We asked our OET Experts for some common mistakes made in the Writing sub-test. Are you guilty of these top three?
1. Using ‘rule out’ to mean ‘confirm’
Rule out means to eliminate or exclude something which is impossible. However, sometimes people make the mistake of switching the meaning around.
- The case notes say: pneumonia – ruled out (X-ray).
- The letter written by the student reports: The patient has pneumonia.
In the example above, the X-ray reveals the patient does not have pneumonia i.e. the exact opposite of what the student wrote.
2. Using ‘complaint’ instead of ‘compliant’
This mistake might be because of a typo as the spelling of the two words is very similar.
- The case notes say: medication - taking regularly as per instructions.
- The letter written by the student reports: The patient is complaint with their medication.
This sentence gives the suggestion that the patient is unhappy with their medication because of the misspelling. With the correct spelling, the sentence would explain that the patient is taking their medication correctly.
3. Using ‘advice’ instead of ‘advise’
This mistake could also be because of a typo but more commonly because the student is not familiar that one is a noun and the other a verb
- The case notes say: smoking - methods to quit discussed.
- The letter written by the student reports: The patient was adviced to quit smoking.
Here, it should be a verb—‘was advised’—to be grammatically accurate.
Make sure you keep an eye out for these common errors when you’re writing! For more preparation tips, check out the OET blog.