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Mastering the OET: The Dos for Cracking the Exam in One Setting



Hi! My name is Dr. Muhammad Tanzeel ul Haque, I am an IMG from Pakistan. Today we shall look into how to easily crack the OET exam in one go and earn an OET Gold standard badge. The occupational English test more commonly abbreviated as the OET, is a relatively easy exam to pass. A little bit of focus and concentration is all that is required.

In this blog, we will talk about:


  1. The exam format

  2. Assessing yourself

  3. Create a study plan

  4. The OET official website

  5. Enhance your listening skills

  6. Cracking the reading component

  7. Mastering at writing

  8. Practicing speaking

  9. Self-mock exam and time management

  10. Stay focused and optimistic on exam day


THE EXAM FORMAT


The OET exam consists of four subsets: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The listening, reading, and writing components are taken together while each candidate has a separate slot for speaking, that you will be informed by OET personnel through an email. The total exam takes more than 3 hours so it does get a bit tiring but do not worry, by the end of the article, you would feel more confident to sit your exam. You need a minimum B grade or 350 marks out of 500 in each subset to clear the exam to become eligible for PLAB 1.


ASSESSING YOURSELF


Assess yourself to check for your language proficiency. For this, I would recommend you do a practice test for each component. Practicing each component once will give you an insight into where you stand. Whatever may your score be, you are the judge of yourself. Further in the article, I will explain how you can work on each subset and excel without cracking your nerves.


CREATE A STUDY PLAN


The most important thing you should do is plan. Without creating a timetable for your study, you will not be able to focus and do the job at its best. An ideal time is three dedicated weeks to study for the exam. Anything more might be better but more time not necessarily means you would actually perform well. You give the most time to the subset you are weak in.


In general, divide the days of the first week. Give 2 days for reading, 2 for listening, 2 for writing, and 1 for speaking. In the description for each subset, we shall talk about how to make productive learning. Keep the last 2 days for mock exams and any time in between for practicing the weaker subsets.


THE OET OFFICIAL WEBSITE


Your first tool to check for any authentic information should be the OET official website and their social media handles. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the OET website. Over the website, there is official practice material. Use those and carefully analyse the answers given. They have also provided guidelines and marking schemes for different subsets. The more you know how you will be marked, the better you will be able to perform. This goes especially for writing and speaking components.


ENHANCE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS


The listening subset is the first component of your exam. It comprises 3 sections in a total of 45 minutes. There is time for revision but mark your answers with the audio to avoid forgetting the response. The most important aspect apart from comprehension is the accent of the listening subset. Most of the students face difficulty in comprehending the accent of the speaker. To avoid confusion, practice!


Lots of listening exercises are available on the OET website and also on YouTube channels. Practice about 30 listening subsets to ensure a satisfactory score. Check your score and revisit your mistakes, listen to the audio again to make out for the missing blanks or incorrect answers. Do not move on until you have made sure what your mistakes were.


CRACKING THE READING COMPONENT


The second subset is reading. You will be given the first section for 15 minutes, and sections B and C will be given for 45 minutes making the reading component 60 minutes long. This is one of the components where most candidates do not get the desired score. To ensure a successful mark in this subset, watch videos on YouTube to get skilled at reading.


The reading portion includes different types of texts; research articles, a conversation between staff, a lecture delivery by a physician, etc. Read as many sample papers as you can get a hand on and reflect on your errors. If you get stuck, use the internet. There are solved reading materials available on the internet, use them to correct your mistakes.


MASTERING AT WRITING


After reading comes the writing section. This is 45 minutes long where 5 minutes only for reading the case notes and 40 minutes for completing the task. You are expected to know three main types of writing tasks: referral letter, transfer letter, and discharge letter. Most of the students have problems in writing and eventually get a sub-optimal score in this subset. You need to be consistent and work smartly. Get a mentor who can assess your writing; this can be an OET expert teacher or a friend who recently cleared their OET exam.


Also, assess your writing yourself. Now, how do you mark your letter? On the OET website, you shall find a pdf titled, “WRITING Assessment Criteria and Level Descriptors”. Read the content very thoroughly, they have explained how they mark each style of writing. You can further read about each component on the OET website, they have blogs to explain all bands and criteria. The more you know what you are being marked on, the better you would frame your task.


You are being tested on how easy and relevant your communication in the healthcare sector is for your patient. That being said, you do not need fancy jargon to impress the examiners, simple and concise English would do great too. However, your punctuation and grammar should be accurate. You are also being assessed on using the relevant case notes only, so make sure to use the initial five minutes wisely.


Another tip is to get the OET writing response sheet printed and practice on that paper to accustom yourself to the exam environment.


Always leave some time at the end to review and recheck your writing. To be able to do this effectively, you will have to practice. This depends on how proficient you are at handling case notes. I also faced difficulty in deciphering and arranging the notes in relevant order initially, but with time I was able to crack the code!


PRACTICING SPEAKING


Hurray! You have reached the last part of the test. The speaking module is separate for each candidate and lasts about 20 minutes with two speaking exercises. You can access the marking scheme from the pdf SPEAKING Assessment Criteria and Level Descriptors on the website.


For practicing speaking, you need to have a study partner. You can practice over the phone if not in person. But do not worry if you cannot find someone to exercise with, I have another trick for you. Record your role-play and listen afterward. This self-assessment will make you realise not only how many ums and uhs you make while communicating but also identify any grammatical mistakes in your speech. Remember, this is an English exam and you are not being tested on your medical knowledge. You need to be confident even if you are not sure about the relevance and surety of the information.


Check the official website for recorded sessions of speaking, and relevant videos are also available on YouTube for further refining your ability to perform above par.


SELF-MOCK EXAM AND TIME MANAGEMENT


The highlight of your preparation for the exam is the mock assessment. Keep at least 2 days for the mock exam and attempt about three times. Do not forget to reflect on your mistakes for each test. Maybe at the first exam, you feel short on time but with practice, you will become better. Take the first 3 subsets together then record a speaking session.


Be your judge. Do not panic at any point, this is the preparation phase, question your shortcomings and work on the errors. Make sure you have five minutes for rechecking your writing part. This is important to avoid unnecessary blunders.


STAY FOCUSED AND OPTIMISTIC ON EXAM DAY


Here comes the final day! Go to your exam confidently. Take a good night's sleep and make sure to have your breakfast. It is a very lengthy exam and you need your energy. Remain calm and optimistic, you have done your preparation and no one can take what you have learned from you, you will ace the exam. Check your ID and wear comfortable clothing.


WANT TO KNOW MORE?


Concluding the article, OET is not a difficult exam to score well. If you need help, you can always write to us and check other relevant blogs on our website. You can register using this link; and know more about our blogs and activities. Find me as an Ambassador and Follow my profile – Muhammad Tanzeel Ul Haque - to receive regular support and advice. Thank you for reading and good luck with your exam!

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