There is a lot of noise about the changes in the OET. People are worried about new material and new question types. And, like always, there are rumours, mostly perpetrated by money-grubbing scare mongers, about how the new pattern is more challenging than the old one. In here, we will try to put most of those to rest.
Are the changes dramatic?
In all honesty, not really. The core of the test remains the same. What has changed is a few question types in a few modules. Writing and Speaking sections of the OET remain exactly as they were. There are no changes. Listening and Reading, continue to test the same skills but in a slightly different manner.
What are the changes?
Let us focus on the OET reading section. An area that gives the jitters to many. In the first section of the OET, you now have a set number of questions. And the number of questions is fewer! That is good news. You now have 20 questions. The text is in four parts.
The first set of questions look at the candidates ability to identify the main idea of the text. The questions give you a piece of information and expect you to find out which text the information is from. So, for these questions, the answers are either: Text A, Text B, Text C or Text D.
There will be seven questions in all in the first set.
The next set of contains question to which you will have to give an answer in a word or a short phrase. Think of these as short answer questions. You once again get 7 questions of these. These look at your ability to identify information and accurately understand the questions.
This set will also contain seven questions.
The final set is where the test taker is expected to fill in the blanks. Understanding of sentence structure and grammar is what comes into play here.
Six questions make up this set.
The next set of 6 questions is where you are given a text that is upto 150 words in length. Each text has one question based on it. Each question has three answer choices. You are expected to pick one answer choice that you think best fits as a response.
This is followed by the unchanged area of reading. The final section is composed for two long texts (up to 800 words in length each). Each of these texts is followed by 8 questions. Each question has 4 answer choices.
Et Voila! That is all there is.