Best OET Reading Practice Test Tips You Need to Know

The OET (Occupational English Test) Reading section is a crucial part of the exam for healthcare professionals seeking to work in English-speaking countries.

It assesses your ability to understand medical texts and is a vital step towards your career aspirations. To help you succeed, here are some of the best OET Reading practice test tips you need to know.

The OET Reading test evaluates your ability to understand and extract information from medical texts. It consists of several parts, each with a unique format. Let's explore how to ace this section and secure your professional future.


Understand the OET Reading Test Format

The Occupational English Test (OET) reading test is designed to assess the reading skills of healthcare professionals who are seeking to work or study in an English-speaking healthcare environment.  

Number of Parts - The OET reading test consists of two parts.

Text Types - The test includes different types of texts that are relevant to healthcare professionals, such as patient case notes, medical guidelines, hospital policies, and healthcare articles.

Number of Texts - Each part of the reading test contains multiple texts (usually three or four), which you need to read and answer questions about.

Question Types - The questions in the OET reading test are designed to assess various reading skills, including multiple-choice questions, matching information, short-answer questions, and summary completion tasks. 

Timing - The reading test is typically 60 minutes in duration, with 45 minutes allocated for reading the texts and 15 minutes for transferring your answers to the answer sheet.

Scoring - The reading test is scored on a scale from 0 to 500 points. Your score reflects your ability to understand and interpret the information in the healthcare-related texts.

Test Administration - The OET reading test is usually paper-based and is administered at authorized test centers. Make sure to check the official OET website for any updates or changes to the test format.

 It's important to note that the OET is designed specifically for healthcare professionals, and the reading materials and questions are tailored to their professional context. 

 To prepare for the OET reading test, it's recommended to practice with sample materials and consider taking preparation courses or using study guides that are available through the official OET website or authorized test preparation providers.


Tips for Each Section of OET Reading

Part A: Skimming and Scanning

"Skimming and Scanning," evaluates your aptitude to swiftly skim through a text to grasp its overall content and to scan for particular details. This skill is essential for healthcare professionals who need to quickly locate specific information in medical documents and patient records. 

To excel in this part of the test, you should practice efficiently identifying key points and crucial details in texts, which will not only aid in test performance but also prove invaluable in a real healthcare setting where time is often of the essence.

Part B: Reading and Understanding Extended Text

"Reading and Understanding Extended Text," challenges your ability to comprehend longer and more complex written passages commonly found in healthcare contexts, such as medical articles, research papers, or patient records.

In this section, your reading comprehension skills are put to the test, as you'll be expected to answer detailed questions that require a deep understanding of the text. 

It's crucial to read attentively, extract key information, and grasp the nuances of the content, as success in this part depends on your capacity to digest and interpret complex healthcare-related materials effectively.

Part C: Identifying Main Ideas

"Identifying Main Ideas," is designed to gauge your skill in discerning the principal themes and central ideas within a given text. Healthcare professionals often encounter a multitude of information, and being able to extract and understand the core concepts is crucial for effective decision-making and communication.

In this section, you'll be tasked with identifying and summarizing the central themes, which demands a keen understanding of the text's overarching message. Practicing this skill will enhance your capacity to extract and grasp key ideas from healthcare-related materials, ultimately contributing to your proficiency in the medical field.

Develop Effective Reading Strategies

Effective reading strategies are crucial to success. Here's how to approach different question types:

Skimming and Scanning

  • Read the headings and subheadings.

  • Look for keywords and phrases.

  • Ignore irrelevant information.

Effective reading strategies are essential for success in the OET reading test. For the "Skimming and Scanning" section, start by reading the headings and subheadings to get an overview of the text. 

Look for keywords and phrases that can help you quickly locate the information you need, while ignoring irrelevant details that may slow you down.

Extended Text

  • Read the questions first to guide your reading.

  • Take notes as you read.

  • Focus on the introduction and conclusion.

In the "Extended Text" section, it's beneficial to read the questions first to guide your reading. As you read the longer passages, take notes to capture key points and essential information. Pay particular attention to the introduction and conclusion of the text, as they often provide a concise summary of the main ideas.

Identifying Main Ideas

  • Read the entire passage thoroughly.

  • Highlight or underline key sentences.

  • Summarize the main ideas in your own words.

For the "Identifying Main Ideas" part, read the entire passage thoroughly to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the text. 

Highlight or underline key sentences or sections that convey the central themes. 

Afterward, summarize the main ideas in your own words, as this can help reinforce your comprehension and prepare you to answer questions related to the text's core concepts. 

These strategies will aid in tackling different question types effectively and improve your performance in the OET reading test.

Expand Your Vocabulary

A strong medical vocabulary is essential for the OET Reading test. Consider these tips for vocabulary improvement:

  • Create flashcards with medical terms.

  • Use medical dictionaries and resources.

  • Practice using medical terms in sentences.

 Practice with Authentic Materials

To prepare effectively, practice with authentic OET Reading materials:

  • Use official OET practice materials.

