Understand the Structure of occupational English Test(OET)
The main aim of anyone writing any exam or test is to come out excellently. In order to achieve this, one must have a great comprehension and understanding of the exam/test and its structure.
As you must have known, passing an English test is one of the requirements to study or work abroad. Understanding what is discussed here will surely aid your performance in OET.
Read also: OET: an English Language test for healthcare professionals who wish to practice abroad here
Structure of the test
OET(Occupational English Test) is divided into four sections, these are:
- Listening: spans a period of 45minutes and made up of 3 parts
- Reading: spans a period of 60minutes and also made up of 3 parts
- Writing: spans a period of 45minutes and finally,
- Speaking: spans a period of 20minutes.
It should be noted that writing and speaking are profession-specific while others test the same content for all healthcare professions.
All we have written about the four divisions of the test are just tips of the iceberg, we shall now dive into each of them for better understanding. Happy reading.
Read also: what university students should know about IELTS here
Listening is one of the language constituents that OET tests candidates on. It is made up of 3 distinct parts, a total number of 42questions which span a period of 45minutes.
In this section of the test, you will be required to hear/listen to an audio of which total length is about 40minutes(this includes recorded speech and pauses which give you time to answer your questions). The questions here are the same for all professions.
Parts of Listening section
As stated above; this part is divided into 3 parts, which are:
- Part A(Consultation Extract):
This spans a period of 10minutes. You will be required to listen to two recorded health professional-patient consultations and complete health professional’s note using the information heard.
Each question takes 5minutes period and tests your ability to identify specific information during consultation.
- Part B(Short Workplace Extract):
Here, you will be required to listen to 6 recorded extracts which may be from briefing, handover and so on. Each of these audios has a length of about 1minute and one multiple choice question attached. All questions are to be answered.
Each of these questions assesses your ability to identify detail, gist, opinion or purpose of short extracts from the healthcare workplace.
- Part C(Presentation Extracts):
This spans a period of 10minutes. You will be given the task to listen to two different extracts and answer six multiple choice questions from each extract.
This part test your ability to follow a recorded presentation or interview on a range of healthcare topics.
Here is the second language constituent tested in OET. Like listening section, it is made up of 3 distinct parts with a total number of 42questions which spans a 60minutes period.
It should be noted that questions are the same for all professions.
Parts of Reading Section
- Part A(Expeditious Reading Task):
In this part, four short texts will be presented to you and you are required to answer 20questions within the period of 15minutes. The questions may be of different forms ranging from matching sentence completion to short answer questions.
This questions examines your ability to locate specific information from the short texts in a quick and efficient manner.
- Part B and C(Careful Reading Task):
A period of 45minutes will be used here.
In part B, six short texts each of about 100-150 words sourced from healthcare workplace will be presented to you and you are required to answer one three-options multiple choice question for each text. This part assesses your ability to identify detail, gist or main point.
In part C, two longer texts each of about 800 words will be given to you and you are required to answer 8 four-options multiple choice questions for each text. These questions examines your ability to identify detailed meaning and opinion.
Here is the third section of OET, it is professional-specific as opposed to the two we already discussed. A period of 45minutes is used in this section.
In this section, one task is set for each profession based on typical workplace situation and the demand for the profession. This task is to write letter, usually but not limited to a referral letter. Others are letter of transfer and discharge, a letter to advise or inform a patient, carer or group can also be used in pharmacy, veterinary medicine, speech pathology and occupational therapy. For radiographer, it can be a letter of response to a complaint.
Information to be used in your response will be supplied.
We have come to the final section of OET test, this spans a period of 20minutes. As it is in writing section, it is designed specifically for your profession. Here, you are required to play a role in your profession and examiner plays a patient, client, relative or carer role. This depends on the role given to you.
Information as regards the role play will be provided and you have the right to ask questions on what you are not certain of during the preparatory period(3minute). Each role play takes a period of 5minutes.
The following are examined during the role play:
- Appropriateness of language
- Resources of grammar and expression
- Relationship building
- Understanding and incorporating the patient’s perspective
- Providing structure
- Information gathering
- Information giving
We hope you do find this article beneficial. I wish you all the best in your test.