Let’s see how you lose marks in OET letters (which is applicable for other modules, too). To understand this, let’s see how your assessor’s mind works as s/he proceeds with assessing your paper at the time of evaluation. I divide this process into five doors.
Door 1 – First Impression
Here your assessor looks at your letter and gets a first impression. Your handwriting, your cutting, your over writing, the size of your letters along with the first grammatical errors catch his attention. In most cases, our busy assessor has marked you very low and he may not even proceed to the real assessing. That means, if you fail to throw a good impression, you are gone!
Door 2 – Grammar
Suppose you are in because your handwriting and the overall appearance happened to be impressive, then you are judged by your grammar. The moment you have committed three or four serious grammar errors, your OET is OUT!
Door 3 – Notes Expansion
If you failed to expand the notes properly, you are going to waste another attempt at OET. You should make sure that all the relevant information are included and irrelevant are smartly avoided.
There are yet three other issues but let’s open the third door to enter the fourth door. Below are some very essential information about various issues of an OET letter.
Advice is a noun form while advise is verb.
- Ms Roy has been advised to alter her diet immediately.
- Ms Roy has to follow the doctor’s advice to reach an immediate relief.
Compliant / Compliance
- …but she was not compliant with her medicines.
- Besides, she has been non-compliant with diabetic regime.
- … but she had no compliance with her medicines.
- Given the above, it would be greatly appreciated if you could monitor her medication compliance, blood sugar levels diet and alcohol intake as well
Greately / Greatly / Grateful / Greateful
Greatly is a word while there is no such word as “grately. However, there is a close match – grateful which means thankful.
- It will be greatly appreciated if you could take over Ms Roy’s care.
- Your involvement in Ms Roy’s case will be greatly appreciated.
Grateful / gratefully
- Your willingness to assist Ms Roy is gratefully considered by the hospital.
Having / Being
Having + V3
- She was brought to the hospital by her husband after having fainted at home today.
- Having been brought here on the 10th of May with the aforementioned condition, Mr Billy underwent surgery to remove the carcinoma.
- However, he is having relationship with his ex-wife whom you can contact in case of emergency.
Being + V3
- Being a single parent, Mr Ali is not able to rear the three children and look after the home.
- She is being discharged today.
- However, due to her altered body image and the fear of being seen in public Ms Alnet remains socially withdrawn.
- As his symptoms are worsening, Mr Joseph needs an urgent assessment and immediate treatment at your facility as he is being transferred to your hospital via ambulance.
- Please note that her recent investigation reports are being awaited.
Meaning: Immediately after the surgery.
Many people incorrectly use the word post-operatively and its family members such as “post-operative” and “post operative period.”
- Correct – Postoperatively he was complaining of pain on surgery site.
- During his postoperative period, the patient did not immediately respond to analgesics.
Queries / Information
May people write like, “Please feel free to contact me for further queries.”
- Please feel free to contact me in case you have further queries.
- Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further queries.
- Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
- If you have any more queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
- Please feel free to contact me for further information about the patient.
- Should you require more information about this patient.
- Please do contact me for any further information you may require.
- Pertaining to the above information, it would be greatly appreciated if you could do the needful for Mr Mann.
Many candidates are still confused about the use of “undergo”, a word that most frequently appear in OET letters.
- Ms Roy has undergone cataract surgery (Correct)
- Ms Roy underwent cataract surgery (Correct)
- Ms Roy was undergone cataract surgery (Incorrect)
Similar expressions are elaborated in the Passive Voice Section.
The most common determiners are articles like a, an and the while other determiners include few, a few, little, a little, much, many and several others. As OETians, you need to have a clear idea. Let’s learn that with the help of sentences.
- Use the before patient, baby, mother and baby, husband. That should look like, The patient, the baby, the mother and baby, the husband.
- Why? Because they are not proper nouns. If the patient’s or mother’s or husband’s names are given, we do not use “the” with them. “The Ms Willis?” Never!
In OET, too many or too few connectors is not a healthy practice.
Incorrect – At present he is able to mobilize his knee partly however he has pain.
Correct – At present he is able to mobilize his knee partly even though he has pain.
Incorrect – Socially, Mr Mc Donalds lives alone in a caravan who is divorced and has 2 children.
Correct – Socially, Mr Mc Donald lives alone in a caravan and he is divorced and has 2 children.
Incorrect – However, he has been non-compliant with his dietary regimen and medications for this which he blames his poor memory.
Correct – However, he has been non-compliant with his dietary regimen and medications for which he blames his poor memory.
Incorrect – He has two sons even though his sons rarely visit him
Correct – Even though he has two sons, they rarely visit him.
Preposition - In, on, out, at, with, by, since, for, because, etc.
- Incorrect – Compliance for
Correct – Compliance with.
- Incorrect – Educated of / on
Correct – Educated about.
- Incorrect – Involve him for community services
Correct – Involve him in/with community services.
