...Blogs OET Speaking: taking learnings from the test into your career
OET Speaking: taking learnings from the test into your career

A doctor is talking to her patient on a computer and taking notes

If you are a healthcare worker and you need to take a language proficiency test, OET is the right test for you. In this blog, we will talk about the OET Speaking sub-test specifically, how it reflects your everyday healthcare roles and how it aids in enhancing your professional growth.


What is the OET Speaking sub-test?

First, let's understand what the OET Speaking sub-test is. It has been designed to check your ability to communicate well in different healthcare situations. It includes two role plays. Each role play lasts about five minutes. You take your professional role (e.g., doctor, nurse, pharmacist etc) and an interlocutor plays the part of your patient or their carer. The role plays are based on situations you might experience in your work.

Your role plays are recorded and then assessed by at least two OET assessors who use the nine Speaking Assessment Criteria to rate your performance.

You can find free sample Speaking tests on the OET website and watch guided practice tests for your profession in our YouTube playlist here: Sample Speaking tests.


OET Speaking sub-test and its relevance to the workplace

The OET Speaking test stands out for its practical approach to evaluating English language skills. Unlike other language tests, the role-plays scenarios in OET are based on everyday healthcare situations, making it highly relevant to your daily tasks.


1. Everyday situations:

The test includes scenarios you might face at work. This could be explaining an illness to a patient, talking about treatment plans, or dealing with a difficult situation. This test helps you to improve your English speaking skills within your job, no matter if you're a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, or any other of the 12 OET healthcare professions.


2. Communication with others:

In healthcare, effective communication often revolves around patient interactions. It is critical to be able to convey information clearly and empathetically to patients or their caregivers. This is where the OET Speaking test becomes a valuable tool. It presents scenarios focused exclusively on these interactions.


How the OET Speaking sub-test helps you become a better healthcare worker

The OET Speaking test is not just about checking your English language skills. It helps you learn several skills that will help you as a healthcare professional.


1. Better communication skills:

By simulating patient interactions, you learn how to break down complex medical terminologies into simple, understandable language. This helps ensure that patients fully understand their health conditions and treatment plans, which is fundamental to patient-centred care. This will not only help you in the exam but also at your work. You'll be better at explaining jargon, showing empathy, listening actively, structuring your consultation, and many other skills that form part of the Clinical Communication Criteria.


Did you know we have a free Clinical Communication Criteria mini course? Enrol today – it’s short, sharp and super effective to help boost your OET scores.


2. Building trust and establishing relationships:

OET Speaking also prepares you to establish a positive rapport with patients and caregivers. By effectively communicating and showing empathy, you can build trust, making patients feel more comfortable and understood. This trust-building is crucial in patient-centred care as it enables more open communication, better understanding of patient needs, and a stronger therapeutic relationship.


3. Encouraging shared decision-making:

Scenarios in the OET Speaking sub-test often require discussing treatment options with a patient or caregiver. This helps you develop skills to involve patients in making healthcare decisions, promoting a sense of ownership and satisfaction in their care. This shared decision-making is also an important part of patient-centred care, which values the patient's input and preferences.


4. Enhancing listening skills:

The Speaking test is not just about speaking; it’s also about listening. To respond appropriately during the role-play scenarios, you must listen carefully to the 'patient' or 'carer'. This practice improves your listening skills, crucial for understanding patients' needs and concerns in real-life settings.


5. Handling difficult conversations:

Healthcare often involves difficult conversations, such as discussing serious diagnoses, navigating care for older parents, or negotiating treatment plans with resistant patients. The OET Speaking sub-test prepares you for such conversations by including them in the role-play scenarios, thus equipping you with the necessary skills to handle them sensitively and professionally.


6. Professional growth:

Lastly, passing OET can lead to more job opportunities in English-speaking countries. This will help your career grow.


Getting Ready for the OET Speaking sub-test

There are many resources that can help you get ready for the OET Speaking sub-test. Check out our sample tests, online courses and be sure to download the OET Study Guide to help you prepare efficiently and effectively.   

Remember, practising regularly is the key to doing well in the OET Speaking sub-test. By doing so, you will not only improve your scores but also become a better communicator. This makes you a better healthcare professional So, embrace OET Speaking as a stepping stone to your professional excellence in healthcare.