Can I lose marks if I don't finish the tasks in the OET Speaking Test?
Another one of our YouTube students, Anju, got in touch and asked us this common candidate question: "Will I lose marks if I don't complete all the tasks in the OET speaking sub-test?"
That's a great question and while there is no exact answer to this, I can try to shed some light as to why.
OET Speaking Mimics Real Life
Firstly, the OET speaking sub-test is designed to briefly mimic real life. So in real life, you'll have a patient. You'll have some brief notes as to why they have come to see you, but they may have a lot of questions for you that you don't know about in advance, or they might be shy and not want to talk to you, or they may be angry and mistrustful of all healthcare workers - you simply don't know what to expect, and like real life, this is also true of the OET. There will usually be something unexpected that the patient knows but you don't and you'll have to deal with it appropriately and empathetically in the test.
So, although you have a set agenda in mind (find out the problem, explore a bit more, give treatment advice, ask if they have any questions), and this is laid out for you in the tasks you've been asked to complete, just as in real life, one stage may take longer or shorter than you expect.
And to score well in the OET, you have to make sure that you are listening to and responding to the patient appropriately (picking up on patient cues). In this respect, if the patient is really anxious about something, and you have to spend longer than you'd anticipated reassuring them and this means that you don't finish the last task, then it's not such a terrible mistake, because you'll have hopefully scored well in the 'understanding and incorporating the patient's perspective' criterion and responded well to their concerns.
However, just as in real life, although patient-centred care is important, you are still in charge and it's your job to get through your plan - or the tasks in the case of the OET. Just as in real life, time is limited and you've got to cover everything you need to cover in order to care well for the patient, so it's important to try to get through everything if you can.
Don't forget the OET is a test!
The other thing to bear in mind is that, unlike real life this time, the OET is a test and they will be assessing you on the criteria set out. This means, that the two role-plays together are designed to cover all the criteria and if you miss out one task, you might miss the opportunity to show the assessor that you can "find out what information the patient needs" for example.
But don't panic if you don't. It's better that you are listening to your patient and responding appropriately. If you don't finish in the first role-play, see if you can in the second one. And don't forget, if you finish early, keep talking. You can always summarise and ask the patient if there is anything else they need.
The good news is, the OET role-plays are all designed to fit comfortably within 5 minutes, so really, if you stick to the tasks, you should be able to get through everything.
OET Speaking Mock Test
If you would like to take an OET Speaking mock test to get feedback on what you are doing well and what you need to improve, you can find out more information here
You can also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
OET On-demand Video Courses
Or, if you'd like to study with us through our on-demand courses which are all pre-recorded, here are some discount codes for you.
Of course, we have lots of free videos on our YouTube channel to keep you busy as well!
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