OET Reading: The Complete Guide


18 Dec, 2019

About This OET Reading Guide


At Swoosh English we care deeply about our students and we want nothing more than for you to achieve your goals.  To read and answer questions on lots of different texts under exam conditions can be stressful and confusingIn the OET Reading exam, not only are you faced with the challenge of getting the answers correct. But you have to do this within strict time limits.
 Staying focused and avoiding panic are easy things to recommend but not always so easy to do in practice.  But, with the right approach and strategies, you will have every reason to walk into the OET reading exam with confidence and composure.  This guide will give you the vital information you need to help you become an expert OET reader. And help you to achieve the results for your career dreams.

What is the OET Reading Test?


The OET reading test is a test of English designed for medical professionals.  Unlike the OET Writing and OET Speaking, It is not designed for medical professionals from a specific medical background.
It’s a test that is designed to relate to medical professionals’ experience both inside and outside the workplace more generally. The exam, in total, will last for 60 minutes and it is divided into three sections. 
Section A is the shortest, it lasts for 15 minutes and involves four short texts all related to a specific medical area
During this time you must answer 20 questions which are worth one mark each.
The questions will be split into three sections of between six to seven items with three different question types.
First, you will have to complete a set of matching questions where you have to match each question with one of the four texts. Next, you will have a set of both gap-fill and short answer questions. Both of which will require you to write between one to three words. 
It is important that you answer the questions for part A within 15 minutes. Because the paper will be taken away once this time has passed. Once the invigilator collects section A letters, they will present you with sections B and C. 
You will have 45 minutes to answer the questions for both of these sections. There are 22 of them in total and each is worth one mark. 
Section B is comprised of six three-option multiple choice questions with a short text to go with each question
Each text is based on the sort of material that you would expect to find in a workplace setting. For example, a notice, a section from a training manual or a work email. 
Section C is made up of two longer texts and 16 four-option multiple-choice questions with eight of the questions relating to each text.  The texts are more academic in nature and are based on areas of recent medical research.



What to do to prepare before the OET Reading Test


Get familiar with the exam


The first step to take is to make sure you are familiar with what you will be required to do.
The last thing you want to experience in any test is confusion over instructions. Or surprise over unexpected question types, so ensure that you are clear about the format and procedure of the exam. Read the section above and analyse a copy of the test as many times is a good idea.

Assess your level


It’s important that you are able to assess your current level. So you can see how close you are to achieving a B or above in OET reading. 
The most effective way of doing this is to take the Swoosh English OET Reading Readiness Test. With this you will have the opportunity to do a shortened version of the OET test to get direct feedback on your current level.  Click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out more information about this.

Get plenty of reading practice


Once you have found out your current level, you will know how much practice you will need to do to be ready to take the test. One form of practice should come with doing OET mock reading tests so that you get plenty of exposure to the exam format. And you can also track your progress each time you do so. 
Reliable mock reading tests can be hard to find. But at Swoosh English we will be able to provide you with plenty of such practice, just click on the following link. 
Your reading practice should not be limited to doing OET tests though. You should also take the opportunity to read as much English as possible. This includes medical journals, websites, newspaper articles and any other reading content you can find. Particularly those centered around medicine and health.  
Some recommended reading resources are the ABC health newsletter and the British Medical Journal
These resources can be accessed online and they provide a regular stream of articles on topical medical issues. (find the links to these websites included below).

Get direction from a qualified OET English teacher


Linked to reading practice is the need to develop the specific reading strategies you will need to complete the exam
These strategies include: reading for gist, for specific information, to detect opinion, to detect meaning from context and to recognise features of cohesion.
As it can be difficult to make sense of and operationalise these strategies alone. We recommended that you contact one of our qualified OET English teachers.
They will organise lessons with you to focus on developing your reading skills. And they will be able to set you questions which will give you practice. To help you to develop your ability to use these key reading strategies. 
A qualified OET teacher will also be able to advise you on when you are truly ready to take the exam. That way you will not waste vital time and money sitting the exam too soon.  Follow this link to contact a Swoosh OET teacher now.