Why can't I get a B in the OET Reading Sub-Test?
"Why can't I get a B in my OET Reading Sub-Test?!"
Does that sound familiar to you as an OET candidate or an OET teacher?
Recently, a couple of my lovely YouTube students have expressed just such frustration and asked for my help. They've got a B in all the other OET sub-tests (Listening, Writing, Speaking), but just seem to miss out on that B in the Reading section.
Well, firstly, congratulations to them on doing so well in the other sub-tests. That's no easy task! But let's get back to the OET reading.
Why is this not going right for them, and importantly, how can they fix it?
Let's take a look at what may be going wrong, how you can find out what's going wrong, and then, how you can fix it!
The OET is a test of English Language Proficiency
The first thing to bear in mind is that the OET is a test of English Language Proficiency. This means that you are being tested on your comprehension of English (in the case of the OET reading and listening) and comprehension and use in Speaking and Writing.
So of course, you need to have a good grammar base and a good knowledge of English vocabulary. No matter how many tips and techniques and advice you know; no matter how good your test-taking skills are; no matter how many OET mock or sample tests you've done; if you don't know the word or expression, you just don't know it, and this means you are guessing at an answer, rather than really understanding it.
How to Improve your English Language Proficiency
To make sure your English is up to scratch, you have to make an effort to read as much medical-related material as you can (not just OET tests!). Read journals and magazines about health-related topics. Try searching the BMJ or Medscape for example. And keep up to date with news about healthcare. The BBC is a great place to start.
And when you're reading, make notes of any interesting language or words that you find. Keep a lexical notebook or write up flashcards.
As you're reading, summarise the points in your mind, so you're practising paraphrasing. This will help you in Parts B and C of the OET.
Take Practice Tests
It's also a good idea to take a practice test or two and see where you are going wrong.
Perhaps you are losing marks in section A? If so, why? Is it a case of spelling? Then, it would be a good idea to spend some time going over tricky words. Write them out 10 times. Leave it a few days and come back to it. Can you spell it right this time?
If you tend to run out of time (remember the OET Reading Part A is timed to just 15 minutes), then brush up on your skimming and scanning skills.
If it's Part B - again, see which types of questions you are finding hard.
Is it gist, or whole text ones?
Try to identify the kind of question being asked and then work more on perfecting those skills in particular.
Or perhaps you find Part C the hardest? You'll not be alone in this case because Part C is undoubtedly the hardest, but in this case, spend some more time developing your ability to understand connotation. Why has the reader used this expression and not something else? What was he or she trying to convey?
I hope this helps! I really think it's a good idea to identify where you are going wrong and then work a bit more on that part.
If you need any extra help, then here's a link to my Udemy course and I've given you a discount on it too. https://www.udemy.com/course/oet-insights-reading-all-professions/?couponCode=97998CB80FE7A807D965
Best of luck! Let me know how it goes :)