Use of Colloquial Expressions in OET Writing Sub Test

Use of colloquial expressions in OET writing sub-test is common. There are words, word-groups or expressions that are used informally in day-to-day conversations. 

You can use these expressions in your OET writing sub-test. There is no such rule that you should use only formal english. As long as your letter is grammatically correct and fulfils the given task, it is enough. You will get a good score. 

Make sure that the vocabulary you use should be good. You do not have to invent new words or expressions by combining two different or irrelevant words.  

Use of colloquial language 

One thing that you have to pay attention to is that you shall use them come in their natural form and you shall not try to innovate. 


It is very common to say “Abdominal pain.” You can also say “Stomach Cramps.” or “Stomach Pain.”

But, it is better to avoid saying “Abdomen Pain” or “Stomach Paining.” These look weird too.

We say “ankle sprain” or in more common English “twisted ankle” but we do not say “Spraining Ankle or “Ankle Twisting.”

Similarly we say abdominal muscles or stomach muscles (abs or six pack). But we do not say “abdomen muscles.” 

Another example is “adverse effect” or “side effect.” We do not say “adverse effecting” or “side effected” or “side effecting.”

Some common words/word-groups or expressions are listed down for you. 

  • Anorexia means loss of appetite.
  • Febrile means burning up or feverish.
  • Heat stroke is nothing but sunstroke
  • Good cholesterol is referred to as high-density lipoprotein
  • Deciduous teeth means baby teeth or more commonly called milk teeth.
  • Common cold stands for sniffle
  • Arthritis is referred to stiff joints.
  • Chronic pain means persistent pain.  
  • Anaemia is referred to as iron deficiency.
  • Analgesics are painkillers. 
  • Dementia denotes confusion.
  • Dental caries will mean rotten tooth.
  • Complex carbohydrates are meant to say carbs 
  • Indication is used to say side effects.
  • Infected means you have caught something.
  • Acne  are generally referred to as teenage spots or zits. These are the pimples or spots. 
  • Amnesia  is called memory loss or it also means blackout.
  • Influenza is short form for flu.
  • Inhaler is also called puffer
  • Dental pain is called toothache and similarly dental restoration means filling. 
  • Dermis is skin.
  • Hirsutism is referred to as hairiness.
  • In vitro fertilisation is all about a test tube baby.
  • Restless sleep is tossing and turning. 
  • Rigidity is referred to as stiffness. 
  • Sutures means stitches. 
  • Lethargy means tiredness. 
  • Hypertension is high blood pressure. 
  • Hematemises is vomiting up blood. 


Want to score higher in your OET writing sub-test? It is time that you spend time practicing OET. Without practice or proper OET training it can be difficult. OET practice will help you understand the complex nature of this medical test. At, you can take sample tests and improve your skills. 

Share this article on