Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tips for Improving Listening Skills for the OET Exam

The listening test of the OET exam is one of the sections of the exam that can be more easily improved upon if you dedicate time to improving your listening skills.  I have compiled a number of tips that have significantly helped my students improve their score in this section of the exam.

1. Familiarise yourself with different areas of medicine/health. Many students struggle in the listening section when they come across topics which they are not familiar with for example maternal/neonatal health, dentistry, occupational medicine etc. To help improve your listening mark it is important that you:

Learn about the name for each of the different specialties in medicine and read a little bit about what each involves eg

  • ENT – Ear/nose and throat surgeons
  • Endocrinologist – Physicians involved in treating/diagnosing hormonal problems
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology – Surgeons/physicians involved in the pre/peri/post-natal care of mothers and their babies. Learn the terminology around menstruation and pregnancy
  • Cardiologist – treats heart disease
  • Anaestheologist – treats chronic pain syndromes; administers anesthesia and monitors the patient during surgery
  • Nephrologist  – treats kidney disease
  • Oncologist – treats cancer
  • Ophthalmologist – treats eye injuries, defects and diseases
  • Gastroenterologist – treats stomach disorders and disease
  • Podiatrist – treats and manages disorders of the foot*
  • Paediatrician – treats infants, toddlers, children and teenagers*


*People often mix up these two specialties but they are very different so watch out for this

The list goes on. The most important point is to learn some of the common terminology used in each profession such that if you were given a conversation to listen to between an Opthalmologist and a patient you would be familiar with the most basic terms.

2. Once you have familiarized yourself with these areas of medical specialty start listening to health blogs and summarising what you hear as you listen. The best way to improve listening is to practice listening to similar health material either on youtube, or look for TED talks or interviews. Whilst you listen, pause the recording and summarise/re-write everything you heard.

If you improve your knowledge base in regards to the topics that the listening section may use and then improve your listening skills by doing the above exercise you will undoubtedly improve your score.

Hope you find this helpful and good luck!

Nadishi Athulathmudali, OET Tutor.

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing (including weekly essays on a variety of topics for Intermediate 1), interacting and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups or by oneself. The learning includes the language and cultural skills used in travelling in Japan and general understanding on Japanese culture. Speaking practice japanese coursesometimes used the pictures, concepts or topics from the brochures of the Japan National Tourism Organizations, Japanese newspapers, its ads, Nichigo Press, Daily Telegraph etc.

During Nov. and Dec. ’15, I was extremely busy with interpreting some people (including the CEO and executives) of a Japanese big corporation that held its large, symbolic and happy Event with its 1700 delighted participants of the Japanese and non-Japanese origins at the Opera House in mid-November. Virtually all the participants were so well dressed for the honorable and symbolic Day. Some women there were wearing gorgeous kimono and it was absolutely fascinating to see the big excited crowd! Also I worked for follow-up transcription, translation works related to the above Event and for a Japanese restaurant, Japanese Calligraphy writing (all the above were SLS’ assignments). And I missed writing the Blog of last month. So, this Blog includes some of the things concerned with teaching last Nov..

Regarding Beginners 2, at the end of last year/month, the class finished all of Unit 3, Japanese for Busy People, Book 2 (including the exercises from its Workbook). For script learning, they have begun learning Kanji with use of the sections of Kanji learning of the book. They have been taught conjugations of verbs, e.g. polite forms and plain forms and –te forms. They also learned Japanese dialogues and well used vocab with use of Real Life Japanese + cd (by C. Dibble & S. Matsumoto, 2001, UNICOM. They liked the materials. They submitted homework diligently and had a dialogue making/orally presenting session in which they performed well.

Regarding two tutorial students, the student, who is a busy company executive, has been studying late Unit 3 of Japanese for Busy Japanese, Book 2. He also studied verb conjugations and adjective conjugations (both na-adjectives and i-adjective). Another tutorial student has almost finished Unit 9, Genki: Book 1. She has completed learning verb conjugations and adjective conjugations. She is interested in taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and with her request, we began working with the book for the preparation of the Test recently. For her lessons too, I sometimes use the series of Real Life Japanese + cd (by C. Dibble & S. Matsumoto, 2001, UNICOM).

