One of the biggest worries for nurses and doctors when it comes to OET speaking is not just about speaking English but specifically being able to speak for the full five minutes of the role-play. Fear comes from maybe not having the opportunity (because of financial reasons) to get a native English teacher, ideally an OET teacher to help you on a daily basis. The other reason is maybe you’re working 12-hour shifts and just don’t have time. Is this true for you?
As part of the 20-minute speaking examination, you’ve got two role-plays. Each lasts for five minutes but you’ve got two to three minutes preparation time for each one on top of that as well. So roughly it works out as 20 minutes.
Being able to speak for the full five minutes is scary! I know how you must feel because we’ve got a lot of students on our program that feel this way too. In some of our practice mock examinations when we time the students, they’re speaking for 4 minutes +.. Guess what? You’ve got extra time that you should really be taking advantage of!
This is your opportunity to really impress the examiner with your spoken English ability so use adjectives and adverbs, show empathy, try to satisfy as many of the bullet points on the role-play card as possible and so on.
So what do you do if you have 30-40 seconds left of the 5 minutes you are given? Of course you won’t even know this point of time until the interlocutor stops you so just keep on speaking until they say stop. But what if you have this feeling where you’re coming up to your last sentence and you think: “Oh no! What do I say next?” “I’ve asked all the questions that I could think of!”
My suggestion is to summarize what you have just said. Summarize the advice that you’ve given and the things that you’ve said previously to reassure the patient. You could use different language. I would encourage you to not use the same language if you want to summarize. You could say for example: “Okay Mr. Johnson, I just wanted to remind you of the importance of drinking lots of water, taking your medication three times per day and getting sufficient exercise”.
It’s really important if you could give a summary like the above just to kind of pull everything that you’ve spoken about together. Then of course at the end, you could say: “Regarding any further worries or concerns , I really want to reassure you and let you know that we’re really here to help you every step of the way” Something like this really shows effective empathy. leaves them on a high note.
In a lot of cases you’re dealing with patients who are really distressed. They’re anxious, and worried so they’re maybe not listening to every single word that you’re saying. Their mind could be elsewhere and thinking about “what if” scenarios; such as- what if this happens? What if my child dies? What if I can’t walk again? Etc.
Hopefully this was helpful for you today and if you have any questions, make sure you put them in the message box below!
If you’re planning to take the OET exam, we’ve got live group classes, speaking mock exam classes, video courses and writing corrections as part of our OET packages. You can click here to learn more: https://www.swooshenglish.com/oet-courses/
I would love to help you pass!
Your OET teacher,
Do you prefer a video of Alex explaining these OET speaking tips above? Click on the video below to watch!