Writing your OET Letter Concisely & Clearly

No matter what your discipline is - medicine, nursing, veterinary sciences, dentistry or pharmacy, one of the key elements in the OET Writing Sub-Test is knowing what NOT to include in your letter.

There's no point in including information that is irrelevant to the reader or that the reader already knows. Why waste their time making them search for the facts?

But the question is, how can you know what to leave out? Watch our latest YouTube video for more help, or read more about it below if you prefer.

Conciseness & Clarity

Conciseness & Clarity go hand-in-hand with content and your job when writing the letter is to look though the case notes and pick out all the information that is useful to the reader and ignore anything that isn’t useful.

The way the OET assessors say they look at it is by seeing ‘Content” as the information you include, and “Conciseness & Clarity” as everything you exclude. Why are they looking to make sure you don’t include things? Well, it’s because if you include too much information that is not relevant to the reader, it actually becomes harder for the reader to do their job. They’ll have to search for the main ideas and the message you want to convey may even become lost among lots of irrelevant facts.

I’m sure, being a healthcare professional yourselves, you know that your time is precious. You just don’t have the luxury to read lots and lots of words which don’t actually get to the point. When you read a message, you want to know who it’s from, why the person is writing to you, and what they want you to do and why.

There are 2 things to keep in mind to help you do this, and we’ll look at each one in turn with some examples to help.

  1. Make sure you don’t include anything irrelevant.

  2. Make sure you have clearly summarised the information and communicated this clearly.

Let’s start with the first one and then we’ll look at the second.

Excluding irrelevant information

There are 2 common mistakes that students often make.

  1. They include information that the reader already knows or is not relevant to the reader's role in caring for the patient.

  2. They go into too much detail about the patient’s background or history that is not relevant to the current situation.