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What Successful Candidates Do Well


What Successful OET Candidates Do Well (that others don't)
(For one thing, reading this article is easy for them!)

The OET is challenging, but others succeed and so can you.

1. You need very high English skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking: at least an IELTS 7.0 or  Level B2 on the Common European Framework for Languages scale. (Don’t know what the international CEFL is? Click here to find out.) Each skill is tested separately and you need to do well in each area separately.

2. You must correctly complete certain tasks within a set time limit—from understanding and noting down detailed patient and institution information, understanding gist and detail of clinical and non-clinical texts, demonstrating good understanding, writing and formatting style, and addressing patient problems with the right language and tone in an interview.
The OET website has many free sample materials to help you understand the format of each part.

3. It is also necessary to prepare yourself for test-day itself, getting enough sleep the night before, ensuring your energy level is good, and knowing exactly where your test will take place and what procedures you will encounter.

By preparing in all these areas, it is possible to


You are much less likely to pass if
- you practice only once every week to every few weeks (or less!) instead of everyday.
- you only do a few practice tests and learn some common phrases instead of interacting with a wide range of materials.
- you don't practice doing sample papers under timed conditions similar to the real test; and
- you arrive at the test venue exhausted, hungry, anxious and unfocused.

But certainly the first and biggest challenge is developing your language skills.

So what exactly do successful OET candidates do well in the test?

In the Listening subtest, they
• quickly understand main and supporting ideas in an audio.
• can listen and make short notes at the same time.
connect ideas they hear in the audio to reach reasonable conclusions about opinions, outcomes and more.
can understand the language common to patient interaction as well as common non-clinical medical settings.

In the Reading subtest, they
• understand the different kinds of information found in different kinds of clinical and non-clinical texts.
• can scan texts quickly, without reading in detail, and find the main ideas.
• identify signal words that indicate more details including facts, opinions, inference, attitude, and comparison.
• can rephrase or paraphrase information without changing meaning.
• show good grammar and spelling skills.

In the Writing subtest, they
• understand the goal of the writing task and what information is important for the target reader.
• show good grammar, vocabulary, spelling and formatting skills.
• use the right tone for the exercise (yes, including some standard phrases like “Should you need any further information…”, for example.)

In the Speaking subtest, they
• speak clearly.
• can guide the ‘interview with the patient’ without doing all the talking.
• listen to, understand and address their patient’s concerns.
• deal with difficult patient emotions such as anger, anxiety and uncertainty.
• use a mixture of technical language as well as layman language so that their patient can understand.

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