Use of Synonyms and Antonyms in OET

The use of synonyms and antonyms is mostly found in the OET reading sub-test. Yes, the content of the test will have synonyms and antonyms. You can’t expect to find the same words or the phrases in the text given that you may get in the question. Generally, students look at the keywords in the passage that they take from the questions but they do not know that the words or phrases are rephrased. And exact words or sentences are never given. So, this brings us to learn more about the words that are similar in meaning and the words that are opposite in meaning. 

What are synonyms?

It is a word or a phrase that will give exactly the same meaning as that of the other word. Or at least the meaning will be much closer to it. 

For instance, the synonyms for the word “Medical” are as follows:

  • Medicinal
  • Therapeutic 
  • Curative
  • Pharmaceutical 

Synonyms for the word “Test” are as follows:

  • Evaluation 
  • Analysis 
  • Assessment 
  • Inquiry 
  • Inspection 
  • Check 
  • Investigation 

Of course, some of the words may not have exactly the same meaning. But, they are closely related. And you will have to be very careful when you use other alternatives that are there for the given word as a synonym. 

What are antonyms?

Antonym is a word or a phrase that is opposite in meaning to another word or a phrase. 

For example:

Positive - Negative (other similar words may include indefinite, vague, doubtful, etc.
Good - Bad (inferior, poor, unacceptable, etc).  

Exercise 1 

Can you provide antonyms of the following words?

  • Improve 
  • Healthy 
  • Acute  
  • Back  
  • Dead 
  • Reduce 
  • Smooth 
  • Major 
  • Benign 

Exercise 2 

Given below are some words. You will have to use their opposites to fill out the gap. But,the opposite of the given words can be a noun, adjective or even verb. 

something, minor, underweight, deteriorating, close, depart, front, chronic, decrease, disappear. 

  1. The hospital is …………  to visitors from April 2020. 
  2. The doctor didn’t …………. and the patient died. 
  3. There seems to be ……….., you are absolutely healthy. 
  4. She had to undergo a ………. heart surgery.   
  5. Her hands were rough from ……. work. 
  6. She was ill but she began to show signs of ……..
  7. We find calf muscles at the………. of the lower leg.
  8. The patient had an ………. attack of shingles.
  9. He became so excited that his pulse rate ……..
  10. The doctor said that the tumor is malignant and it may……...even if it is removed surgically.

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Exercise 1 

Deteriorate, Ill, Chronic, Front, Alive, Increase, Rough, Minor, Malignant

Exercise 2 

Open, arrive, nothing, major, heavy, improvement, back, acute, increased,  reappear     


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