the audio.
Tips for practicing
As I mentioned previously, the audio extracts in OET Listening part C are quite long, lasting about 4-5 minutes each. In today’s world of multitasking, in which we are used to watching a video on social media with a TV show playing in the background, we aren’t really used to paying attention to audio and absorbing information in detail. So, the first thing you need to work on is your listening stamina. Practice listening to audio without stopping and starting or relying on subtitles, taking note of key ideas.
Building your vocabulary is also key for Listening Part C, as the extracts will often use synonyms and paraphrased versions of the questions and answer options that you see on your question paper. Being able to make connections between what you are reading and what you are hearing is crucial, and good vocabulary skills will help immensely.
As I mentioned, this is a very tough part of the test, and practice is key. At E2Language we can provide you with high-quality practice materials, 1-on-1 tutorials with expert teachers that can give you personalised feedback about your strengths and weaknesses, and live classes that give you extra practice and strategies so you can feel confident on test day.