Incorrect – He underwent total left knee replacement surgery and due for discharge today.
Correct – He underwent total left knee replacement surgery and is due for discharge today.
Incorrect – He is obese, has had hypertension and he is been allergic to penicillin in child hood onward.
Correct – He is obese, has had hypertension and has been allergic to penicillin since childhood.
Incorrect – In 2017, he has continued he started to consume an excessive amount of alcohol, fat, salt and sugar following the death of his wife.
Incorrect – Since 2017 he has continued he started to consume an excessive amount of alcohol, fat, salt and sugar following the death of his wife.
Incorrect – Consequently, he has decreased lost tolerance for exercise and his mobility. He uses a walking stick due to diabetic neuropathy.
Passive Voice Issues
Around 60% of OET letter is in passive voice. We use passive voice in OET because in passive voice we needn’t mention who did this. “She has been prescribed ibuprofen” means it was prescribed by a doctor, not by a writer barber.
- Incorrect – Besides, he has been started dressing on both legs.
Correct – Besides, dressing on both legs has been started.
- Vermox or combantrin are usually using to treat…
Correct – Vermox or combantrin are usually used to treat.
- He is ready to discharged today.
- On admission she was found a small infected ulcer on her left foot.
- She has dressed up with saline and she has been monitored wound margins.
Incorrect – He needs supervision and contact guard for while walking and descending stairs.
Correct – He needs supervision and contact guard for walking and descending stairs.
Incorrect – In the view of above circumstances…
Correct – In view of the above circumstances…
Order of Words
Order of words means how words are arranged in a sentences. Look at the examples below:
Incorrect – He has commenced treatments as referred by his surgeon such as Morphine, ketamine infusion and Amitriptyline.
Correct – He has commenced treatments on Morphine, Ketamine infusion and Amitriptyline as referred by his surgeon.
- We have heard like “…surgeon such as Dr David…” but never like Dr Morphine!
- See how the meaning changes and the confusion disappears after the change.
Incorrect – Mr Dunbar’s medical history reveals that , Since 2016, he has been experiencing type 2 diabetes mellitus for which he has followed the dietary modifications and he has been prescribed metformin.
Correct – Mr Dunbar’s medical history reveals that he has been experiencing type 2 diabetes mellitus since 2016. For this he has followed the dietary modifications and has been prescribed metformin.
- The problem was with the placing of the “since + time” and with the complexity / length of the sentence.
- There is a limit for stretching. Overstretching can cause break!
Between / Among
Between is between two people or places or things. Among is ‘between’ more than two people, places, things.
Children between 5 years to 14 years.
Correct – Children between 5 years and 14 years.
By / With
…which were relieved by with Pethidine, Maxolon and paracetamol. She has no family history of migraine.
- ‘Relieved by a person’ but relieved ‘with’ a medicine.
As well as
As well as is a very complex connector. Remember, as well as is not equal to “and.”
Ms Joseph also experienced continuous headache, blurred vision, vomiting as well as slight paraesthesia a couple of times ago.
- In the sentence above, you can use as well as only if you mean to give less importance to “slight paraesthesia”.
- If “slight paraesthesia” has equal importance with others, you should use “and”.
Each / Every
Every / Each are used with singular nouns.
Incorrect – Ensure that every one in the house are using their own towels.
Correct – Everyone in the house is using his/her own towels.
Which / For which / For that
However, he has been non-compliant with his dietary regimen and medications for this he blames his poor memory.
- Change to “…for which…”
Subject Verb Agreement
- Proper cleaning of the house and surroundings are essential.
Correct – Proper cleaning of the house and surroundings is essential…
I am writing to refer Mr Billy who needs ongoing care from your services as he undergone skin biopsy for pathological investigations at our hospital due to skin cancer.
- Missed has in “…he has undergone…”
Badly made Sentences
It is worth informing you that kindly establish income producing activity and social activities.
I am writing to on behalf of above mentioned patient.
It is worthy to note that he needs to be monitored daily and all Medicines to be continued for another week.
He is a smoker as well as drink alcohol excessively for past 30 years and has no significant medical history.
It would be greatly appreciated , if you could provide care and management from your services to him.
Mr Billy was admitted to the hospital on 21 April 2010 and been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma subsequently undergone skin biopsy.
He was commenced with panadein forte500 mg and has no pain or other complaints at the time of discharge.
It is worth informing you that you need to help him establish income producing and social activities.
I am writing on behalf of the above mentioned patient.
It is worth noting that he needs to be monitored daily and all medicines need to be continued for another week.
He is a smoker and drinks alcohol excessively for the past 30 years yet he has no significant medical history.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide him care and management from your services.
Mr Billy was admitted to the hospital on 21 April 2010 and was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. Subsequently he underwent skin biopsy.
His treatment commenced on panadein forte 500 mg. It has been reported that he has no pain or other complaints at the time of discharge.