As for recent news and reports on Japan, I informed most of the following in my lessons.

NHK TV News reported (17.12.15, SBS TV) that the number of international tourists to Japan reached the highest in Japanese history. That is, approximately 17.96 million people visited Japan. The government agency concerned was expecting the number would reach 19 million by the end of ’15. The country of the largest number of the visitors to Japan is China, followed by South Korea and Taiwan.

This article is from a bit old, Japanese newspaper, but the report is inspiring and important for many senses for Japan and the international community, so I give the info here (also I talked about this in my lessons). It is from Nikkei Newspaper (Nihon-keizai-shimbun), 21.10.15, evening paper, p.1, “Oogata-mujinki –o sangyooriyoo”. The article is about the innovation of the Japanese government (including local ones) and commercial sector together for the development and facilitation of unman aerial vehicles (UAV) for a variety of use domestically and internationally. An UAV is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. The flight of UAVs may be managed autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle (www.Wikipedia).

The following details are all from the article of the above Nikkei Newspaper.                       The Japanese government and some commercial sectors have embarked the upgrading the regulations, law and transport system to implement the use of UAV and facilitating R&D, factories etc to manufacture UAV and its parts for the new products of the future. The Japanese aircraft of the UAV includes a large jet of 10 metres’ length. Currently such a large jet of UAV is unseen in other countries unless it is for military use, according to the above newspaper.  

The United Nations’ agency, ICAO accepts the flights of civilian UAVs in the air like conventional civilian aircrafts (manned aerial vehicles), by the international law from 2019.

(In the above newspaper reports,) A Japanese survey company predicts the sales of UAVs will continuously rise and by 2022, the domestic market will reach ¥40 billion (yonhyaku-oku-en). The US survey group estimates the global market of UAVs (including those of military use) will reach the level of $6.4 billion in 2014 and $11.5 billion (i.e. 1.8 times increase) in 2024.

In current Japanese technology and use of UAVs, there are mainly 3 kinds of UAVs. That is, drones of small sizes, helicopters for agriculture and ones for military use. Some UAVs will be used to distribute medicines to aged people who live in towns where medical clinics are rare; some will take foods to people who live in remote islands.

Regarding other merits of use of a big UAV, the newspaper reports the following. A navigator on the land controls the UAV, being very far away from the craft. There is no need to maintain the oxygen and air pressure level inside of the UAV. That is different from conventional crafts. Likewise, some facilities, e.g. toilets, are unnecessary for UAV. So, time to be taken and distances to be flown by an UVA can be longer with less costs.

As another article of the above mentioned newspaper (p. 29), I found an interesting article of the interview with the President of Kyoto University, Professor Juichi Yamagiwa. Kyoto University is one of the most competitive (to be enrolled) and national university and it has a great high regard from the public.

As for the tertiary education in Japan, according to www.wikipedia, for the number of universities in Japan, as the data of the year 2010, there are 86 National universities (kokuritsu-daigaku), 96 public ones (kooritsu-daigaku) and 597 ones (shiritsu-daigaku). Though significance of developing/mastering English language skills is officially stressed in many sectors in Japan nowadays, e.g. the Department of Foreign Affairs and multi-nationals in manufacturing industry. The earlier mentioned newspaper reports that the President of Kyoto University says his University will maintain the high standard in research and education in Japanese language. He refers to the high standard in education (esp. higher education), research and last year’s amazing and distinctive success that Japanese 2 scientists received the Nobel Prize. I regard his view and emphasis expressed are understandable and important for Japan and its fundamental strength, wisdom, cultural and linguistic heritage, disciplines, creativity, (internationally well-known) Japanese group-nism, long term vision based society and identity in many ways.


Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson



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