OET Writing Rules that you should follow
If you are a healthcare professional and desire to move to an English-speaking country, there is a high probability that you will take the Occupational English Test (OET). So, in this article, some rules for the Writing subtest will be shared which will help you to achieve a high score.
But, some, may not be aware of what the OET is and are wondering about it. Therefore, before moving to the main discussion, let us take a detour and revise the exam in brief.
Brief Discussion on OET
The OET is a language evaluation exam specially designed for healthcare workers, mainly in the field of Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, and Speech Pathology, and Veterinary Science. Just like other language tests, it is divided into four subtests, each evaluating your four major skills – Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing – in different medical scenarios.
|Name of Subtest||No. of Questions||Type of Question/s||Duration|
|Listening||42||Fill in the gaps & Multiple Choice Questions||Approx. 50 minutes|
|Reading||42||Multiple Choice Questions||60 minutes|
|Speaking||2||Role play||Approx. 20 minutes|
|Writing||1||Letter Writing||45 minutes|
Just like the name suggests, the OET Writing checks the writing capabilities of a candidate. Please note that both Writing and Speaking subtests are designed specifically for each profession, i.e., a nurse will pen down a letter related to her field, a pathologist will write one for his occupation, etc.
The task, as mentioned in the table above, is writing a letter. The referral letter is the most common one, but other letters that may come are transfer or discharge letters. You have to construct your letter based on the case notes and task instructions.
The evaluation criteria for this subtest are given below:
- Purpose – Under this criterion, you must pinpoint your letter’s purpose with the help of the case notes and task instructions provided. Once you have specified the intent, you have to put it down in the letter effectively. In all cases, you must state the purpose in the introductory part after the salutation. It helps the readers save their time and get to the point straightaway.
- Relevant content – It is the most vital factor that you have to keep in mind while preparing as well as taking the test. In the letter, you cannot add every detail given in the case notes. You have to choose the most relevant information and organize them in the most comprehensible way. Always remember that the letter has to be on point. Although there is no negative marking for exceeding the word limit, which is 180-200 words, if you do cross that limit, it shows that you have included data that may not be needed and can reduce your score.
- Conciseness and Clarity – For this criterion, you have to avoid repeated use of information and need to summarize the essential details of the case notes with clarity which will make the communication with the patient easier and more convincing.
- Genre and Style – Following the correct format and vocabulary according to the type of letter is very important. As all the types of letters given in the OET Writing are based on professional scenarios, you must use formal language. Apart from that, it would be best to focus on your grammar and spelling as it can depict your integrity and professionalism.
- Organization and Layout – Whenever you write something, it has to be organized, or it will not serve the purpose it is being written for. Therefore, you have to organize your letter chronologically or conceptually to make it easier for the readers to comprehend.
- Language – Finally, if you want to achieve a good score, you have to focus on grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling in general. Aside from assessing your knowledge of the English language, the examiner will also assess how well you use it.
Rules you need to follow for OET Writing
For many examinees, the OET Writing is a hardcore challenge that they need to surpass to get a high score. Other than the knowledge of the assessment criteria, regular practice, and diligent preparation, you also have to keep in mind some of the rules, which can be quite helpful in achieving what you need.
Given below are certain basic rules or OET Writing Tips you need to follow:
- The first 15 minutes of the exam is for preparation, during which you have to go through the questions and make sure that you understand the given task perfectly well. It may sound silly, but most candidates rush to start writing without understanding the task and organizing the essential points and end up including irrelevant details.
- When you begin the letter or end it, make sure to mention the names and addresses given in the question. Do not miss them or make things up on your own, as all these details will be given in the instruction or case notes.
- It is important to divide the main content of the letter into relevant paragraphs. So, to indicate new paragraphs, you can leave a blank line so that it is visible to everyone.
- During preparation, you should brush up on your summarization skills and figure out the keywords. It is because the case notes are mainly given in points or long texts, which you have to present in an organized and precise way to make them easily comprehensible.
- Always keep in mind that you are writing for readers other than the evaluators. It will not only make your letter on point but will also make the evaluators aware that you can use your skills in real-life scenarios quite efficiently.
- Keep your language simple so that the readers are able to understand the points referred to in the letters easily and do not have to waste a lot of time dealing with difficult words. Moreover, it can also help you avoid spelling or grammatical errors.
- Try to avoid including too much background information like the occupation of spouse or children, details of how their relationship with other people, etc., even if they are mentioned in the case notes. Only in cases where this information will really affect the final suggestion should you put them in the letter.
- After completing the letter, always make sure to revise what you have written, as it will enable you to find out if you have missed out on any vital data or rectify any grammatical mistakes.
So, work hard on mastering the areas of shortcomings and improve your overall language skills to achieve a good score and settle in your dream in your desired medical profession.