OET mock exams: Making the most of your practice

A woman sitting and taking OET exam

It seems intuitive that, in order to prepare for the real OET exam, the best strategy would be to do as many OET mock exams as possible.

Each mock exam that you do is helping you to develop your exposure to the OET format and, hopefully, with each exam you complete, you will see your scores increase.

Except, this is not always the case.

In my experience, I have had many OET students who have done reading and listening mock exam after mock exam and they have seen very little improvement in their scores.

The reason for this is because just doing a mock exam is only half of the job, there is much more that you could be doing during and after the mock which will really see you begin to make improvements.

In this article, I will be looking at the activities which can really help to improve your scores relating to both listening and reading OET mock exams.

How To Improve Your Exams


1.  Learn from what you got wrong:

Picture the scene, you’ve just finished doing an OET reading part A exam and you scored twelve out of twenty.

You know that in the exam you’re required to score around 15 to be on course for a B or above.

What do you do? Just move on to the next exam and try again?

A lot of students do this and this is, unfortunately, the wrong approach. What you need to be doing after completing a mock is checking why you made mistakes.

For example: were you scanning the wrong text? Did you misunderstand part of the text? Did you run out of time? What were the factors which led to you scoring below your objective?

Be honest and clear about your performance and your mistakes. If you were scanning the wrong text, then practise scanning the right text; underline the parts of the text which would have provided the correct answers, prove to yourself that you’re able to correct your errors.

If you misunderstood a part of the text, then go and do some research. Use a dictionary to check unknown vocabulary so that you will be prepared if you are faced with the same vocabulary structures next time. If you ran out of time, reflect on why this was.

Did you spend too long reading the texts? If so, then you may need to develop your reading skills focusing on skimming and scanning (doing this with a qualified OET teacher could be your best option in order to get useful practice in this area).

Engaging in this sort of reflection can help you to identify your weaknesses so that they are not simply carried forward into the next mock exam you do, and the next, and the next, and so on…

2. Learn from what you got right:

Let’s imagine now that you’ve just done one of the Listening part B OET mock exams. You scored full marks for the first time. You then go on to do another, you feel supremely confident but this time you only get three out of six.

Why is this? What changed from when you did the first mock compared to the second?

The fact is that parts of the OET mock exams, at least to an extent, are based on chance.

You have a 33% chance of getting an answer correct for any individual question in listening part B, so it is possible to guess answers correctly, even if you haven’t really understood all of the recordings.

As a result, even if you got the answer correct, it is important that you are able to recognise why you got it correct. If you simply guessed and got it right, it is very unlikely that you will be so lucky next time, so you need to go deeper.

Try to write down the phrases which you hear in the recordings which lead you to choosing the answers that you select. Try to justify why you are able to eliminate the other two options, what was specifically said which allowed you to do this?

Whenever you make a selection for your answer, you should be able to clearly articulate why you regard that answer as being correct, if you cannot, then you cannot be confident that you haven’t just guessed your responses.

Join one of our OET course packages (starting at just $49)in order to get high quality practice and feedback from one of our OET UK teachers by clicking here:

For doctors: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-doctors
For nurses: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-nurses

3. Use the mock tests as a scaffold:

If you are merely days or weeks away from doing your mock exam in OET, then it makes sense to do the mock tests as you would on the exam day in order to be as prepared as possible for the reality of the situation.

However, if you have longer to prepare, you should be scaffolding the mock tests that you do so that they can help you develop important skills. Scaffolding involves changing the rules of the test in small ways in order to help you develop the necessary skills to perform well in the future.

For example, you’re listening to the recordings in part C and, after the first listen, you’re really not sure of some of the answers and you’re worried that you’ve guessed on some responses.

Scaffolding your approach would involve listening to certain parts of the recording again to check your answers and to give yourself another opportunity to pick out specific words and phrases which you might have missed the first time.

Let’s imagine that you’ve listened a second time and you’re still not sure. Well now you can access the audio-script and read exactly what was said as you listen.

By reading and listening simultaneously you can pick up on key information such as, perhaps, unfamiliar pronunciation of common words or even new vocabulary which you can then research in a dictionary and add to your vocabulary lists.

Of course, you won’t be able to do this in the exam but the point is that scaffolding your tests develops OET mock exam practice into an OET learning tool, where you will be able to develop key reading and listening skills and learn new vocabulary while getting exposure to OET exam content.

Do it this way and, in the long run, you will see the benefits.

If you’re planning to take the OET exam, we’ve got live group classes, speaking OET mock exams classes, video courses and writing corrections as part of our OET packages. You can click here to learn more:

For doctors: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-doctors
For nurses: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-nurses


  1. Look at Reading Sample Test 1 Part B here https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/preparation-portal/free-sample-tests/reading-sample-test-1/ Try to answer the questions in 15 minutes.
    2. Check your answers using the answer sheet. How many were correct?
    3. Underline the parts of the text which gave you the correct answers.
    4. Now, using a different colour, underline the parts of the text which allowed you to eliminate the incorrect options.
    5. Now look at your errors. Underline the parts of the text which led you to making the choice that you did.
    6. Using the answer sheet, try to find the parts of the text where the correct answers were contained. Underline them using a different colour.
    7. Check all the parts of the texts which you have underlined. Do any of them contain any unfamiliar vocabulary? If so, use a dictionary to research the new words. Write the new words down with their definitions as part of a vocabulary list.
    8. Now try doing Reading Sample Test 2 Part B https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/preparation-portal/free-sample-tests/reading-sample-test-2/ and go through the same procedure.

Join one of our OET course packages (starting at just $49)in order to get high quality practice and feedback from one of our OET UK teachers by clicking here:

For doctors: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-doctors
For nurses: https://staging3.swooshenglish.com/oet-packages-nurses

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