OET Medicine: Preparation and Test Tips
Doctors seeking to move to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, UK and Ireland can now take the OET and present the OET scores as proof of English proficiency.
The OET test 4 English language skills: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. For Healthcare professionals, the OET is the easiest option to take among all English Standardized tests as the language test content is pertaining to the general health topics. The OET writing and speaking tests are profession specific and doctors would have to write and speak on patient case studies.
Although the content is healthcare specific, it is most important that in order to get a “B” or an “A” in the OET full-fledged preparation must start at least two months prior to the OET test date.
Here are a few OET preparation tips for doctors
- The reading test on the OET is the same for all professions. The texts are most taken from medical journals and talk about some healthcare facts and give some statistics regarding some research and findings on that topic.To improve on your reading skills, read a lot of medical journals and make notes. This should not be difficult as when you prepare for exams you are used to taking down notes. Make sure the passages you read are new and not from some old textbook that you have studied.
- Good reading passages are those that talk about some research or study conducted about some epidemic or some unknown disease. Note down major points in the margin. It will be easy to search for answers, if you know what each passage talks about.
- Part A of the Reading passage asks you to fill in the blanks of a given summary of the full text. You need to fill in the blanks with words from the main text. You need to complete the tasks—about 25 fill-in-the blanks within 15 minutes. Fill in the blanks may seem easy but it is better you learn how to skim reading passages. “Skimming” means to read very fast just taking in or underlining the main points of the passage.
- When noting down the answers in the blanks, check if you are noting the words down in the correct blank.
- Take a few practice tests. See how much time is given to you to complete the paper. Look at the number of questions. Calculate how much time you will get for each answer. If you get stuck on a difficult question, skip that and come back to it later if you have time.
- As each day progresses, make sure you answer all questions within time. For example, for the Reading test part A, your answer sheet will be taken away at the end of 15 minutes. If you have 25 questions, try completing quickly within 10 minutes all definite answers that you are sure of. Leave 5 minutes to search for answers that you didn’t get in the first round and for errors, spelling mistakes etc.
- Part B has 2 long texts with about 8-10 multiple choice questions for each text. For this part you get 45 minutes to complete answering. This means that you can use 20 minutes to answer questions on each text. Since the questions are arranged paragraph wise, make sure you read the text well before you make the correct choice.
- Learn more about the useful common abbreviations like RR- Respiratory rate, BID- twice a day, SOB – Shortness of breath…..
- To prepare for the listening task, listen to radio channels like ABC Radio, BBC Health, Better health and other TV or Internet channels on Health related issues. Spend 20-30 minutes listening to the radio and take down notes from what you have heard.
- In the listening test, you have to write down answers as you hear. Listen intently with full concentration and then attempt the answer. You may take down notes as you hear the audio file.
- Through internet videos and news channels from Australia and New Zealand, get used to the different accents and how the natives from these countries speak. Most listening tasks in the OET have people from Australia or New Zealand talking.
- The writing task will ask you to write a referral letter to a specialist or a care giver about a patient under your care. You will be given notes to gather information about your patient. You need to write a professional mail giving details about your patient’s medical condition, past health record and current health situation.
- Keep your letters short and precise giving all necessary information—approximately 150-200 words
- Many candidates have a tendency to copy exactly from the notes. This will not get you good scores. Read the notes and summarize them to form good ,grammatically correct sentences
- In a referral letter, first greet the person you are addressing, explain in detail about the patient’s medical condition, medications taken in the past and currently, mention allergies or any pre-condition that has to be attended to, the current situation, and most importantly, why the patient is being referred to the specialist or caregiver..
- For the speaking task, your test interviewer/speaking test administrator will play the role of a patient and you will be playing the role of a doctor. Speak confidently and be in control of the situation since you will be the one advising the patient.
- Read your part of the role play thoroughly. You must take care of each task: ask about the patient’s problems, give advice and a solution to the problem
- If the patient interrupts you, argues with you or poses unnecessary questions, do not lose your cool. Respond with sympathy and empathy.
- Although this is a speaking task, you must listen to the patient’s complaints just as you would do in real life professional situation. Assess the patient’s mood (anxious, depressed, agitated) and respond accordingly.
- You will lose marks for incorrect spellings, incomplete answers and incorrect grammar.Enrol into a coaching class to get high scores and to avoid repeating the exam.