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OET Speaking Tips: How to score an A in 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 to when you speak. Your OET results will depend on how well you include the following criteria into the way you speak.

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-Sample image

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?
        1. 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 your 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 use 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 Jay Merlo

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