June 20, 2024
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OET OET Study Guides and Tips

7 OET Reading Tips for Accomplishing Success

oet reading tips

The OET Reading Test has three parts, each checking important skills needed by healthcare workers. To do well, you need different strategies for each part. Feeling confused? Your reading approach might be the problem. Here’s a complete list of OET Reading Tips for mastering every aspect of the OET Reading sub-test, packed with detailed explanations and extra tips:

7 OET Reading Tips

Part A: Precision is Paramount

This section tests your ability to quickly read four passages and find specific details about patient care. You can copy the answers directly from the text, but be careful not to make mistakes. Here are some tips to avoid losing points due to carelessness:

OET Reading Tips #1: Accuracy is key from the beginning

Make sure your writing is easy to read and organized during the test. Even small mistakes, like messy handwriting or misspelt words, can cost you points. Practice writing neatly and quickly under pressure to improve this important skill. Consider using block letters to make your writing clearer.

OET Reading Tips #2: Sharpen your keyword skills

Read the question carefully and find the keywords or phrases that tell you what information you need. Use these keywords to find the relevant passage; don’t waste time reading all four passages closely. Once you find the most likely passage, scan it quickly for synonyms or the exact phrase that answers the question. Remember, you only need the answer itself; don’t copy extra words or repeat parts of the question. This wastes time and might lead to mistakes if you accidentally copy unnecessary information.

Pro Tip: Highlighting key terms in the question can help you focus on important details when reading the passages. Underlining or circling the keywords acts as a memory jog as you switch between the question and the text selections. This will help you zero in on relevant information more quickly.

Part B: Ascertaining the Core Message Beyond Keywords

Part B tests how well you understand the main ideas in short work documents, like patient information sheets, appointment reminders, or hospital discharge instructions. To find the best answer, you need to understand the whole message, not just focus on keywords.

OET Reading Tips #3: Double-check your answer to make sure it perfectly matches the question.

Check your answer carefully to make sure it matches the passage perfectly. Don’t just look for keywords; the whole answer should capture the main idea of the text. Ask yourself, “Does this answer really explain what the passage is about?”

OET Reading Tips #4: Stick to the text and do not make assumptions

Stick to the information in the passage itself to answer the question. Don’t use what you already know about a medical condition or treatment, even if an answer seems generally true. The right answer should be clearly supported by details in the passage itself. Don’t be fooled by an answer that sounds good but isn’t mentioned in the text.

Pro Tip: Sometimes, Part B questions ask you to find the answer that doesn’t fit. Read all the answer choices carefully and cross out any that don’t match the main idea of the passage. The answer that’s left, even if it seems less obvious at first, will be the one that best captures the key point of the text.

Part C: Deciphering the Author’s Perspective Demands Nuanced Analysis

Part C goes a step further and tests your ability to understand the author’s opinion on a general healthcare issue. Authors often sneak in their point of view using sneaky language tricks, like using descriptive words (adjectives) and words that show how strongly they feel (adverbs), to influence how you see things. Here’s how to become an expert at figuring out the author’s opinion:

OET Reading Tips #5: Look for hidden clues—adjectives and Adverbs

For Part C questions about the author’s opinion, look for descriptive words (adjectives) and words showing intensity (adverbs) in the answer choices. Do these words make the topic sound good, bad, or neutral? Remember, the author’s opinion is different from what other people might think. Look for phrases that show the author supports something (“effective treatment”), disagrees with something (“outdated approach”), or stays neutral (“controversial debate”).

OET Reading Tips #6: Test your answer by putting your answer choice back in the question

Not sure about your answer? Try putting it back in the question where the underlined phrase is. If the sentence still makes sense, you’re probably on the right track. This trick checks if your answer truly reflects what the author meant to say.

OET Reading Tips #7: Reflect on Your Reading: Spot Your Weaknesses

Are you struggling with vocabulary, reading speed, focus, or topic interest? Identifying the root cause empowers you to address the issue effectively. If unfamiliar vocabulary is a hurdle, consider building your medical terminology through flashcards or spaced repetition apps. If reading speed is the culprit, practice gradually increasing your pace while maintaining comprehension.


In conclusion, mastering the OET Reading sub-test is essential for healthcare professionals aiming to excel in their careers. By implementing the OET reading tips outlined in this guide, candidates can enhance their reading strategies and improve their performance in each segment of the test. From prioritizing accuracy and developing keyword spotting techniques to deciphering the writer’s perspective, these strategies provide a comprehensive approach to conquering the challenges posed by the OET Reading sub-test.

Remember, success in the OET Reading sub-test requires more than just a basic understanding of the text—it demands precision, critical thinking, and the ability to discern nuanced meanings. By incorporating these tips into your study routine and practicing diligently, you can boost your confidence and maximize your chances of achieving a high score in the OET Reading sub-test.

So, whether you’re a nurse seeking to further your career prospects or a healthcare professional aiming to relocate and work in an English-speaking country, mastering the OET Reading sub-test is a crucial step towards achieving your goals. With dedication, practice, and the right approach, you can overcome any challenge and emerge victorious in your OET reading endeavours.

Good luck!

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