  • Explore medical journals and articles.

  • Study real patient case notes.

  • Learn from Sample Questions

To access OET reading samples and practice materials, you can visit, a valuable resource that provides a wide range of study materials for all types of OET tests. 

This website offers users the opportunity to access free sample materials specifically designed to help healthcare professionals prepare for the OET reading test. 

Whether you're seeking to improve your skimming and scanning skills, comprehension of extended texts, or the ability to identify main ideas, is a convenient and comprehensive platform to enhance your test readiness. 

With its wealth of practice resources and sample materials, this website is a valuable aid for healthcare professionals looking to excel in the OET reading test.

Methods to Improve OET Reading Performance

  • Break down long sentences into smaller segments.

  • Practice reading medical texts regularly.

  • Develop a systematic approach to tackle complex texts.

  • Simulate Real Test Conditions

Improving OET reading performance can be achieved through several effective methods. 

Firstly, breaking down long sentences into smaller, more manageable segments can help you digest complex information step by step, making it easier to understand and retain key details.

Secondly, consistent practice with medical texts is crucial. 

Regularly reading healthcare-related materials, such as medical journals, patient records, and clinical guidelines, can help you become more familiar with the specific terminology and writing styles commonly encountered in the OET reading test.

Thirdly, it's beneficial to develop a systematic approach for tackling complex texts. 

This might involve first skimming the text for headings and keywords, reading the questions before delving into the passage, and taking notes as you read to capture essential information.

Lastly, to truly prepare for the OET reading test, it's essential to simulate real test conditions during your practice sessions. 

This means timing yourself, practicing in a quiet environment, and using official OET practice materials to closely replicate the test experience. 

By following these methods, you can enhance your reading skills and perform better on the OET reading test.

Consistency in Practice

Consistency is key to mastering the OET Reading test:

  • Create a study schedule and stick to it.

  • Practice every day, even for short durations.

  • Keep yourself motivated by setting achievable goals.

Consistency plays a pivotal role in mastering the OET Reading test. To succeed in this section, it's essential to establish a structured study routine and adhere to it. 

Creating a study schedule that outlines when and how you'll practice can help you stay organized and make the most of your preparation time. Daily practice, even if it's for short durations, is highly beneficial. Regular engagement with OET reading materials keeps your skills sharp and gradually builds your proficiency.

Consistency ensures that you don't lose momentum between study sessions, helping you retain the knowledge and strategies you've acquired. Moreover, setting achievable goals can help maintain your motivation. Breaking down your overall study objectives into smaller, manageable milestones gives you a sense of accomplishment as you reach each one, reinforcing your dedication to the task. 

Consistency in practice, supported by a well-structured schedule and the pursuit of achievable goals, is a winning strategy for mastering the OET Reading test.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Don't fall into common traps:

  • Carefully read questions and answer options.

  • Double-check your answers.

  • Beware of negative phrasing in questions.

Avoiding common mistakes is crucial in achieving success in the OET Reading test. It's essential to pay close attention to the details and exercise caution to steer clear of common traps that can trip you up. Start by carefully reading both the questions and answer options. 

Misinterpreting a question or selecting an incorrect answer due to a hasty reading can be a costly error, so take your time to fully understand what is being asked. Double-checking your answers is another important practice. 

Before moving on, revisit your responses to ensure they align with the information provided in the text. This simple step can help catch any inadvertent mistakes and improve the accuracy of your answers.

Moreover, be particularly cautious of negative phrasing in questions. Sometimes, questions may include negatives like "not" or "least likely," which can easily be overlooked and lead to incorrect answers if you're not attentive. 

Recognizing and properly responding to these negations is essential to avoid falling into this common pitfall. By heeding these guidelines and avoiding these common mistakes, you can significantly enhance your performance in the OET Reading test.


In conclusion, excelling in the OET Reading test is achievable with the right strategies. Understand the format, develop effective reading techniques, expand your medical vocabulary, and practice with authentic materials. 

Seek professional guidance and consistently simulate real test conditions. Handle difficult passages with care and avoid common mistakes. With dedication and the tips mentioned, you can significantly enhance your OET Reading performance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the OET Reading test challenging?

The OET Reading test can be challenging, especially for those not familiar with medical terminology. However, with consistent practice and the right strategies, you can improve your performance.

How can I improve my medical vocabulary for the OET Reading test?

You can enhance your medical vocabulary by creating flashcards, using medical dictionaries, and practicing with real medical texts.

Is it necessary to take professional OET preparation courses?

While not mandatory, professional OET preparation courses can provide valuable guidance, structured study plans, and exam-like practice, which can significantly enhance your performance.

What should I do if I find a passage in the OET Reading test difficult to understand?

If you encounter a challenging passage, try breaking it down into smaller segments, identify keywords, and seek help or clarification if needed.

How can I avoid common mistakes in the OET Reading test?

To avoid common mistakes, carefully read questions and answer options, double-check your answers, and be cautious of negative phrasing in questions.