About the OET Reading sub-test

  • The Reading sub-test consists of three parts and a total of 42 question items. 
  • All three parts take a total of 60 minutes to complete.
  • he topics are of generic healthcare interest and are therefore accessible to candidates across all professions.

Part A – expeditious reading task (15 minutes)

Part A assesses your ability to locate specific information from four short texts in a quick and efficient manner. The four short texts relate to a single healthcare topic, and you must answer 20 questions in the allocated time period. The 20 questions consist of matching, sentence completion and short answer questions.

Part B and Part C – careful reading tasks (45 minutes)

Part B assesses your ability to identify the detail, gist or main point of six short texts sourced from the healthcare workplace (100-150 words each). The texts might consist of extracts from policy documents, hospital guidelines, manuals or internal communications, such as emails or memos. For each text, there is one three-option multiple-choice question.

Part C assesses your ability to identify detailed meaning and opinion in two texts on topics of interest to healthcare professionals (800 words each). For each text, you must answer eight four-option multiple choice questions.

How is Reading ability assessed in OET?

Reading Part A (the expeditious reading task) tests your ability to skim and scan quickly across different texts on a given topic in order to locate specific information. For that purpose, Part A is strictly timed and you must complete all 20 question items within the allocated 15 minutes. To complete the task successfully, you will also need to understand the conventions of different medical text types and understand the presentation of numerical and textual information.

Reading Part B tests your ability to understand the detail, gist or main point of complex texts commonly found in the healthcare workplace. To complete the task successfully, you will need to identify specific ideas at sentence level.

Reading Part C tests your ability to understand the explicit or implied meaning as well as the attitude or opinion presented in a longer text. To complete the task successfully, you will need to identify the relationship between ideas at sentence and paragraph level. Part C also tests your ability to accurately understand lexical references and complex phrases within the text.

Assessors who mark the Reading sub-test are qualified and highly trained. Candidate responses are assessed against an established marking guide. During the marking session, problematic or unforeseen answers are referred to a sub-group of senior assessors for guidance.


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