Q: How is this section structured?

A. This section is all about verbal competency. First you will be given the chance to “warm up”, meaning you will have a brief chat with the interlocutor before you begin, and this will not be assessed. Next, you will be given two scenarios that you will play out with the interlocutor. In these scenarios, you will play the role of professional consultant and the interlocutor will be your patient or patient’s carer. Your speaking in these role plays will be recorded and assessed.

Q. What skills are being tested in this section?

A. This section is about assessing 5 key criteria:

  1. Overall Communicative Effectiveness: This is how well you can maintain a meaningful interaction with the patient throughout the role play. This means you are able to:
    • initiate the conversation
    • maintain the conversation
    • communicate confidently
    • use appropriate medical terms
    • use the information from the role-play card
    • wrap up the task in approximately 5 minutes
  2. Intelligibility: This is your ability to be heard and understood by your patient. This includes a demonstration of skill in:
    • pronunciation
    • rhythm
    • stress
    • intonation
    • pitch
    • accent
  3. Fluency: This is your ability to speak continuously and smoothly without too much hesitation or repetition. This includes:
    • a natural speed
    • even (not broken into fragments) speech
    • few ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’
    • pauses
    • avoiding re-starting sentences
  4. Appropriateness: This is how well you use the language and tone that fits the context of your situation and your patient. This means:
    • suitable, professional language
    • appropriate paraphrasing and rewording
    • adaptation of tone and style to suit the particular situation
    • appropriate responses to what the patient says
    • dealing with complicated situations
    • showing awareness of the patient’s sensitivities
  5. Resources of Grammar and Expression: This is your level of grammar and vocabulary. This includes:
    • appropriate sentence structures
    • flexibility of grammar and vocabulary
    • accuracy of language
    • complexity of language

Q. How many times will I have to do this task?

A. You will warm up with the interlocutor once, and you will complete two role-plays in total. The format of these role-plays will be the same but they will be two different scenarios.

Q. Will this sub-test be specific to my profession?

A. Yes, both the speaking and writing sub-tests will relate to your profession. This is so your knowledge of situations and terminology that occur within your profession can be assessed as well. For example, if you are a nurse, your role play will be different from that of a doctor. It will be as close as possible to a real interaction with a patient or carer that you might have in your specific work environment.