One of the most crucial skills for interacting with others is definitely writing. After speaking, it is considered to be essential as it is the second most used way to communicate our feelings or ideas to others. Moreover, as writing is documented on a piece of paper or a computer screen, it is easy to find faults or find mistakes made. This makes many examinees taking language evaluation tests like IELTS, OET, and PTE very nervous or puts them in self-doubt.
Further, being a medical professional, who needs to write letters for transfer or referral, it is very vital to be able to intercommunicate with the receiver clearly. Otherwise, there might be a miscommunication of the whole situation of the patient and may lead to wrong supervision and care. Therefore, OET Writing evaluates one’s communication in the form of written prowess and also assesses the organization of ideas and grammatical skills of the candidates.
So, in this article, first, a detailed overview of the test will be provided to revise your knowledge about this subtest and then some important ways or tips will be shared, incorporating which will be beneficial for your preparation as well as help you to get a get score.
Information on OET Writing
Just like the Speaking subtest of OET, OET Writing is also specifically designed for each of the 12 medical professions that the test evaluates – Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology and Veterinary Science. For example, if you are taking the test as a pharmacist, the topic of the task will be related to that field only.
- Task and Time – You need to partake in only one task for this section of the test, which is letter-writing based on a medical scenario. As a result, the duration is 45 minutes. You will be given a case note with various details on it and from those notes, you will have to choose the most appropriate data and present it in a specific letter format.
- Types of Letters – There are three types of letters that are usually given in the writing subtest, namely, referral, transfer and discharge. The most common one is Referral letters, where you have to refer a patient to another healthcare professional from your profession or a different one. At other times, a letter to advise or inform a patient, another professional or the family members is also given, especially in Pharmacy, Veterinary Science and Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy. The final type includes writing an answer to a complaint or grievance, which is common in Radiology.
- Format – There are various formats that are allowed in the test as the types of letters vary. So, there is no need to panic about which format will fetch the maximum marks. However, the main focus should be to organize the important points aptly and note it down with correct grammar and vocabulary. You should never forget to mention or change any details related to the addressee and the address or information given in the case note.
- Word Limit – In this task, the letter should be around 180-200 words, within which it should be well-rounded. Although there are no strict rules for the word limit, exceeding the word limit implies that there is a lack of relevance, which is a warning sign for examiners.
- Assessment criteria – The OET Writing sub-test is evaluated by two trained evaluators who mainly focus on the six major points that form the firm foundation of this sub-test, which are:
- Purpose: It is about the purpose of the written letter.
- Content: It checks if the content of the letter is relevant to the provided case notes.
- Conciseness & Clarity: It judges whether the delivery and reflection of the case notes on the letter are appropriate and if it is understandable to the readers.
- Genre & Style: It finds out if the style of the letter relating to the scenario is apt or not.
- Organization & Layout: As the name suggests, it checks for the organization and synchronization of the ideas in the written letter.
- Language: Under this criterion, the grammatical aptness, vocabulary, spelling and punctuations used in the letter are checked.
OET Writing Tips to score higher
Regular dedicated practice is a must if you want to improve your OET score or get a higher score. But what are some of the brownie points that will make this daily practice more effective? Well, let us delve into those OET Writing tips without wasting any time.
- Read the instructions carefully and use the preparation time to plan.
Like in every test, this sub-test also comes with instructions, along with case notes, based on which you have to write your letter. Moreover, the initial five minutes are given so that you can read them carefully and organize your thoughts. Therefore, always use this preparatory time to comprehend the requisitions of the assigned task and choose information and plan your writing to avoid digression from the principal idea of the letter.
- Make sure you can adapt to various writing situations.
Having mastered all the different types of questions mentioned above will ensure that you are well prepared for any interview question. As a result, it is important since you never know what kind of letter might be asked on test day. You should keep track of all letter types and their writing style so that you can improve your score.
- Keep the content simple to make the ideas presented effectively.
As prior mentioned, the vocabulary you use in the letters should be at par with the purpose for which the letter is written. It is for the best that the words you use or the way you present your ideas should be easily comprehensible to the readers, which will make communication easier. It is important to keep in mind that the professional you are writing to may not belong to the field you are an expert in, so make sure not to use words that may create confusion.
- Take notes of the common expressions that are used in the medical scenario very commonly.
Although the task is specific for every profession, try to make a note of the common medical contexts and the expressions used in day-to-day life. It will help you to express your ideas confidently and in an effective manner and also will be time-saving as you will not have to search randomly through your brain during that short duration.
- Always self-analyze yourself and try to improve your errors or weaknesses.
While practising at home, if you analyze your own creation or, at most, get it examined by someone who is knowledgeable in this field, it will help you to understand the areas you need to work on. Analyzing your performance in your practice sessions helps you determine how far you have come since your last session.
- Keep track of the time limit and the word limit.
As informed earlier, the time limit of the test is 40 minutes, which is sufficient for writing 180-200 words. But, translating the ideas, organizing the content, and utilizing the case notes in the right order could be time-consuming. Hence, you should always keep a tab on the time and word limits.
- Always revise your responses at the end of the task.
Be it IELTS or OET, it is very crucial to ensure that what you have written on the answer script is correct as far as your instruction or the purpose of the task is concerned. In addition, you should make sure that minor mistakes are rectified because they might be inconsequential to you, but the assessors might not take it lightly. Therefore, check thoroughly before submitting.
In the end, scoring a good score is all about how much effort you put into the preparation in the appropriate way. Some people work hard but still fail to achieve a high score because their preparation is haphazard and not according to the requirements of the test they take. So, it is recommended that you get well-informed and prepare yourself with all the tips and tricks necessary to make it worthwhile.