Studying for the OET: Using audio-visual content

When preparing for an exam such as the OET, it’s natural that the first thing you will think to do is to complete practice papers, it’s likely that you will also attend classes, maybe you will read articles such as this one so that you can deepen your knowledge of the exam and learn useful techniques.  In the technology age that we are now in, however, there is another option that exists: audio-visual content. 

This is content such as podcasts (both audio and video), recorded classes, radio content, and even self-recordings.  It’s important that as students you use this content as scientific studies have shown that 86% of learners have a preference for learning styles which involve either or both auditory and visual learning (source), this means learning in a context which involves listening to and or watching content. 

Studies also show that we tend to remember information much more successfully when we are stimulated and engaged, so it is important that we take advantage of information and study which has been adapted to suit our preferred learning styles.  So let’s explore some of these different approaches to audio-visual learning to see how they can help you achieve your OET goals.

1. OET podcasts

Sometimes you’re just not able to make sense of the information you need and it’s time to take a different approach to your learning.  OET podcasts are created and presented by OET teachers.  They are designed to explore elements of the OET exam in detail.  They will involve a conversation between OET teachers on particular points of the OET test and they will provide advice on how to improve in specific areas. 

At Swoosh English we provide video podcasts which are designed as an engaging and entertaining way to study and as they combine the vast majority of learners’ favourite learning styles (both auditory and visual learning), they will no doubt be more enjoyable than spending all of your time just reading information.  The podcasts range in length from 20 mins up to half an hour so there is also the chance to go deeper in terms of really learning about the exam from experienced, knowledgeable OET professionals in an atmosphere that is both relaxed and stimulating. 

If there are any points that you are unsure about when you listen to the podcast, you have the additional advantage of being able to replay sections in order to go over a specific point as many times as you like.  Additionally, since these podcasts are all recorded in English, you are essentially engaging in useful listening practice while learning about the exam.  As a result, listening to these podcasts is a great way to train your ear and to get used to different accents in English. 

In this way, auditory learning can combine many useful elements of preparing for and improving your OET exam performance.  Give one of our podcasts a try now, here is a podcast based on particularly important elements of the OET writing test.  Let us know in the comments section of the video what you have learned.

2. Recorded classes

Another way to benefit from audio-visual learning in your preparation for the OET exam is to watch recorded classes.  Recorded classes are designed to help OET students learn and develop skills related to the OET test.  They involve genuine input from OET students so you can engage with and benefit from a real learning environment.  There are many questions that you will have as an OET student and there will be even more questions that you have not even thought to ask. 

Watching a recorded class such as this one important element of the OET speaking test will provide you with both valuable knowledge about an aspect of the OET exam and it will also allow you to see lots of questions from OET students get answered in a live environment.  Again, there is the benefit of being able to practise your listening by being exposed to a native English speaker while engaging in a form of study which will be more stimulating and memorable than many more traditional approaches.

3. Radio content

In order to prepare for the OET listening exam, it is recommended by the creators of the OET that you listen to plenty of radio content.  This is because the listening sections of the OET are based on natural, realistic content and a range of accents the like of which you will hear in programmes such as this documentary from the ABC news series “All in the Mind”.  The benefit of listening to clips like this is not limited to the fact that it provides listening practice, there’s also the fact that you can listen to medical topics which are relevant to the OET exam and then there is the additional advantage that the programmes are produced in such a way as to be both informative and entertaining. 

As you are all medical professionals, you will likely find information relating to advances in the medical field to be of interest, and, as I mentioned earlier, we tend to learn more when we are interested in both what and the way we are learning.

4. Self-recordings

A final way of benefiting from auditory learning that I’ll cover here is the information you can learn from your own mouth.  As an OET teacher, I have often recommended students to record themselves performing an OET speaking task and to then listen back to their recording to see if they can detect particular moments of strength and weakness.  This could focus on an element of pronunciation or word choice or appropriacy or any other element of the OET speaking exam.  Listening back to your own content allows you to learn from your own strengths and weaknesses and helps you to become a more independent learner. 

There are many things we do well and not so well when speaking a foreign language which are hard for us to recognise when we are just speaking in the moment.  Listening to ourselves helps us to become more reflective on how we can improve.  If you can learn from others, then you can also learn from yourself.

So, make it your goal to include much more audio-visual learning in your OET exam preparations.  For much more audio-visual content, simply go to www.swooshenglish.com.

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