OET Writing Word Count Problems

Many OET candidates have questions about the word limit for the writing test. 

They would like to know which words will be counted and which words will not be counted in the test. 

Are the words with hyphens counted as one word or two different words?
What if the candidate doesn’t reach the word count as given for the task?
What if the candidate’s word count for the answer increases?

This post will answer all the questions given above. 

What is the real purpose of the word limit in the OET writing sub-test?

The word count of 180-200 words for the writing sub-test is actually given for the purpose of guiding you. If there is no word limit, candidates may get confused about how many words to write. Some may write less or some may write more. It will be difficult to assess the answers. Therefore, word count is there as a guide for the candidates. But, it is also  important that you shall create the answer as per the given rules. 

Which words will be counted in the test?

You may write at the start of the letter, date, and address.  You will address the recipient with his or her name. But these words will not be counted. The words that write at the beginning such as greetings will not be counted. Closing sentence will not be counted.

Only the words that form the body of the letter will be counted. But, again, there is a small problem. If you use words that we generally use to begin informal letters such as how are you, hope you are doing well, and other sentences then you will lose marks. These words will not be taken into consideration.  

Unnecessary or unrelated words 

You are also not supposed to write words that are not important. Most of the candidates in order to reach the given word count try to add some extra words. 

They supply adjectives or adverbs unnecessarily. 

For instance:

Correct: The patient was confused. 
Incorrect: The patient was highly confused. 

Correct: The patient was restless and sleepless. 
Incorrect: The patient was so restless that he couldn’t sleep at night.

Correct: High fever, headache, and loss of appetite. 
Incorrect: Very high fever it was above 100°F. The patient also complained of very severe headache and loss of appetite. 

Remember, you are not supposed to exemplify health conditions. When you say high fever, any medical professional will think it is close to 100 or above 100. So, you do not have to describe the actual readings. 

Do you have to count your words?

Of course, not. You do not have to count your words. You need to assess the word count by focusing more on the words per line. Most of the candidates waste their time counting the words they java written. Instead, focus on proofreading or making grammatical corrections. That is recommended. 

Want to take OET? Get ready for the OET. Enroll for the OET online training at OETPractice.net. 

Share this article on