How to Pass OET Speaking: Three Steps to Success

Do you require some OET preparation material on how to pass OET speaking sub-test? In this article, Jay from E2Language will give you three simple steps for you to follow that will help you ace your OET examination! 

Fill out the form below to receive a list of simplified medical vocabulary you can use on the OET!

In the OET speaking exam the examiner will hand you a role play card. You will have a few minutes to prepare and then you will converse for up to five minutes.

To ace this part of the exam you need to follow a structure. You need three steps:

Step 1: initiate the conversation

Step 2: maintain the conversation and;

Step 3: conclude the conversation.

Initiating the conversation

It’s important to understand that although this is an English speaking exam it is a workplace simulation. As such, you are not the candidate; you are the medical professional. You need to take charge of the conversation.

When you look at the role play card the first section is the ‘scenario’. This section will tell you whether you know the patient or whether this is the first time you are meeting the patient. Use this information to construct your opening statement. If you know the patient then you can say something like:

Mrs Smith, it’s good to see you again.

Or if you don’t know the patient you can say something like:

Hello my name is Mr Doctor. What’s your name?

You then need to begin the consultation. It’s important that you follow the tasks on the role play card. They are your guide posts. Use them constructively. Understand that your tasks will relate directly to the patient’s tasks.

In a word, your tasks are ‘interconnected’. If you have to ask about “Meals on Wheels” you can be sure that the patient’s role play card will also have something there about “Meals on Wheels”. The role play cards are constructed in such a way that if you follow the tasks the conversation will follow a logical path.

How to pass OET speaking: Maintaining the conversation

OET examiners are not allowed to maintain the conversation. If it dries up, it is up to you to continue the conversation – not the OET examiner. You need to learn how to ask open-ended questions, not closed questions. Put simply ask questions that make the patient speak. Don’t ask questions that simply elicit a yes/no answer.

Don’t speak about nothing …

how to pass OET speaking
If the conversation is drying up, don’t speak gibberish, remember to speak with confidence about the topic by asking open ended questions.

Although this is your speaking exam, you are being assessed on your ability to converse – not talk, the difference being that if you just talk, you are not talking with the patient. You need to engage the patient in a meaningful conversation. In short, you need to listen. Actually, you need to do three things:

Three tips on how to pass OET speaking: 

a) Glance (at the task)

b) Speak

c) Listen

This is a cycle that you will follow for the full five minutes. You will glance at the role play card, ask a question of give a statement then listen to the patient’s response and either glance at the role play card again or answer the patient’s concern before glancing at the role play card.

If the conversation dies then you need to revive it. One way to do this is to prompt the patient to speak about something. For example, let’s say that you can see on your role play card something about ‘trouble while driving’.

So you know that the patient knows that he/she has trouble while driving. Why not ask him/her about that? Even though the topic has not been raised yet, you can simple ask: “Can you tell me about the problems you have while driving?” The patient will then begin to speak about that particular issue and the conversation will be revived. Keep it alive!

Another way to maintain the conversation is to complete the tasks in order. It’s not a good idea to skip tasks or do them in a random order. You don’t get points for being creative with the tasks. You just need to follow the logical order given to you and if you do happen to miss one then you can always come back to it.

How to pass OET speaking: It’s not a difficult puzzle (thankfully!) 

How to Pass OET Speaking
Follow the logical steps of the task card and you should come out on top!

Concluding the conversation

It’s difficult to tell how long you have been speaking for but if you take a tutorial with E2Language then you will have a much better idea. Either way, at the end of the conversation it’s a good idea to conclude it. You can this by summarizing the tasks that you have spoken about.

This is a neat way to chew up the extra time and it adds a sense of professionalism to your role play rather than you sitting there awkwardly. For example, you can say something like: “It’s been good chatting to you Mrs Smith. Let’s summarize what we have spoken about today. Firstly, you mentioned… You also described…” Of course, you don’t have to use your memory here; you can use your task card to remind you about what you spoke about to make a great conclusion.

Initiate, maintain and conclude

If want to know how to pass OET speaking, you’ve now found these key three steps: initiate, maintain, conclude. You will feel more confident on test day because you won’t have to ask the OET person what to do. You will know what to do. The biggest take home message is that you need to be professional. The OET examiners are listening for your ability to engage in a professional way and that means that you know how to start, continue and end a conversation as a nurse, doctor, dentist or physiotherapist, etc.

