OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide

OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide

OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide



OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide:  As a health professional, you must read a range of different texts in the workplace. In a single shift, you might need to refer to a hospital policy, a memo, an email, a notice, a guideline, and more. These workplace communications enable you to work according to standards and stay updated with workplace requirements. OET Reading Part B assesses your ability to identify main ideas, purpose, and detail by using these texts.

In this blog post, you will learn about the OET Reading Part B format, discover the skills being tested, and see some sample questions. Additionally, you will receive test tips and preparation recommendations from OET experts.


Test Format:


There are six short extracts in Part B. Each one is about 100-140 words. And each one has a 3-option multiple choice question. You have 45 minutes in total to complete Reading Parts B and C.

OET Reading Part B format at a glance:

  • Six workplace extracts
  • 100-140 words each
  • One 3-option multiple-choice question per extract
  • 45 minutes for Reading Part B and C combined





The tasks in OET Reading Part B demonstrate the real-world skill of understanding the necessary actions in response to a workplace text. Further, Part B utilizes excerpts from typical workplace communications to assess your ability to identify the main ideas (the overall message or point of an excerpt), read with a purpose (to comprehend the reason behind the text), and read for detail (to recognize significant information within a text).


Sample task:

For OET on paper, you’ll receive your Part B and C Question papers together. Each Part B question is on a separate page and the instructions remind you to shade in the circle completely to answer A B or C. For OET on the computer, each question is on a separate screen and you left-click the mouse to select your answer.

In OET on paper, you will be provided with your Part B and C Question papers together. Each Part B question will be on a separate page, and the instructions will remind you to shade in the circle completely to answer A, B, or C.

In OET on the computer, each question will appear on a separate screen, and you will select your answer by left-clicking the mouse.

The questions might be written as complete questions or as incomplete sentences.

Complete question:

What does this manual tell us about spacer devices?

Incomplete sentence:

When seeking consent for a post-mortem examination, it is necessary to

You should deal with the six questions one by one because they are all independent and have no link between them. Further, always begin by reading the question first so that you know what you are reading for.

For example, in the mentioned scenario of seeking consent for a post-mortem examination, you would read the text to find out the actions required when seeking consent for a post-mortem examination.

By reading the text with that question in mind, you will be able to focus and select the correct answer.


Check Sample Below
  1. When seeking consent for a post-mortem examination it is necessary to

(A)  give a valid reason for conducting it.

(B)  allow all the relatives the opportunity to decline it.

(C)  Only raise the subject after death has occurred. 

(Answer is A):

Post Mortem Consent

The consultants in charge of the care, preferably senior members of the clinic team, should initiate the discussion about a post-mortem examination with the most appropriate person to give consent. The person responsible for granting consent should receive an explanation of the reasons behind the post-mortem examination and its expected outcomes. It is advisable to approach the individual at the earliest possible stage when the desirability of a post-mortem examination becomes apparent, rather than waiting until the patient’s demise. Providing relatives with sufficient time to contemplate the consenting process beforehand often leads to better preparedness.


OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide

Test tips: 


Here are 4 tips to succeed in Part B.


1.  Read the question carefully.


Read this before looking at the text to understand what you’re reading for. Does the question ask about the overall purpose of the text? Or does it ask you to focus on a more specific part of the text? Use the question to read with purpose.



2.  Notice all elements of the answer options.


When selecting your answer, make sure that all elements of the option are presented in the text.

Look at this question as an example. (Sample Test 2, Part B, Question 1)

  1.  This guideline extract says that the nurse in charge

(A)  must supervise the opening of the controlled drug cupboard

(B)  should make sure that all ward cupboard keys are kept together

(B)  can delegate responsibility for the cupboard keys to another ward

C is the correct answer.

For option A to be correct, you would need to find evidence in the text that the nurse in charge must (has to) supervise (oversee) the opening of the controlled drug cupboard, not just any drug cupboard. Check the text. Can you find evidence of this?


Medicine CupBoard Keys

The nurse in charge is responsible for the Keys to the controlled drug cupboard. They can pass the keys to a registered nurse to perform their duties and then return them to the nurse in charge. If the keys to the controlled drug cupboard get lost, the locks must be changed, and the pharmacy must be informed. Additionally, an incident form should be completed. The controlled drug cupboard keys must be kept separately from the main body of the keys. Unless under exceptional circumstances, the keys should not be taken outside the ward or department. If necessary, the nurse in charge should make arrangements for the keys to be held by the nurse in charge in a neighbouring ward or department.

Sometimes, the option will include some information from the text, but not all. In this case, the text mentions a controlled drug cupboard but does not state that the nurse in charge must supervise the opening. Therefore, it is not a correct answer. The correct answer is C.


3.  Focus on meaning.


While reading, you may encounter words that you don’t know. Try to skip these words or use the context to guess their meaning and focus instead on the overall message of the sentence or section. Utilize the words you do know, and don’t panic about the ones you don’t.


4.  Manage your time.


You should remember that you have 45 minutes to complete Parts B and C combined. Part C consists of 16 questions and two long texts, so you should not spend too much time on Part B. If you find yourself stuck on a question, make an educated guess and come back to it later if time allows. Ensure that you answer all questions and do not leave any unanswered.




OET Reading Part B – The Complete Guide

 Preparation recommendations:


To prepare for Part B, you need to practise reading workplace texts for meaning and purpose. Here are some ways to build these skills.


1.  Practise summarising when reading.


Read short healthcare workplace texts or Part B texts and write one or two-sentence summaries of what you read. Work on capturing the main idea of the text – or what should happen as a result of it. This will help you to read for gist rather than focusing on individual words.


2.  Increase your command of complex grammar.


Part B texts are often quite dense – a lot of information is packed into a small amount of space. Therefore, to be able to understand these texts, you need to know about how complex sentences work, how to use subordinating conjunctions, and how to use relative clauses, conditionals, participle clauses and noun phrases. So, it is important to work with a teacher if you can or simply get online and find out for yourself. At Hzad Education we offer 15-hour self-paced OET preparation course designed to help you succeed in your exam and impress your assessor.  Our team of experts, who have years of experience in teaching English to healthcare professionals, have created this course to ensure your success.


3.  Analyse sample tests.


When you try sample practice tests, after you’ve checked the answers, look at each Part B to see exactly why an answer is correct and also why the other options are incorrect. There will always be good reasons. Make sure you can identify in the text why an answer is right or wrong. This will help you to read more carefully and can also highlight any gaps you have in terms of vocabulary and grammar.



Mastering OET Reading Part B requires a combination of effective reading skills, comprehension strategies, and time management. By following the key strategies outlined in this guide, you can enhance your performance and increase your chances of success in this section. Remember to practice regularly, familiarize yourself with different types of texts, and continuously refine your reading skills. Good luck on your OET journey, and may you achieve the desired results in your exam.


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