OET READING TIPS | MAKS BELA- Ambattur, Chennai
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OET READING TIPS

Reading Sub-test Overview

Part

Task

Question Type

Duration

Marks

Part A

Fast reading of four text

Short answer, matching, sentence completion.

15 Min

20

Part B

Six workplace extracts

Three-option Multiple choices

45 Min

6

Part C

Two comprehensive extract from medical professional journals

Four –option Multiple choices

16

In OET Reading usually consist of three sections where Part A is a timed task, remember that the challenge comes from being able to find the information quickly.

  • The questions themselves won’t require you to do more than finding a specific piece of information, so don’t worry even if you see complicated tables, charts, and graphs. 
  • When you’re doing the matching task, pay special attention to the titles of the texts because they will give you clues about the purpose of the texts which, in turn, will help you answer the questions in the later sections. 
  • Don’t spend too much time on one question if you can’t find the answer to it. You may come across it later when scanning for other answers. Note that the questions don’t follow the order of the texts.
  • Take care to record your answers correctly. You should use the same form of the word or short phrase as given in the four texts and check that you’ve spelled it correctly. Once you’ve added the answer to the sentence completion question, re-read the whole sentence to ensure it makes grammatical sense.
  • Don’t rely on any previous medical knowledge you may have on the topic. The sub-task is focused on language and not knowledge, so the answer will always be given in the text. If you rely on your knowledge to answer the question, you may get it wrong and lose marks in the test. 

Part A:Fast reading Technique

  • You read four short workplace texts which you would typically encounter while treating patients in a medical setting, such as dosage charts, instructions on how to administer medication, or advice to give patients. 
  • One of these includes visual or numerical information. Part A tests your ability to skim different texts and extract key information. 
  • There is a total of 20 questions to answer in 15 minutes, so you need to be efficient. You may be presented with matching exercises, sentence completion tasks or short answer (one-word or short phrase) questions.
  • You need to write all your answers in a separate question paper booklet for Part A which is collected at the end of the 15 minutes. 
  • You need to use this allocated time for Part A efficiently as you won’t get an opportunity to check your answers for this part later in the test.
  • The questions assess your ability to locate’ information for a purpose, just like you would do as a healthcare professional.

Types of Questions  in Part A: 

  1. matching questions
  2. short answer questions
  3. sentence completion or note completion 

TIPS for OET Matching questions 

When you read something, you may not necessarily read every single word. This may be because you are looking for something specific in the text to help you complete a task, and therefore don’t need every word to get this information. 

If you want to find a piece of information, the first thing you probably ask yourself isWhere can I find this? Then, when you access different reference materials on the specific problem, you look at them quickly to see which one contains the information you’re looking for. 

The matching questions test whether you can identify where to look if you need to find some specific information. These questions are always at the beginning of Reading Part A because they can help you in answering the later questions. 

Reference materials like dosage charts, treatment pathways and so on, are also written in a way that makes it easy for readers to get the information they want efficiently. For example, they may have bullet points, tables, graphs, smaller paragraphs or pictures. Use these to locate the needed information. You can get an idea of what the reference materials are about by glancing through

  • titles of the texts 
  • headings and sub-headings within the text 
  • picture labels or diagrams 
  • words formatted in bold or italics 

You should also run your eyes over the texts, allowing them to fall on any words that stand out to you. When you’re searching for answers to the matching task questions, you don’t need to read every word because the matching questions aren’t focused on details. Instead, they assess if you’re able to identify where you can find the information you’re looking for. 

TIPS for OET Short answer and sentence/note completion questions

Once you’ve located the information, the next step is to begin looking for the piece of information in the correct section

After finishing the matching questions, you know this sort of information is in which text so you can search for the information there. 

Rather than starting at the beginning and reading the information in order, you can look across the section to find something with the help of keywords.

It is important to rely on the texts, not your medical knowledge, to answer the questions. 

You shouldn’t worry if the topic seems unfamiliar. The focus is still finding information, but you need to read more carefully to answer short answer and sentence/note completion questions. However, by the time you begin answering these questions, you become more familiar with the four sources of information. 

Follow these steps to answer short answer and sentence/note completion questions. 

  • Read the question carefully. You may choose to underline a word or phrase from the question if you feel this helps you, but always make sure you understand the meaning of the question.
  • Understand what kind of information the question is asking you to find. For example, you may need to look for a particular type of medication or possible adverse reaction to the medication.
  • Find the relevant section where the information is likely to be.
  • Read the surrounding text to see if it answers the question.

Format of Reading Part B. 

In your work as a healthcare professional, you often need to read a lot of workplace communication like guidelines, manuals, emails, memos and policy documents. The purpose of this communication is to help you work according to the standards of an organization and to understand changes and updates to existing work requirements. 

 Part B is focused on workplace communication and assesses a  range of reading skills, particularly your ability to recognize the main message, purpose, and details of workplace communication.

In Reading Part B, you read extracts from different types of workplace communication used by an organization to convey information to its employees. 

 Each question in Part B has a different focus, like understanding the purpose, the main message or important details of a piece of communication.

Part B questions are in a multiple-choice format with three answer options but only one correct answer. 

Part B questions could ask you to identify: 

  • what a notice on feeding tubes says about staff authorized to change these tubes 
  • what an administrative guideline on blood administration says about staff training 
  • the purpose of an email about the safe use of opioids 
  • what to do when seeking consent for a post-mortem examination 
  • what a memo reminds staff to do when using bed rails

You need to understand what the question is asking you to do. They are usually related to how you would read in real life; for example, if there’s an email about a change in pre-operative procedure, you read quickly to see what it is about and if it applies to you. 

