OET Writing: A Beginner’s Guide to the Sub-Test

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a widely recognized English language proficiency test designed specifically for healthcare professionals. It assesses the language skills of healthcare providers who wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment. The test covers all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In this article, we will focus on the Writing sub-test and provide a comprehensive guide for beginners.

What is the OET Writing Sub-Test?

The OET Writing sub-test is designed to assess a healthcare professional’s ability to write a letter, usually a referral letter, based on a set of case notes. The case notes are related to the candidate’s profession and provide information about a patient’s condition, treatment, and other relevant details. The candidate’s task is to analyze the case notes, select the most important information, and write a clear, well-structured letter to a fellow healthcare professional.

Test Day and Duration:

On the day of the test, candidates are given a booklet containing the case notes and a blank answer sheet for writing the letter. The writing sub-test lasts for 45 minutes, which includes 5 minutes of reading time. During the reading time, candidates are expected to read the case notes carefully and make notes, if necessary. They are not allowed to start writing the letter during this time.

How is the OET Writing Sub-Test Assessed?

The OET Writing sub-test is assessed based on six criteria: purpose, content, conciseness and clarity, genre and style, organization and layout, and language. To achieve a high score, candidates must write a letter that effectively fulfills the communicative purpose, includes all relevant information from the case notes, is clear and concise, follows the conventions of a formal healthcare letter, is well-structured and easy to navigate, and demonstrates a strong command of English grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation. Familiarizing oneself with these criteria and using them to guide writing practice is essential for success on the Writing sub-test.

The OET Writing sub-test is assessed based on six criteria:

To achieve a Grade A in the OET Writing sub-test, a candidate must score at least 350 out of 500 possible points. This means that the letter should effectively meet all the criteria mentioned above.

Tips for Preparation:


The OET Writing sub-test may seem daunting for beginners, but with proper understanding, preparation, and practice, it is certainly manageable. By focusing on the assessment criteria, utilizing the available resources, and honing your skills through regular practice, you can confidently approach the Writing sub-test and achieve your desired score. Remember, the key to success is to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in a healthcare context through a well-written, professional letter.






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