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The OET Writing Guide

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to the OET Writing sub-test! You will find links to each section of the writing guide, including how to write with purpose, what content to include in your OET letter and how to write concisely.

Each guide is based on a section of the assessment criteria we use to score your letter. The criteria are:

  • Purpose
  • Content
  • Conciseness & Clarity
  • Genre & Style
  • Organisation & Layout
  • Language

Each of the above is assigned a band score from 0 to 7, except for Purpose, which is given a band score of 0 to 3. If you are looking to get a score of 350 (previously grade B) in Writing, you will be required to score highly in each of the six criteria.

To help you, we've put together six complete guides to the OET Writing sub-test that cover each of the criteria, what writing skills you will need and how to improve them.

You can also download the OET Writing Guide as a PDF if you prefer.

So here they are. Read through each one to learn how to get a high score on each of the criteria.


1. Writing with Purpose 

Central to the OET Writing sub-test is the ability to identify and write with purpose.

You can break purpose up into two parts: "immediately apparent" and "sufficiently expanding". Each requires you to identify and understand the purpose of your letter through the Writing task and the case notes.

Once you have identified and understood what the purpose is, you also need to be able to show it in your letter. This involves creating an introductory sentence and using the right verbs to signal to the reader the purpose of your letter.

Read the guide to Purpose today: Ultimate Guide to Writing: Purpose 



2. How to choose the right Content

Deciding what information you put in your letter is hugely important. Without the right content, your letter will not be able to say the right things.

Choosing the right information will depend on what the audience will need to continue caring for the patient. All the information you need for your letter is in the case notes.

You also need to be able to accurately represent the case notes by:

  • Transforming them into complete sentences
  • Keeping the meaning the same.

To do this, read the guide to Content: Ultimate Guide to Writing: Content



3. Writing with Conciseness and Clarity 

We tend to pair Conciseness and Clarity with Content as many of the skills needed to score high are similar.

Instead of picking what information you need in the letter, you need to decide what information is unnecessary and should be left out.

You will need to be able to identify irrelevant information, such as repeated information and content that will not help the reader provide care to the patient.

For the full guide, click here: Ultimate Guide to Writing: Conciseness and Clarity



4. The Genre and Style of your OET letter 

When you write a letter to another professional it should be formal. The Writing sub-test reflects this and requires you to write a letter in the correct genre and with the right style.

To do this you need to understand what formal writing looks like and how to write formally. This involves knowing how to use both the right register and tone for the audience you are writing too.

The grammar you use has a big effect on how formal or informal you sound. Using facts, rather than judgements, and starting and ending the letter correctly are hugely important to your letter's Genre and Style.

For all the steps to getting Genre and Style right, check out the full guide: Ultimate Guide to Writing: Genre and Style



5. Organising and laying out your letter 

How you structure your letter has a huge impact on what your reader will see and retain.

Because every Writing task is different, every letter will be organised differently. There are several ways to organise your letter, including chronologically or thematically.

You will also need to make sure you don't bury the important information under less important information.

For a full guide on how to do this click on the link below.

Ultimate Guide to Writing: Organisation and Layout 



6. Using the right Language 

Each of the above criteria includes elements of language. However, this section looks at whether you have used them accurately.

You need to be able to accurately apply elements of Grammar, Vocabulary, Punctuation and Spelling to your letter.

Take a look at the quick guide: Ultimate Guide to Writing: Language