I hope you have found this OET preparation article helpful; make sure you use the three steps to to enhance your OET Speaking sub-test score! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any of your own tips on how to pass OET speaking, or if you have any concerns about the OET speaking section in general. 

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Written by Jay.

OET Speaking Tips – Get an A on the OET speaking

After sharing our tips on OET Writing, we now have some OET Speaking tips. If you want to get an A (or B) on the OET speaking sub-test then you need to know what the examiners are listening for when you speak. Your OET results will depend on how well you include the following criteria into the way you speak.

Fill out the form below to receive a list of simplified medical vocabulary you can use on the OET!

OET Speaking Tips 1 – Start the conversation

A lot of candidates make the mistake of thinking that the OET speaking sub-test is an examination and not a medical situation. As such they wait for the OET person (the patient) to do the talking. Imagine that you are in a professional setting and you are the nurse, doctor or dentist. You are in control. The OET person is the patient – not the OET person.

As such, it’s up to you to start the conversation.

Here’s an OET sample for nurses:

“Hello, my name is Jane and I’m the community nurse. Can I start with your name?”

Don’t sit there and make the patient start the conversation. It’s up to you.


OET Speaking Tips 2 –  Keep the conversation moving

It’s also up to you to maintain the conversation. If the conversation stops and silence happens you need to bring it back to life.

Here’s a sample:

“So, please tell me a little bit more about your situation.”


“Is there anything that you would like to add?”

OET Speaking Tips 3 – Ask questions to get the patient to talk

If the patient is reluctant to speak, you will need to ask questions that force him to speak.

Consider the following two questions. Which one will get the conversation moving?

  1. Do you feel sore?
  2. Can you describe the pain to me?

Question A would give you a Yes or a NO answer.

You need to think of questions that will get the patient to talk – to open up and tell you more.

OET Speaking Tips 4 – Listen to the patient

Although the OET speaking sub-test is a test of your speaking ability, it is as much a test of your listening ability. In order to “reply” you need to understand what the patient says.

Perhaps more importantly, you need to “listen” in terms of hearing what the person has to say. Don’t just concentrate on your performance, concentrate on communication. You need to respond appropriately to what the patient says – even if you are nervous.

What’s interesting is that the more that you concentrate on communication through listening the less nervous you will be. When you focus on yourself – on your performance – the more nervous you will get.

OET Speaking Tips 5 – Adjust your language

Depending on who you are speaking to, you need to adjust your language to suit the scenario.

Think about this:

You are talking to a depressed 87-year-old man.

You are talking to an aggressive 18-year-old man.

How would your language change? How would the words and intonation change?

OET Speaking Tips 6 – Unexpected turns…

Every now and then the OET person will test you by asking you something a little odd. He or she wants to see how well you respond – how flexible you are in your thinking and language.

For example, “What’s the phone number of the occupational therapist?”

What do you do? Do you laugh? No. You give a phone number, or you say:

“I will give you the number after our consultation.”

OET Speaking Tips 7 – Organise the role play

If you really want an A you will have to organise the role play into clear stages with an introduction, body and conclusion.

In the introduction you introduce yourself, welcome the patient and summarise the scenario.

In the body you move through the tasks, one-by-one.

In the conclusion, if you have time, you should summarize the role play by saying:

“Ok, so we have discussed the use of X and although I understand you concerns, I think it’s the best thing to do.”

The key to OET speaking

Although you can read ABOUT the OET all day long, when it comes to success it’s all about OET preparation. You need to prepare for the OET. You do need to be careful of the OET material for nurses that is available online and for sale on Gumtree and other classifieds. Sometimes it can be very different from the actual OET. You need to make sure that the OET materials that you use are similar to the actual OET test. At E2Language, we uses OET materials that are identical to the actual OET so you can be sure that your OET preparation is effective.

An OET preparation course is a good idea, but again, you need to choose carefully. Many teachers don’t really understand the OET. While they may be able to give you an OET sample test for nurses, do they really know how to teach it? A good OET teacher is very rare because it is an uncommon test.

If you want to get optimal results then check out our OET preparation course at because we are OET experts. We are the OET’s only authorised partner. We specialise in getting OET candidates the OET results that they need and we do it FAST.


Written by Jarrad Merlo.