OET Tips and Strategies

Part 1: How to Succeed in Reading Part A of the OET Exam

Part A of the reading section of the OET exam can seem impossible to finish and many students dread this part of the test. Time seems to be everybody’s worst enemy as you only have 15 minutes to complete the section but fear not! I have compiled a number of tips that have significantly helped my students improve their score for Reading Part A:

  1. When you are given the paper do not waste time by trying to read each of the texts. You only have 15 minutes, do not waste time.
  2. Instead read and underline the headings of each text, but more specifically the key words. For example below are four titles of texts on vasectomy and I have underlined the key words:“Vasectomy: a patient’s story

    “A retrospective cohort study of vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer

    “Vasectomy: procedure, cost and effectiveness

    Fact sheet for patients undergoing a vasectomy

    Now that these key words are underlined, it will be easy for you to identify which text you need to skim through to find the answer for each blank space.

  3. Now the key is to try and MATCH each paragraph (with missing words) to one of the four texts. Go to the first paragraph and skim read only as much as you need to be able to identify which text you need to look at to find the answers. Generally each paragraph can be matched to a specific text and most of the answers to the blanks can be found in this text.
  4. However, sometimes one or two of the words you need for a particular paragraph will be in a different text to the one you have used to find most of the answers. Watch out for this and try and identify this as soon as possible so you do not waste time reading the same paragraph.

This concludes Part 1 of How to Succeed in Reading Part A. More tips can be found in Part 2 of How to Succeed in Reading Part A.

Hope you find this helpful and good luck!

Nadishi Athulathmudali, OET Tutor.

 

Tenses in OET Writing – Part 2: Present Tense

Incorrect use of tenses is a common grammatical error that I encounter when I mark the letters that students write in my OET classes. This series of blog posts will provide a simple outline for using the correct tense in your writing. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Part 1, which discussed the simple past tense. This blog will discuss the present tense.

You should use the simple present tense for the following situations in your letter:

  • To describe the patient’s current social background
    • Mr Smith smokes 20 cigarettes and drinks 2 bottles of wine daily.
    • Ms Rollinson is overweight and has a BMI of 27.8.
    • Mr O’Connor lives in Lake Park with his 70-year-old wife, Mary.
  • TO describe anything that occurred during hospitalization that is STILL continuing
    • Mr O’Connor (still) needs assistance with dressing, toileting and transferring.
      • *NOTE: There is no need to include the word ‘still’ in this sentence. However it still makes sense if you do or don’t include it.
    • Ms Simms consumes a low calorie diet in order to maintain her weight.

A particular form of the present tense called the present perfect tense (has/have + past participle) can be used for the following situation:

  • To describe ongoing, CHRONIC CONDITIONS in the patient’s medical background
    • Mr White has had hypertension for 20 years and diabetes since 2000.

I hope this clears up some confusion for students. Use internet resources to revise grammar if there are parts you still don’t understand!

 

Part 1: How to Succeed in Reading Part A of the OET Exam

Part A of the reading section of the OET exam can seem impossible to finish and many students dread this part of the test. Time seems to be everybody’s worst enemy as you only have 15 minutes to complete the section but fear not! I have compiled a number of tips that have significantly helped my students improve their score for Reading Part A:

  1. When you are given the paper do not waste time by trying to read each of the texts. You only have 15 minutes, do not waste time.
  2. Instead read and underline the headings of each text, but more specifically the key words. For example below are four titles of texts on vasectomy and I have underlined the key words:“Vasectomy: a patient’s story

    “A retrospective cohort study of vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer

    “Vasectomy: procedure, cost and effectiveness

    Fact sheet for patients undergoing a vasectomy

    Now that these key words are underlined, it will be easy for you to identify which text you need to skim through to find the answer for each blank space.

  3. Now the key is to try and MATCH each paragraph (with missing words) to one of the four texts. Go to the first paragraph and skim read only as much as you need to be able to identify which text you need to look at to find the answers. Generally each paragraph can be matched to a specific text and most of the answers to the blanks can be found in this text.
  4. However, sometimes one or two of the words you need for a particular paragraph will be in a different text to the one you have used to find most of the answers. Watch out for this and try and identify this as soon as possible so you do not waste time reading the same paragraph.

This concludes Part 1 of How to Succeed in Reading Part A. More tips can be found in Part 2 of How to Succeed in Reading Part A.

