10 Most Important OET Pharmacy Speaking Tips:
OET Pharmacy Speaking Test Overview:
- The OET Speaking test is profession specific. For Pharmacy candidates the role play will be related to your subject.
- OET Pharmacy test takers will get two speaking tasks each. You will be given a role players card—make notes as you prepare for speaking. (You can take about 3 minutes to prepare for the task).
- Each speaking task would be a role-play where the examiner would play the role of a client and the test taker would play the role of a pharmacist. Your role will be to interact with the client and answer specific questions. You will have to counsel him on his medicine intake and on what is good and bad for him/her. You do not have to diagnose the disease nor do you need to examine the patient.
- Read the task well. Completion of task is most important. *(See sample role play).You have to explain, reassure, disagree, counsel your client—all that the role players card asks you to do.
- For one role-play you will interact with your examiner for approximately 7-10 minutes. During your conversation you will be assessed for your English Communication skills and not your professional skills. If you do not have enough knowledge about a given drug in the role-play, that’s fine. You will be assessed only on how you are able to resolve the tasks given to you in the role play.
- In most cases, the client will be fussy, agitated, anxious, unwilling to listen. You as a pharmacist, will have to provide good advice, calm the client and explain further course of action.
- Your examiner will also have a card.As the test taker, you will never know what card your examiner will have. Therefore depend entirely on your own role-play card.Know what to expect. Clues will be given on your card as well.*(will be explained in the sample role play below)
- Expect your examiner to ask you unrelated questions; repeatedly argue with you; act difficult; be anxious—all these roles are purposely played by your examiner to test your patience and ability to answer. At all times be firm and calm and never get aggressive or argumentative with your client.
- Your OET Speaking scores will be based on your speaking the English language correctly and with fluency. Learn a few sentences that you should use while speaking to a client. Learn also to have a calm and reassuring expression on your face and in your voice and tone. Greet your client with a smile and be warm and understanding.
- Use good English vocabulary and correct grammar while speaking and asking questions. Practice a few role plays with a friend before you take the test.If you feel your English speaking skills are not very good, take the help of a certified English Trainer or join an English class.
Take this role-play for example:
Candidate’s card no.1
SETTING – Community Pharmacy
A client presents at the pharmacy requesting a large box (100 tablets) of Drug Y. Drug Y is a sympathomimetic preparation used to clear nasal congestion. The drug is a stimulant and is often used (abused) by truck drivers to help them stay awake. It is also used (abused) by people trying to lose weight. In order not to restrict legitimate use of the drug unduly, small packets of tablets (20 tablets) are available on a pharmacist’s recommendation. Packets containing more than 20 tablets can only be supplied on a doctor’s prescription.
- Explain that a doctor’s prescription is required for packets of more than 20 Drug Y tablets.
- Explain the reasons for the legislation.
- Explain that you would be breaking the law if you supplied a large box of tablets without a prescription.
- Try to persuade the client to visit his/her doctor to discuss how the medical condition should best be managed during the trip and to arrange appropriate medication.
Here are some easy steps to follow while playing your part of the role:
- Jot down notes against every task—you have 4 tasks:expaining the importance of getting a prescription;explaining the legislation; explaining that you cannot break the law and also recommending what the client should do next—which is, consult a doctor and come back with a prescription.
- Take charge of the situation right from the beginning. You must expect some conflict here as you can see that your client is asking for a large amount of acontrolled drug without prescription. You absolutely cannot give the client the drugs without prescription. In this role play you have to be firm and strong, unwilling to give in to your client’s demands as you will be breaking the law if you did hand over the drugs. Expect your examiner to give you a hard time, arguing and even shouting at you. You will, however have to remain calm.
- In this case you have to start the task by asking for a prescription.
“Good morning, how may I help you? May I see your doctor’s prescription?”
- Your client has not got a prescription and you have to begin by explaining to your client that for these drugs you need to get a prescription.
“We have a problem here, ma’am/sir, I see that you are request is for 100 tablets. As per law I cannot give you more than 20 tablets without a doctor’s prescription. “
Expect your client to be agitated by now…her/his argument would definitely be that he/she needs 100 tablets (maybe she is going on a long trip, maybe she wants to send them to somebody, maybe somebody has told her that the pharmacy will supply drugs without prescription)
- Always change your tone, language and attitude to suit the age and situation of the client. You may have to be firm and calm most of the time, in order to be heard and in order to convince your client.
