How your nursing background helps you in OET Writing

Mar 2023 How your nursing background helps you in OET Writing

Kate Pinault, Specialist OET tutor at Klik2learn shares insights on how your nursing background can help you to succeed in the OET exam.

Our experience with Destination OET tells us that nurses get nervous about the OET exam. Their future dreams depend on OET success, so it is natural to be worried.  Even when your English is fluent, you will encounter questions which are difficult to understand. The standards are very high.

The OET is an English language test and not a test of your medical knowledge, of course. But we know that the many personal qualities and ‘soft skills’ you have developed during your nursing career can bring success in the OET. 

To work in the NHS as a nurse, you need to have a C+ in the OET writing sub-test, and a B in the reading, listening, and speaking sub-tests.

Your stamina

A career in healthcare requires endurance and discipline. Preparing with Destination OET will allow you to pace yourself in a logical and reasonable way. Months of study are necessary to prepare for the exam. Your stamina is needed for this!

You will also need stamina on the day of your test. Most of you will travel to the test centre on the morning of test day, and the OET is very challenging and tiring.

But as a nurse, you are an expert in managing your energy and maintaining your vitality! Sleep well and respect your nutritional and exercise routine before the test – this will help you succeed. 

The writing section comes after the listening and reading sections. Use your professional training to maintain your focus and clarity of thought. 

Your sense of responsibility

Just like the other tasks in the OET, the writing task should be approached like a real-life situation. As such, your priority is the patient. A deep understanding of the vocabulary and expressions will be needed to contribute fully to the team in an English-speaking environment.

Passing the OET is opening the door to a new stage of your career in healthcare. Diligent study is necessary to make sure you understand the information from the patient notes in the exam.

You will have to get a good score in the writing sub-test to get a job in healthcare as an international nurse. All of the activities on Destination OET are designed to help you succeed.

Understanding formalities

As a nurse, you will be aware of the necessity for formality in your communications. 

Completing module 3 in Destination OET will give you confidence in formatting a formal letter correctly in English so you can keep a clear head when completing the writing section of the test. 

It is also your responsibility to understand the format of the letter you need to write. You need to be sure that the letter is received by the correct person and can be understood effectively.

You will need to start your letter by defining the essential information: 

  • name of patient
  • patient’s date of birth
  • name of and address of the addressee

Getting the right care for your patient

As you know, in OET Writing you do not have to interpret the case notes. You should not attempt to provide a diagnosis. Your medical experience, however, can help you decide which information to include in the letter, so the patient can get the treatment they need. 

You need to understand the purpose of the letter and decide what information is relevant to the referral and needs to be included. Much of the information can be left out. 

Exercises and activities specially designed to develop these skills are available in all modules of Destination OET, to give you clarity and confidence when approaching the writing task. 

Good time management = clarity in communication

As you know from experience, clarity in communication is key in the medical context.

Managing your time well will allow you to stay calm.

You should:

  • Format your letter correctly with the information clearly copied over from the patient notes
  • Plan your writing and leave enough time to check your work at the end, to make sure you haven’t made any errors which could lose you marks
  • Do frequent timed practice exercises which will help you to manage your time
  • Make sure your handwriting is clear
  • Check you have respected the word limit 

In Destination OET, you will find activities to help you practice all of these skills. 

Improve your skills through video stories and games based on real-life situations.

Click here to discover Destination OET