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Format of the Test
OET Reading is the same for all health professions. It’s the 2nd test of the day, to be completed in 60 minutes.
The test is divided into 3 parts – A, B, and C. Each part has a different testing focus. Each question has equal weightage, adding up to a maximum score of 42.
|Part A||Part B||Part C|
|Consists of 4 short texts and 20 questions (including matching, gap-fill, short answers).||Consists of 6 short texts of 100-150 words each, and 6 multiple-choice questions (1 per text).||Consists of 2 long texts of 750-850 words each, and 16 multiple-choice questions (8 per text).|
|Complete in 15 minutes.||45 minutes for Part B and C, taken together.|
|Type of Texts: workplace texts – treatment protocols, medication info, treatment parts, diagnosis tools||Type of Texts: workplace communication between colleagues – updates, policy documents, memos/emails, guidelines||Type of Texts: Long articles on general healthcare topics|
|Testing Focus: skimming and scanning texts in English||Testing Focus: reading for gist, purpose, main points and detail||Testing Focus: reading for inference, attitude and opinion|
Tips for Preparation
- Practice reading for details: Read similar texts from your own workplace.
- Increase amount of English you are skimming and scanning: Set device controls to English, read timetables and menus in English, and use an English-to-English dictionary while studying.
- Play word searches to improve scanning skills: Train your brain to scan all over the text, instead of only from start to finish, in order. Notice what makes some words different from others – like unusual letters e.g. x, z, double letters e.g. ss, pp, unusual letter combinations e.g. ph, ua. When you learn to scan for these features, you train your eyes to find words more quickly.
- Practice tests: Read questions carefully – one part of the question provides you with the type of information you need to look for, while another part provides useful details to help locate that information.
- Practice reading for the main idea in English: Read similar texts at your own workplace. You can also read online articles, and the type of pamphlets you would find in clinic waiting rooms.
- Practice reading for gist: Read section by section. Pause after each to decide the main point.
- Practice tests: For each question, a context statement is provided at the start to give you its purpose. Read the answer-options carefully – pay attention to the differences between the options, to identify the correct answer. Read all the texts carefully to check whether an option is correct or incorrect – notice evidence that proves other options wrong e.g. things not mentioned or mentioned differently.
- Practice reading for the writer’s perspective in English: Read texts that are opinionated rather than factual, such as journals from your professional regulatory body, or review articles on recent research papers.
- Practice reading long texts: Train your brain to concentrate for longer, and develop strategies to deal with unfamiliar words. Avoid using a dictionary; instead underline the word, guess its meaning, and check at the end if you are correct. Record useful words in a vocabulary notebook, and aim to learn 6-8 per day.
- Practice tests: While reading the text and answer-options, you won’t need to know the definition of each word, but must be able to understand the meaning of the words in a sentence.
How to Handle Test-Day
Use these strategies to tackle each part of OET Reading.
- Glance at all 4 texts at the start to understand the topics.
- Complete the sections in order.
- Copy answers accurately. You can use the words directly from the text. You’ll be penalised for spelling mistakes.
- Manage your time well. Don’t be too worried about time. If a question is hard, skip it for now and return to it later.
- Understand the type and purpose of each text.
- Read the answer-options carefully.
- Check the texts carefully for the answers. You need to find evidence for why an option is correct.
- Manage your time well. Leave about 35 mins for part C.
- Progress through the texts from start to finish, and answer questions in order. Read them carefully.
- Approach each question individually, not in relation to the others.
- Manage your time well. Make sure you have enough time for each text, as well as to return to unanswered questions at the end.
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