Hope you find this helpful and good luck!

Nadishi Athulathmudali, OET Tutor.

 

Tips for Improving Reading at Home

Many of my students struggle to complete either part A or part B of the reading for a

number of reasons. Part A requires you to be able to quickly skim read and pick out key

words that will guide you to the answer, while Part B is a test of your reading

comprehension and will highlight a need to improve general vocabulary and understanding

of the written language. Below are some of my suggestions on how to improve your reading

at home.

1. Get into the habit of reading every day. Whether it is an English novel, the

newspaper or a magazine it is very important to read something every day, or as

regularly as possible to improve your reading speed and comprehension. For the OET

in particular it would be a good idea to read scientific journal articles online from

wites such as Medline, EBSCO and PubMed, or read information on medical websites

such as the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

2. Following on from the above suggestion, when you find a word that you do not

understand while you are reading, copy it down into a book with the dictionary

definition for future reference. I find that a lot of my students miss out on choosing

the correct answer in Reading Part A and B because they come across a word that

forms part of the answer but they do not know what it means. Therefore, it is

extremely important to read regularly and write down new words when you come

across them. To really improve your vocabulary put some time aside in your day to

also revisit the new words you have written down so that you learn them for the

future.

3. Finally be smart about what you read and try to summarise the meaning to test

how well you understand the text. This is an exercise you can do to see how well

you are able to understand what you have read. While you are reading a

book/newspaper/magazine pick a page, or a few paragraphs and read them, then try

to summarise what you have just read either verbally or by writing a small summary.

Hopefully these small tips will help improve your reading skills immensely. Best of luck in the future with the OET!

Nadishi Athulathmudali, OET Teacher

OET Listening Component

As well as listening out for word stress, intonation and specific vocabulary, you will need to familiarise  yourself with the 12 occupations listed in the OET. These are:

Dentistry Pharmacy
 Dietetics  Physiotherapy
 Medicine  Podiatry
 Nursing  Radiography
 Occupational Therapy  Speech Pathology
 Optometry  Veterinary Science

This is important because not only do you need to be aware of subject matter –disease, illness, ailment, procedure etc. you must acquire some basic knowledge of the topics most likely to be discussed. The more familiar you are with any given subject matter, the higher the chance you will recognise occupation specific terminology.

At the beginning of every listening test Part A, they will tell you who will be involved in the discussion. Acquiring some basic knowledge of each occupation simply by reading a page or two on each, will give you not only the confidence you need but will allow you to anticipate what is coming. Remember that at no time are you tested on medical terminology, but being as comfortable and familiar with a topic as possible will certainly be place you in the best possible position.

What to initially read in reading part A.

For reading part A, because you really don’t have much time to waste in 15 minutes, I would advise you to read only a few select things first before attempting to answer the gap fills.

Firstly, read the text stimulus headings, taking note of the key words and what aspect of the overall topic it is covering. For instance, if the entire topic is on vasectomy, then text A may be on the associated risks of prostate cancer in those who have undergone vasectomy, text B may be on the incidence of vasectomy over age and years, text C on the complications of vasectomy and it’s reversibility, text D on the reversibility of vasectomy. By noting this, when in the question it mentions vasectomy reversal, you can be aware to refer to either text C or D for the answer.

Furthermore, as the question passage is of a reporting form, it will often refer to the sources from which it is drawing information from before going onto speak about its content. Therefore, these will be cues for you to know which text to locate your answer. It is important to take note not only of the headings but also what text type it is. For example, is it a study, a research abstract, a literature review, a case study, a statistic, a newspaper journal, a report, a Q&A patient brochure etc? So in the question sheet it might say “according to a case study performed…” and if you had noted that text B was a case study then you can refer to that text to scan for the answer.

I think you get the idea so I will list the features to look out for before you begin attempting to answer the questions from Part A reading.

  1. Heading: and key words/topics in that heading/subheading (n.b. subheadings can be the questions in a Q&A, the aims of a research abstract)
  2. Text type: study, report, experiment, survey, statistic, case study, literature review
  3. Authors: e.g. Wilson et al.
  4. Year of publication: e.g. the 2008 study.
  5. Place/country/name of publication/study: e.g US study, Canadian report, the Age newspaper.

After having glanced for this information, which should only take you a few seconds, then you go on to attempt the questions.

 

Good luck.

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