If your client says for example that she needs these drugs immediately and she has no time to get a prescription from a doctor, then you could say,
“I understand it is hard for you to find time to go to the doctor immediately. I am authorised to give you 20 tablets, without a prescription. Will that be ok for now? In a couple of days you could visit the doctor and get a prescription. You could send somebody with the prescription and I will hand over the tablets to them.”
By trying to resolve a problem and giving a further plan of action, you could probably calm your agitated client down and force her/him to think of an option.
- One of your tasks is to explain why you need a prescription. Explain why there is a law.
“The Government is very strict in regulating the use of this drug since many people abuse this drug. Do you know that many truck drivers are addicted to it because they use them to stay awake the whole night? More dangerous is the fact that many young kids use this drug for weight loss. Since at the pharmacy we cannot determine why our client is buying these drugs, we have been asked not to supply more than 20 tablets without a prescription. I wish I could help you here.”
- If your client further persists and refuses to leave, you must firmly but politely let her/him know that you yourself are at risk of getting arrested and your pharmacy shut down. You may get fired from your job and probably never get another job if you break the law.
While you are speaking, always make sure that you let your client know that you are on his/her side and that you would really like to help her/him.
“I wish I could do something to help you here but if I break the law then I might get arrested and charged, lose my job and the pharmacy shut. I just cannot risk that ma’am/sir, I hope you understand.”
Make sure that you never suggest that the client is asking you to break the law but is just trying hard to get the tablets he/she requires. You must always be on the client’s side and try and empathise with her/his situation.
- Your client might try and tell you that he/she will never abuse the drug and you can check her/his history. He/she might get offended—these are tactics to pressurize you into giving her/him the drugs without prescription.
However, never buckle under pressure. You need to be firm and go back to your earlier suggestion that you give your client 20 tablets for now and he/she comes back with a prescription for the rest.
- In order to persuade your client to go back and get a prescription you could ask a few questions like:
“Ok,so when do you want the medicines by?”
“How many tablets do you have to take per day?”
“If you miss a dose what happens?”
“Can I suggest another over the counter milder drug to help you on days you have run out of this medicine?”
Asking questions reassures the client that you are concerned for his/her health issues and that you are not simply getting into an argument about legal procedures. By trying to help your client, he/she will have to stop arguing and start thinking on an alternative method to solve his/her problem.
- 10. Gently suggest to your client that he/she needs to get a prescription. Also, to make sure that he/she is happy let him/her know that you will keep all the medicines ready when he/she comes with the prescriptions.
“So, Mrs.___________, when’s your flight tomorrow? 6 in the evening? May I suggest that you go to ___________________clinic where Dr.___________ sits? Take all your medical history to her and explain your situation. See what the doctor suggests. I am sure she can give a prescription. I have had several clients in your situation come to me.More often than not, I have seen that you will get a prescription for legitimate use of the drug. You can call me or text me that you have the prescription and I will see that the tablets are packed and ready within an hour. We are open until 9.30 pm today and open tomorrow by 8.00 am—just come in any time and pick up the tablets”
“Why don’t you meet your doctor today? Maybe you can call her/him ahead of the appointment and tell her/him your situation. I am sure he/she will help you since he/she best knows your condition”
- 11. You must conclude your role-play /conversation with your client after you make sure he/she is happy with your suggestion. Again ask appropriate questions to make sure and to suggest further course of action.
“Are you ok with this?”
Is there anything else you need me to do?”
Do you want me to give you Dr.’_____________ s number?
I can write for you a few drug names that will help you with your nasal congestion—just in case you are not able to get a prescription. That way you are safe while you travel—you can get it at any pharmacy without prescription and you don’t have to carry a lot of drugs with you all over the place”
You have to come across as being helpful and genuinely concerned.
- 12. Say goodbye, cheerfully. Tell her/him that you hope to see her him/soon with the prescription.
“Bye Mrs.______________, hope to see you soon. We are open till 9.30 pm today. Just give me a call and I will do the needful.”