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Speaking Overview

How does the Speaking sub-test work?

The speaking sub-test consists of 3 parts and will take a total of 20 minutes.

First you will have a “warm up” conversation with the interlocutor. The interlocutor is the person who will be your conversation partner for this section of the test, but they are not assessing your performance. The warm-up conversation will not be assessed, and is meant to relax you and get you comfortable with your conversation partner. They will most likely explain to you how the speaking section works and then ask you about your previous work, future plans and interests. Again, this conversation will not count towards your mark, so all you need to do is relax and get comfortable.

After you have warmed up, you will be given a role-play card with a scenario on it. The scenario will be similar to a real-life situation you might encounter in your particular profession. For example, if you are a doctor, the scenario will most involve a patient or patient’s carer asking for information, advice and reassurance. Once you have been given the role-play card, you will have 2-3 minutes to read it and prepare yourself to begin. This is the time in which you are allowed to ask your conversation partner to clarify anything you do not understand. You are allowed to ask questions about how the role-play will work and about any of the content you see on the role-play card. You may also write anything you want on the card before you begin.

Finally, you will participate in  the role-play for about 5 minutes. After you have completed this, you will be given another role-play card and you will repeat the process of reading it, asking any questions you have, and playing it out with your conversation partner.

It’s important to note that you will not be assessed during the live conversation you have with your conversation partner. Instead, your two scenarios will be recorded and assessed at a later time. Again, the warm up conversation will not be recorded.

 Example of a Role-Play Scenario

*Please note, this role-play is specific to nurses*

Candidate = You

Role Player = Your conversation partner

Screenshot 2016-06-23 13.51.14 Screenshot 2016-06-23 13.51.06

This practice content was obtained from the official Cambridge OET website. For more free, downloadable practice content, visit: