Some people find that answering the reading section of various English tests is really challenging. They dislike having to read long articles so closely and then answer difficult questions which seem designed to trip them up. However, preparation for these tests is necessary, and the OET is no different. In this article, we will look at some ways to deal with the new OET reading sub-test, dubbed OET reading 2.0.
Do you know why current OET is also often called OET 2.0? It all happened after September 2018, when OET test format underwent a major change. It was and is still a challenge for all OET candidates, and today we’re going to look at it in detail.
OET Reading 2.0: An Overview
In the OET reading sub-test, you have just one hour to answer all of the questions in the three different parts. Part A will take about fifteen minutes, leaving forty-five minutes to be spent on parts B and C.
The OET reading sub-test is a general one for people of all medical disciplines. It is not tailored to your specific area of medicine, nursing, pharmacy or physiotherapy, and so every OET student will sit the same test. This means that you should prepare for the exam by working on your time management skills, your close reading abilities, and your knowledge of synonyms – which comes in really handy for finding answers in the text.
Reading Part A
For this first part of the exam, you should spend about fifteen minutes answering questions. You will be presented with four short reading passages, and there will be twenty questions given to you. You will need to find the answers to these questions in the texts. The questions you will be asked are the sort of ones that you would be expected to ask patients, and there is nothing specialized that would require in-depth research to know. Rather, the questions and passages are all very general.
To find information here, you should seek keywords from the questions and underline them. Then you can look to the reading passage and search for those keywords. If you cannot find them, then you should look for synonyms of the keywords. These will help you locate the part of the text where the answer is hidden, and then you can work on deducing the answer by reading closely.
The two most important reading skills are called skimming and scanning. Skimming means reading very quickly and getting the gist of the information (that means the main idea), while scanning is about searching for specific answers by looking through to find particular words in the text. Both of these will help you a great deal in this part of the exam.
Typically, you will need to fill in blanks with words from the text, so take a guess at what sort of word would fit logically into the empty space, and then search for it in the text.
Reading Part B
For parts B and C of the OET reading sub-test, the questions are multiple choice ones. In part B, you will be given six passages which all related to medicine. There will be a list of questions and each question will be accompanied by three possible answers from which you can choose the correct one. These will all be related to procedures, injuries, or instructions set in a medical context.
Remember that, as with most reading tests, it is not necessary to understand every word. In fact, even native speakers rarely understand every word of an advanced reading text. However, you should be able to find and choose the correct answer to each of the questions through deductive reasoning. To do this, you should read the question very carefully, search through the text quickly until you locate the answer, and then decide which one of the three options is most likely the right one.
Here, you should be thinking about the general meaning of a sentence or a question rather than the specific words. You will not be able to score highly if you are simply looking for words that match the questions. Instead, you should be looking for ideas that are the same. This takes a lot of practice, but it is not very difficult once you get used to it.
One final piece of advice: Time is really important in the OET reading sub-test and you shouldn’t waste even one minute. If you are struggling with an answer, just give up and move on to the next one. You can always come back to it later if you need to, and even if you can’t find the right answer, you can take an educated guess.
Reading Part C
In OET reading part C, you will find that the passages are now longer and instead of three possible answers, there are now four listed next to each question. This section will have eight questions, and again they will be multiple choice ones. Materials in this part of the exam will come from sources that deal with general health care issues, such as journals and websites. Of course, as this part of the test is open to all candidates, there will be nothing that requires specific knowledge of any particular field of medicine.
In this part of the exam, you will need to be able to show that you can interpret the information in the text and choose between different points of view, and so you should practice being able to concentrate on specific ideas and inferring meaning. You will also be required to comprehend causes and effects, as well as suggestions and comparisons, in order to succeed at this part of the exam.
Finally, there will be two questions asking you about definitions of words that are found within the text. You must locate them and elicit their meaning from the context surrounding them.
So now you know all about the OET reading sub-test 2.0 and what OET reading skills you will need in order to succeed. It is very important to practice these skills often, and you can do this by staying up to date with the latest medical developments by reading medical journals and other related articles. I highly recommend that you engage in active reading rather than passive reading, as this will really help you to take more meaning from each text.