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OET Listening: How transcripts are your secret weapon for the test

Two healthcare workers are looking at notes

As you prepare for OET, you should make use of the range of official materials available. One resource which is often overlooked is the transcript from the OET Listening tests. This blog will explain exactly how you can effectively use these transcripts to enhance your performance.


What’s in the OET Listening sub-test?

First, let's quickly recap the OET Listening sub-test. The test has three parts and includes recordings of healthcare conversations, talks, and interviews on a range of healthcare-related topics. You hear the audio only once and you need to select your answers as you listen. If you’re not familiar with the test, be sure to try our free sample tests and read more in our Guides to Listening Part A, Part B and Part C in the OET blog.


Importance of the Listening Test transcripts

So, why are transcripts important? A transcript is a written copy of the audios you listen to in the test. Reviewing the transcript after a practice test helps you check your answers and see where you might have made mistakes, guiding your study.


Identifying and analysing weak areas using transcripts

Transcripts show you what you're good at and what you need to work on. Didn't get all the key information or misunderstood a part of the conversation? The transcript will show this. Notice where you have trouble and look for patterns. Do you often miss the same kind of information or context? Are certain accents or speeds difficult for you? Seeing these patterns will help you improve more effectively.


Using transcripts to improve vocabulary and grammar

Transcripts can help you learn new medical words, phrases, and complicated grammar used in healthcare. Read them carefully, noting any words or phrases you don't know. Look up their meanings and try to use them when you speak and write. This not only helps you learn new words but also gets you used to OET's language style.


Harnessing transcripts for better comprehension skills

Another benefit of using transcripts is improving your understanding skills. By listening to the audio and reading the transcripts again and again, you can become more familiar with different accents, pronunciation, and speech patterns. This practice will greatly improve your listening skills and help you understand the kind of language used in OET.


Effective techniques to use transcripts for practice

Now that you know why transcripts are important, let's talk about some good ways to use them:

  • Post-test analysis: After a listening task, look at the transcript and check your answers. See what you need to work on and make a plan to improve.
  • Shadowing technique: Listen to the audio while reading the transcript. This can help you understand how words are pronounced and how conversations flow.
  • Gap-fill exercises: Remove some words or phrases from the transcript and try to fill them in while listening to the recording. This can help improve your listening and understanding skills. You can use this simple online gapfill creator to build your own activity.


Transcript activity idea

As you’ve seen, there are lots of ways to use OET Listening transcripts in your preparation. Here’s a 10-step activity that you can use with any part of an OET Listening test to really make the most of the transcripts.


  1. Prepare to listen: Use the question sheet from a sample test. Just like you will do in the real test, read the instructions, context statements and questions. Think about the type of language you are going to hear to help you get ready to listen.
  2. Answer attempt: Now, listen to the recording and try to answer the questions. Don’t look at the transcript yet.
  3. Transcript analysis: After you've attempted to answer the questions, take out the transcript. Read it carefully while listening to the recording simultaneously. Pay special attention to the parts of the conversation related to the questions.
  4. Answer search: Compare your answers with the information in the transcript (not the answer key!). See where you made mistakes, if any. If you found the correct answer in the transcript but missed it during your initial listening, try to understand why.
  5. Answer check: Now, go to the official answer key and double check your answers.
  6. Identify difficult sections: Highlight any sections in the transcript that you found difficult to understand during the first or second listen. These might include complex ideas, fast speech, unfamiliar vocabulary, or difficult accents.
  7. Focused listening: Listen to the difficult sections repeatedly, following along in the transcript. This focused practice will help you become more comfortable with such challenging aspects over time.
  8. Vocabulary building: Note down any unfamiliar words or phrases from the transcript. Look up their meanings and try to use them in your own sentences to improve your vocabulary.
  9. Reflection: Reflect on what made certain parts difficult. Was it the speed, accent, vocabulary, or the complexity of the information? Noticing these patterns will help you focus your future practice.
  10. Repeat: Regularly practice with different recordings and their transcripts. Remember, consistent practice is the key to improvement.



Transcripts from OET Listening tests are more than just answers to tasks. Used properly, they can help you see what you need to work on, learn new words, understand conversations better, and improve your overall test performance.


For your best chance of success, be sure to use official OET practice material, including the free Sample Tests and Practice Books.