'Can you give me some tips on how to pass the OET?'
'How can I improve my reading score?'
I have written on this topic quite a few times in the past, but today I am going to say something which may sound a bit harsh.
To pass the OET at B Level, you have to have a firm grasp on General English structures as well as a wide medical English vocabulary. YOU need to do most of the work, in developing the vocabulary you need and in practising General English grammatical structures.
What can teachers and medical English writers do for you?
In a dedicated OET prep class or online Skype class, teachers can guide you with your speaking skills. There is an opportunity to practise listening skills, by 'stopping and reviewing' each section of listening texts.
If you don't have access to a face-to-face class, think of how you can do the same yourself.
For the interview section: There are lots of podcasts about various diseases and conditions. Listen to them and make notes after each section. For example: listen to the section on the description of the condition. Stop the audio. Make notes.
What were the key terms? E.g. Nausea and vomiting 3-7 days, occasional diarrhoea, itchy rash followed by pus-filled spots, headache -tight band across forehead etc
You should build up a Word Bank of common symptoms, so that you can write them quickly (and spell them accurately) during the test.
HINT: familiarity with terms, including correct spelling is VERY IMPORTANT. It saves you time.
There are many symptoms which 'go together'. These may be classed as ONE POINT.
Learn as many of these as you can , e.g.
* nausea and vomiting (often abbreviated to N&V)
* diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V)
* coughs and colds
* aches and pains
* ups and downs (describing feelings of depression)
* fever and runny nose
Yesterday, I had a short meeting with some people from OET. We had an interesting chat about such things as Word Counts and how to write referral letters.
You may be interested in what was said:
Firstly The Word Count
From David Wiltshire
He cautions against thinking in terms of counting each word. Instead, in his opinion, if you put in the necessary facts from the Case Notes and arrange the information in a logical way (that is, always keeping in mind the person you are writing to), the word count should be reached.
Using a 'template' (e.g. paragraph 1 should have this, paragraph 2 should have.....) is not recommended, according to David. He suggests that this may stop candidates from thinking about the purpose of the letter and who they are writing to. Instead, he stresses the need to arrange information in as many paragraphs which are needed to convey the information.
I have to say that I agree with this on one level - it is very important not to simply 'copy and paste' information in a pre-set template. As David points out, it is very important that you think carefully about the information you are conveying. For instance, there may be an important piece of information which doesn't really fit with a 'template paragraph'. Do you leave it out or add it after the paragraph? ....Answer: if it is important, add the information to the letter.
My view on using a 'template' style approach varies a little from David's. I agree that each referral letter must 'fit' the Case Notes and be an individual letter,rather than an unchanged format. Having said this, I recognise that healthcare professionals are more likely to feel comfortable with completing a formulaic style hospital form, rather than writing a letter.