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There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there about the OET.  Luckily, the team at E2Language are in the know and we have the answers to some of those tricky OET questions! In this post, we are going to bust the top five myths about the OET.

Myth 1: Your spelling needs to be perfect in OET Listening Part A or you will lose marks

In Listening Part A, you are required to listen to a consultation between a patient and a healthcare professional while filling in the gaps in a set of case notes, writing the words or phrases exactly as you hear them.  However, spelling words you are hearing but may have never seen written down before can be very tricky, especially when it comes to the names of conditions or medications. That’s why your spelling DOES NOT have to be perfect to get the mark for a correct answer.  You have to make sure that:

  1. the way you have spelt the word is recognisable to the assessor e.g. numonia (incorrect spelling) may still be recognised as pneumonia (correct spelling)
  2. your spelling of the word does not change the meaning of the word e.g. if you hear the word atypical but write typical, this would be considered incorrect because you have changed the word’s meaning.

Check out our 5-step guide to listening part A!

Myth 2: You need to use “fancy” grammar and vocabulary in the Writing sub-test

In the OET writing sub-test, you do not need to “show off” all the “fancy” grammar and vocabulary that you know to get a high score.  In fact, doing so may be detrimental to your score if it interferes with communication. Instead, you need to make the appropriate grammar and vocabulary choices in order to convey the information in the case notes effectively, accurately, and efficiently so that your letter is easy to read for the recipient.  

Myth 3: There is a certain number of grammar or spelling mistakes that are “allowed” in the OET Writing sub-test 

This is certainly not true.  There is no particular number of mistakes that is going to automatically affect your grade.  While frequency of errors is taken into account and you should try to minimise the errors you are making in general, the OET assessors also consider the impact of your mistakes on communication.  This means that a candidate with 5 minor errors that do not affect communication may receive a higher score than a candidate with 2 errors that severely impact on communication or result in oet

Myth 4: You will be penalised just for exceeding the word count in the Writing sub-test

This is a big myth that needs to be busted right now! The word count given for the letter in the Writing sub-test (180-200 words) is a guide.  By selecting the relevant information from the case notes carefully and expressing it in a concise way, you should usually be able to stick to this range.  However, the OET assessors count information not words, so if you exceed the word count but have included all the necessary information concisely without including any irrelevant information, then you will not be penalised just for writing more than 200 words.  But be careful! If you are consistently writing a lot more than 200 words when practising, you may need to work on choosing case notes more carefully or the conciseness of your language.

Check out our OET Writing sub-test overview!

Myth 5: The score required for a B grade in the Listening and Reading sub-tests is the same for every OET session

Both the Listening and Reading sub-tests are marked out of 42.  The raw score you need to achieve a B grade (i.e. a scale score of 350) for these sub-tests changes slightly for each test session, as it is adjusted to account for differences in the difficulty of the test material used.  However, the OET test states that the minimum score required for a B grade will usually be at least 30/42.  Nevertheless, you should aim to get as a high a score as possible every time you practice!

We hope this has cleared up some of the doubts you had about the OET myths.  If you have more questions, join the expert tutors from in our 1-on-1 tutorials or live classes.

Written by David 

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