OET Reading Tips To Breeze Through The Test?

If you are a medical professional or a healthcare worker then the chances are that you are familiar with or will have heard of the OET – Occupational English Test. It is the only English language assessment designed to test the English proficiency of professionals from 12 healthcare and medical professions. Just like all the other English language tests, the OET also is divided into four sections – reading, writing. speaking and listening. While the test itself may not be as challenging but answering 4 sections within a limited time can be difficult.  In this article we will discuss tips that will help you ace the reading subtest of the OET.

Let us take a look at its format first. The reading section of the OET is divided into three parts: Part A of the OET is a summary reading task while Parts B and C consist of the careful reading tasks. In parts B and C, the questions include a multiple-choice section based on the two reading passages. You will have only 15 minutes to complete Part A, and 45 minutes to complete Parts B and C, with a total time limit of 60 minutes for the entire reading section. The total number of questions in the section are 42.

So, how can you go about answering this section in an hour and do it right? Well, here are some tips that will help you understand and successfully complete the section.

  1. Underline the text and take notes: As you start reading the texts you should start jotting down notes next to key words and phrases this will help you find the answers quickly and help solve the questions faster. You need to underline facts and important points will help you spot the answers and save you time. This is a tried and tested strategy that never fails and is applicable to any reading comprehension test. 
  2. Don’t leave any questions blank: An important point that you need to remember when attempting the OET is that there is no negative marking in the reading section which means that if you get an answer wrong then you will just receive a zero and not have any marks deducted. Thus, any time you are unsure about a question, answer it anyways, as there is a chance you might be correct and receive the point and if not then you have nothing to lose as you will just get a zero for that question.  
  3. Always read the questions first: It is always a good idea to read the questions before you read the essay texts. That is because once you are familiar with the questions it will guide your reading and help you spot the answers more easily. This will be especially helpful for parts B and C where you have to answer multiple-choice questions. 
  4. Focus on English language comprehension and not the content: While the essay texts will be based on medical texts, hospital guidelines and such it is important to not lose focus and concentrate on completing the questions using your reading comprehension skills. 
  5. Read part A thoroughly and skim parts B and C: While reading part A it is a must that you read it thoroughly as you will have to write a summary on it. However, for parts B and C you must skim through the texts as you are only looking for key words and facts that will help you answer the MCQs. And with the questions arranged in the same order as the sequence of information in the texts it will not require much concentration as in part A.   
  6. Read instructions carefully and check your answers: With a very short time to finish the section you are bound to be in a hurry but remember to read the instructions for the questions carefully as any silly mistake may end up costing you marks. What’s more important is that you double check your answers before submitting your work as there could be spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  7. Lastly, it is important that you practice sample questions for the OET reading test and also practice your reading comprehension skills by reading English language publications such as newspapers and magazines and educational articles. But read with purpose and try to understand the meaning of the text as this will help you draft your summary and improve your overall ability to answer the reading section.

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