11 Tips to Score Higher in OET Writing Sub Test

OET or the Occupational English language test is the English language test used to assess the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals. This assessment is specifically designed for those health care professionals who are non-native English speakers wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment.

Just like other English language assessment tests, the OET tests the candidate on their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

The writing section of the OET consists of 1 task. The section’s task involves writing a referral letter from the given case notes and the length of the letter needs to be between 180-200 words. You need to select information from the case notes according to the task, then create a logical structure for your letter and make sure that the letter is written in your own words.

The writing task is evaluated based on six areas each of which are assigned a specific score. These are: 

  1. Purpose
  2. Content
  3. Conciseness & Clarity
  4. Organisation and layout
  5. Language 
  6. Genre & Style

How can you make sure to score well in all these areas? We have written a list of pointers that will help you ace the test.

  1. Read the task carefully: The task is undoubtedly the most important part of the case notes. It is the first thing that you need to look at in the 5 minutes reading time. The task contains details on WHO you are writing to and WHY. By understanding the task, you will be able to frame your letter accordingly.
  2. Select relevant information: Once you have understood the task then you will be able to choose only the information relevant with it. That is because the case notes will contain extra information like medical history of the patient, and such so be sure to use only the information that is required.
  3. Organise the case notes: Make sure that you turn the case notes into clear and distinct paragraphs. You should structure the letter into introduction, body and ending to make sure that it is coherent.  
  4. Additional essential details: When writing the letter make sure that you do not skip out on any additional information about the patient that may be relevant. The information can be insignificant but may be required by the caregiver.   
  5. Paraphrase: Do not copy the sentences from the case notes. You need to paraphrase all the information. It is important to tell a story to the reader. Thus, you should take the case notes and re-work them so that they make sense and fulfil the task.
  6. Mention purpose of the letter: After you have thoroughly read the task you will have identified the purpose of the letter. Now you need to make sure that you communicate it in the letter by creating an introductory sentence and using the right verbs to signal to the reader the purpose of your letter.
  7. Conciseness and clarity: You have a word limit on how long your letter can be. So, you have to make sure that you write it concisely and clearly. Your letter should relay the intended message. 
  8. Formal writing style: A referral letter is meant to be written in a formal manner. So, ensure that letter follows a formal language, vocabular and writing style.
  9. Proper language: You will be assessed on different elements of the language such as grammar and punctuation. And you need to demonstrate that you can apply them properly while writing.
  10. Ending: Your ending should include what is needed from the receiver of the letter. You will have mentioned the request in the introductory sentence, but you must make it more explicit in the final paragraph.
  11. Read sample task letters: Finally, reading through sample tasks and letters will help you get a better understanding of how to attempt the section. 

Want to take OET? Enroll for the OET exam practice online at OETPractice.net