The OET (Occupational English Test) is an international
English language assessment for healthcare professionals. One of the four
sub-tests of the OET is the speaking test, which is designed to assess a
candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a healthcare setting. In this
article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the OET speaking test,
including how to prepare, what the criteria to pass are, and tips and pitfalls
The OET Speaking Test
The OET speaking test is a role-play
scenario in which candidates take on the role of a healthcare professional and
communicate with a simulated patient or healthcare colleague. The test is
conducted in a private room with a trained assessor and lasts approximately 15
minutes. The test is designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to communicate
effectively and appropriately in a healthcare setting, including the ability to
use relevant medical terminology, provide information, and respond to
How to Prepare
There are a few key things you can do to
prepare for the OET speaking test:
yourself with the format of the test: The OET speaking test is a role-play
scenario, so it’s important to understand the format and what is expected
of you. Read the scenario and instructions carefully and think about what
you would say and how you would respond in each situation. Speak clearly,
the communication between you and the interlocutor is recorded and the
same recording is used in marking. The interlocutor is not the examiner.
medical terminology: As a healthcare professional, it’s important to have
a strong grasp of medical terminology. Review common medical terms and
concepts and practice using them in context. But remember this is a test
of English language not of your medical knowledge, hence you wouldn’t have
any mark deducted for any medical error.
speaking: One of the best ways to prepare for the OET speaking test is to
practice speaking as much as possible. You can do this by having mock
conversations with a friend, family member, or language tutor, or by
recording yourself and playing back the recordings to analyze your
calm: The OET speaking test can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to
stay calm and focused. Take deep breaths, meditate, or do whatever helps
you to relax and focus before the test.
Criteria to Pass the Speaking Test
To pass the OET speaking
test, candidates must demonstrate effective and appropriate communication
skills in a healthcare setting. The following are the key criteria that
assessors look for when evaluating a candidate’s performance:
Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and fluently in
English. They should be able to express their ideas and thoughts clearly
and without hesitation.
Candidates should have clear and accurate pronunciation that is easily
understandable by native English speakers.
Candidates must have a strong command of medical terminology and be able
to use it appropriately in the context of the role-play scenario.
Candidates must be able to understand the simulated patient or healthcare
colleague and respond appropriately. Read the role play card clearly, there
might be some key-points that need to be explained or addressed appropriately.
In some cases the role play card can help your prepare for the patient
e.g. in case the scenario is related to a fussy patient or attendant.
Candidates must be able to engage in a two-way conversation and interact
effectively with the simulated patient or healthcare colleague. You need
to show empathy and acknowledge any concerns verbal or emotional.
Tips for Passing the Speaking Test
Here are some tips to
help you pass the OET speaking test:
confident: Speak clearly and confidently, and make eye contact with the
carefully: Pay close attention to what the simulated patient or healthcare
colleague is saying and respond appropriately.
body language: Use appropriate body language, such as gestures and facial
expressions, to help convey your message.
concise: Be concise and to the point in your responses. Avoid lengthy or
medical terminology: Use medical terminology where appropriate to show your
understanding of the subject matter.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when taking the OET
Try to remain calm and focused, and avoid getting too nervous, as this can
affect your performance.
of preparation: Make sure you are well prepared for the test by
familiarizing yourself with the format, studying medical terminology, and practicing
speaking as much as possible.
use of medical terminology: Be sure to use medical terminology correctly
and appropriately in the context of the role-play scenario.
behavior: Maintain a professional demeanor and avoid any inappropriate
behavior, such as interrupting the simulated patient or healthcare
following the scenario: Make sure to follow the scenario and respond
appropriately to the simulated patient or healthcare colleague.
In conclusion, the OET speaking test is a critical component
of the Occupational English Test, and it’s important for candidates to be
well-prepared and understand what the criteria to pass are. By familiarizing
yourself with the format, studying medical terminology, practicing speaking,
and avoiding common pitfalls, you can increase your chances of success on the
speaking test. Good luck!