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OET Writing Guide: Language

The final criterion of the OET Writing guide covers your grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling.

Each of these language elements forms part of the assessment criteria. However, their focus is on whether you have used them appropriately.

Language, on the other hand, focuses on whether you have used them accurately.

There are many helpful articles covering these four elements of Language on the OET Blog.


Grammar: Grammar structures the English language and is an important element to get to know. While a lot of native speakers never formally study grammar, it can help you learn English more quickly.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary is an important part of OET because it shapes how to communicate with the audience of your Writing and Speaking sub-test.

Punctuation: Punctuation adds clarity to your writing. It can help you better communicate your message to your reader.

Spelling: Spelling is important in Writing, but you won’t need to be perfect to achieve a B. However, some misspelled works will stand out more than others. Review some important rules and learn how to avoid errors in this video from OET Online.


Additional tips


Writing is assessed against specific criteria. These are available for you to read and it’s important that you do. The descriptors available tell you what the assessor is looking for and how to demonstrate this in your responses. To get the grade you want, you must score highly across ALL the criteria, so make sure you don’t just focus on the obvious ones like Language. Accurate grammar is important but not more important than any of the other criteria.


Completing your answers

If taking OET on paper, you can complete the Writing test in either pen or pencil depending on your personal preference. Your handwriting is not assessed but it does need to be clear enough for the assessor to be able to read. You might find it quicker and clearer to cross out any mistakes you make while writing and carry on with the correction rather than erasing and writing over the top. Only the answer written on the lined paper in the answer booklet will be assessed, so make sure you only use the blank page for planning.


Top tip for Writing

It’s important by the time you get to the Writing test, that you still have some energy left in the tank. Make sure you build up your stamina by practising Listening for 40 minutes, then Reading for 60 minutes, and then Writing for 40 minutes at least once a week.


For more information about the Writing sub-test, explore the Writing hub or download the full OET Writing Guide in PDF.