Please send me free hints, so I can pass the OET this Saturday.
I got a C in Writing last time. I need a B. How can I do this?
How can I get a B in Reading B?
These are some of the requests I receive on a regular basis. So, today's post is going to focus on PREPARATION FOR OET. Before I start, it's worth telling you a bit about what I have been doing lately. I consult for a wonderful group called SLC (Specialist Language Courses). In fact, I am Head of Medical English for SLC. You may find the Knowledge Bank section of the SLC website a useful resource for medical English and for articles about current changes to acceptance of medical English tests in the UK (that is, the OET).
SLC has just been accepted as one of the five authorised online OET Preparation Providers; logos are soon to be uploaded to the OET website. The OET has just been accepted for nurses wanting to work in the UK. This means a big expansion for OET.. You may have noticed recent changes to the OET official website. There is quite a bit of preparation material for you there, as well as updated information about test sites.
I am currently working with SLC to finalise our online OET preparation resources, but also manage to keep up a few hints and tips along the way. So, let's have a look at PREPARATION now. You may notice that I put the word in capitals? This is because it is a vital part of your success in the OET, when you finally take the test. Here are some basics:
1. Before you start, think about where your General English level is now. You need to be at least Upper Intermediate (B2), to be able to manage the test well.
2. Think about your current skills:
Reading: Can you scan for key terms and understand them in context?
Can you comprehend technical texts (medical) and answer multiple choice questions?
Listening: Can you listen for key information during a conversation about a health issue?
Can you listen for key terms in a lecture on a health topic?
Writing: Do you know how to write a referral letter?
Can you extract key facts from Case Notes?
Can you structure paragraphs which flow and make sense?
Speaking: Can you manage a typical conversation with 4-5 tasks?
Can you manage both basic and complex language functions?
Can you keep control of a conversation?
3. Now think about how much time you need to bring up your level to what is expected to get a B. As a guide, most preparation courses in language schools or online work on a rough guide of 120 hours of tuition. Around 30 hours per skill. You may need more than that on one skill, but be OK with another skill. For example, you don't have problems with the Reading sub-test, but find speaking difficult.
Many candidates find the Writing sub-test difficult, because it is a completely different sort of activity from their experience. It is often unfamiliar. It is therefore very important that you understand what the Writing test is about; how it is structured and how you need to answer it (write a referral letter).
4. Resources to help you:
I have written several books which are available on my page on Amazon. Examples are:
OET Hints for the Writing Subtest for Nurses Book 2
Occupational English Test Writing for Nurses
Occupational English Test Speaking for Nurses
Occupational English Test Hints 2014
Occupational English Test Sample Role Plays
OET Pharmacy Prep Speaking Sub-Test
The Store: Resources
On The Store you will find:
- several pdfs of the books above, as well as pdfs for shorter topics
- Writing lessons for Nurses and Doctors; these include a pdf of Case Notes which you use to write your referral letter (saved as a Word doc). Email me the completed letter and I will correct it and give you feedback
Do's and Don'ts
- do not expect to pass the test without proper preparation, by relying on 'Tips and Hints'
- start preparing at least 2-3 months before the test; a little bit each day is better than a whole lot the day before
- be realistic about the time needed to prepare for the test
- keep updated on changes to the test
- know exactly how long it will take you to get to the test centre comfortably
- practise relaxation techniques, so that you arrive calm and ready to do your best