There are six extracts, each about 100–140 words. These may be complete extracts, for example, an email on a change in policy, or a part of a longer piece, like a policy on patient safety. 

The six questions are in a three-option multiple-choice format. Each question carries one mark. To answer, you need to shade the circle next to the option you believe is correct. 

In total, Reading Part B has six marks. The total time for both Parts B and C is 45 minutes, so you need to manage your time effectively. 

Part C has more questions than Part B, so you need to leave more time to answer

Use the context given in the extract and the question before deciding on your answer. Once you read the extract with the context in mind, you’ll be able to focus on its meaning, rather than approach it as a question in isolation. 

 It’s important to practice reading such documents so you’re familiar with their purpose and language. Workplace communication contains specific verbs that carry small differences in meaning. It’s important to pay attention to these words when reading extracts and answer options because they can help you better understand the meaning of the text or the question.

Similarly, answer options in Part B questions may also contain verbs that could help you understand what the question is asking. Look at a small extract of an email to nurses in charge of operating rooms, and an example question.

Format of Reading Part C

Reading Part C contains two articles that are about 800 words long and not related to a specific medical profession. 

The questions test a range of reading skills, including recognizing opinion, identifying the writer’s attitude and understanding the main points of a text. 

For each article, you need to answer eight multiple-choice questions with four options to choose from. 

Each question carries one mark, and there is a total of 16 marks for Part C. 

The questions follow the sequence of the paragraphs in the article and there is typically one question per paragraph. 

You have a total of 45 minutes to answer both Parts B and C, so you must use your time efficiently.

How long you spend on Part C depends on your abilities and you can improve your reading time if you practice. 

To indicate your chosen answer to a question, you have to shade the circle next to the option you believe is correct.

Part C questions.

 You will be given some background on the context question which will help you understand its setting. Take time to understand the context before reading the extract and answering the question. A good strategy is to focus on the meaning of the extract and what the question is asking you to do. 

To do this, ask yourself:

  • What kind of extract is this and who are the intended readers? 
  • Why would the readers need to read this sort of communication? 
  • What is the question asking me to do? 

Use the context given in the extract and the question before deciding on your answer. Once you read the extract with the context in mind, you’ll be able to focus on its meaning, rather than approach it as a question in isolation. 

 It’s important to practice reading such documents so you’re familiar with their purpose and language. Workplace communication contains specific verbs that carry small differences in meaning. It’s important to pay attention to these words when reading extracts and answer options because they can help you better understand the meaning of the text or the question.

These articles are usually based on research or reviews and feature different ideas and opinions on a medical topic. They could also contain different views on how research affects treatment, the management of medical conditions, or a discussion of the experience of a patient or healthcare professional. you will have noticed that the writers don’t try to convince readers about a single opinion, but present different points of view on the topic. In the article, writers keep their paragraphs very focused and each paragraph carries an important message or opinion that they want to communicate. 

This is the focus of Reading Part C- your ability to recognize opinion, attitude and main points. 

Opinion and attitude questions 

Difference between facts and opinions 

A very important first step in reading Part C articles is to learn to recognize the difference between facts and opinions.

Facts are based on research, can be verified and are not open to debate, whereas opinions are an individual’s point of view on a topic.                                              

One way to tell the difference between fact and opinion is to pay close attention to the language used by the author. Look at the below examples to see how verbs can be used to introduce facts and opinions. 

Facts

Opinions

Facts are statements supported by evidence

Opinions are views which may or may not be supported by evidence

Example :

The review confirms….

The study found….

Scientists discovered….

Example :

The hospital claims that…

Professor Collins believes…

Researchers think it could be….

.

A writer might present a fact or an opinion to suggest something rather than mentioning it directly in the article. You need to actively think about a writer’s attitude to understand what they may be suggesting. Some questions in Reading Part C assess your ability to do this. 

Questions about a writer’s purpose 

A writer may also report facts or opinions for a specific reason; such as: 

  • to show agreement between findings 
  • to present contradictory findings 
  • to discuss limitations of a study
  • to highlight a specific issue or problem 
  • to support an idea in the text 
  • to contrast an idea in the text 
  • to explain the impact 

This is not a comprehensive list, so you’ll need to practice the skill of recognizing why a writer has chosen to present a view or a fact. 

Remember that each article is different, so the more you practice this skill, the better you’ll get at it. While there are phrases that can give you clues about what the writer’s purpose is, you must read carefully to fully understand the writer’s objective. 

Main idea questions 

In Part C, however, the purpose of reading is to understand the meaning of whole paragraphs rather than using words to find answers within short parts of the text. Summarizing ideas will help you focus on understanding the meaning of whole paragraphs 

Vocabulary and reference questions

Two of the eight questions for each article may test your ability to understand vocabulary in context or reference. Vocabulary questions have to do with the way a word or phrase is used while reference questions are about what a word or phrase refers to in the article. 

With vocabulary questions, you need to understand the meaning of the surrounding sentences to know why the writer has chosen to use that word or phrase. 

The words and expressions used to explain the ideas are not medical words. 

This is not a test of your vocabulary so even if you do not understand a particular word or phrase, you can still answer the question correctly if you understand how the writer uses it.

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