OET Corner – Reading Part A

Doctors and Nurses celebrating OET Reading Part A

Finding Key Information in OET Reading Part A

As you know, OET’s Reading Part A is all about reading four texts quickly to find specific information. Today you and I are going to look at the first set of questions (usually 1 to 7) which asks you to decide which of the texts (A, B, C or D) the information comes from.

Specifically, we are going to learn how to find the answers we’re looking for by skimming the texts’ landmark or key features to answer the questions.

The examples we will use come from the official OET website and you can find the sample test we are working with here.

‘Landmark’ / key features of a text

The first thing to do when faced with four texts that you must read quickly is to look for anything in the text that stands out. Look at the sample text below and see what text catches your eye.

Sample OET Reading Part A text

Here are the features that are designed to stand out when you first read a text.

OET Reading Part A highlighted headings, sub-headings, titles, bullet points

See if you can match these landmark features to the highlighted text:

  • numbered sentences
  • sub-heading
  • underlined emboldened heading
  • bullet points
  • large font, emboldened heading
  • shaded heading
  • emboldened text

Check your answers:

Answers to OET Reading Part A

The information found in these landmark features should give you a good idea of what the text is about. The next step is to read the questions.

Answering set 1 questions

When looking at any question, it’s a good idea to underline the key words. Read the questions below and identify the important words in the sentences.

Key words in OET Reading Part A

Here are the key words I found. Were yours the same?

Identified key words in OET Reading Part A

Paraphrasing in questions and texts

So, the hard part is over – now all we have to do is match the key words in the questions to the landmark information in the texts. It sounds straightforward and it is. But OET wants to be sure that you have a wide vocabulary, so they add some paraphrasing, i.e. giving the same or similar information using different words.

Let’s look at an example together. We’ll start with Question 1.

  1.  procedures for delivering pain relief

I identified ‘procedures’ and ‘delivering pain relief’ as being the important words in this question. Reading through the landmark information in the four texts I tried to find synonyms for these key words. Here’s what I found. Do you agree?

Paraphrases and Synonyms in OET Reading Part A

When I looked at all the texts, there were many paraphrases for ‘procedures’ in the landmark/key information:

Paraphrasing for ‘procedures’ was found in Text B: management,  in Text C: protocol and in Text D: principle

There was also more than one paraphrase for ‘pain relief’:

In Text B there was: analgesia and in Text C: drug therapy

There were also one or two texts that had a paraphrase for ‘delivering’:

These were in Text B: administer and in Text C: route of administration

However, only one text (Text C, above) had paraphrases for all three – ‘procedure’, ‘pain relief” and ‘delivering’.

Therefore the answer to Question 1 is Text C.

Doctors and nurses reading OET questions

Complete Reading Part A Set 1 Questions

I’d like you to practise finding the paraphrases in the remaining questions and matching them to the texts to find the correct answers.

Here are the four texts, and here are your questions.

Check to see if your answers agree with the OET Answer Key.

You can also look at the pdf below to see exactly where the paraphrases are in the text and the question.

Text and question paraphrases in OET Reading Part A

If you’ve found this OET Reading Part A exercise useful, and would like to find out about our OET courses, please email me for more information.

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