OET Writing Test Structure

The OET Writing test is a 45-minute test requiring you to write a letter responding to a healthcare-related scenario. The letter should be approximately 180-200 words and must be written in a formal tone.

The OET Writing test is structured as follows

5 minutes of reading time: You will be given 5 minutes to read the task instructions and case notes.

40 minutes of writing time: You will have 40 minutes to write your letter.

You cannot use a pen or pencil to make notes or underline a text in the case notes during reading time.

The task instructions will tell you what type of letter you must write and to whom you must address it. The case notes will provide you with information about the patient or client.

Your letter should include the following:

A clear and concise summary of the patient’s condition or situation.

Any relevant medical history or information.

A recommendation or request.

Your letter should be written formally and with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Your letter will be assessed on the following criteria:

Purpose: Does the letter achieve its stated goal?

Content: Does the letter contain all the necessary information?

Conciseness & Clarity: Is the letter concise and easy to understand?

Genre & Style: Does the letter follow the correct format and style for the type of letter being written?

Organization & Layout: Is the letter well-organized and easy to read?

Language: Is the letter written in correct English, with no errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation?

Your overall score for the OET Writing test will be based on your performance on these criteria.

Here are some additional tips for the OET Writing test:

Read the task instructions carefully and ensure you understand what you are asked to do.

Use the case notes to gather the information you need to write your letter.

Plan your letter before you start writing. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure your letter is well-structured.

Write in a clear and concise style. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your reader may not understand.

Proofread your letter carefully before you submit it. This will help you identify any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.

OET Writing Subtest structure

The OET Writing subtest is divided into two parts: reading time and writing time. Here’s an explanation of each part:

Reading Time:

During the reading time, you will be given a specific duration to read and familiarise yourself with the task instructions, case notes, and any other relevant material provided. Use this time wisely to understand the requirements, identify the key points, and plan your response. Pay attention to the task instructions, the purpose of the writing, and any specific details or prompts given.

  • Read the task instructions thoroughly: Understand the specific requirements, including the type of writing, the purpose, and any additional instructions given.
  • Analyze the case notes: Pay close attention to the patient’s details, medical history, symptoms, and other pertinent information. Identify the key issues and determine the focus of your response.
  • Note down important points: Highlight or briefly note the essential details you will include in your response. This will help you stay organized during the writing time.

The Task for Reading Time

You will be given a specific duration to read and understand the task instructions and case notes during the reading time. Let’s say you receive the following task:

Task: Write a referral letter to a specialist regarding a patient’s chronic back pain.

Case Notes:

Patient: Mr Smith

Age: 45

Occupation: Construction worker

Symptoms: Chronic lower back pain for the past six months worsens with physical activity.

Medical history: No previous surgeries or major illnesses, no known allergies

You should carefully analyze the task and case notes during the reading time. Understand the purpose of the referral letter and the specific information provided. For example, you would note that Mr. Smith is experiencing chronic back pain and that you need to refer him to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment. Understanding the details during reading will help you plan and structure your response effectively.

Writing Time:

Once the reading time is over, the writing time begins. This is when you will write your response based on the given task. You will have a specific duration for this, usually around 45 minutes. Follow these steps to make the most of your writing time:

A. Plan: Quickly outline your response, including the main points you want to address, the structure you will follow, and any supporting details or examples you will include. This step is crucial for organizing your thoughts and ensuring a coherent and well-structured response.

B. Write: Start writing your response, focusing on the structure, content, language, and overall coherence. Pay attention to the criteria mentioned in the OET Writing assessment, such as purpose, scope, clarity, organization, and language proficiency. Use appropriate medical terminology, accurate grammar, and clear and concise language.

C. Review: Once you have finished writing, allocate some time to review and revise your response. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors, clarify the clarity and coherence of your writing, and ensure that you have addressed all the required aspects of the task. Make any necessary edits or improvements to enhance the overall quality of your response.

  • Stick to the task requirements: Ensure that your response aligns with the purpose, genre, and specific instructions provided in the task. Deviating from the given guidelines may result in a lower score.
  • Focus on content and clarity: Present your ideas coherently and logically. Address the key points raised in the task instructions and case notes. Provide relevant information, supporting evidence, and examples to strengthen your arguments.
  • Organize your response: Use paragraphs to separate different ideas or sections of your response. Create a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Structuring your writing will enhance readability and make it easier for the examiner to follow your thoughts.
  • Demonstrate language proficiency: Showcase your language skills by using appropriate medical terminology, accurate grammar, and varied vocabulary. Employ a range of sentence structures and link ideas smoothly to exhibit your language proficiency.
  • Manage your time: Monitor the clock to ensure you complete your response within the allocated writing time. Giving sufficient time for planning, writing, and reviewing your work is essential.

The Task for Writing Time

Here’s an example of how you might approach the writing time:


“Dear Dr. Johnson,

I am writing to refer Mr. Smith, a 45-year-old construction worker experiencing chronic lower back pain for six months. I kindly request your expertise in evaluating his condition and providing appropriate treatment.”


“In reviewing Mr Smith’s case, his lower back pain has been persistent and worsens with physical activity. He has a physically demanding occupation as a construction worker, which may contribute to his condition. Despite conservative management, his symptoms have not significantly improved.”

“Regarding medical history, Mr Smith has no previous surgeries or major illnesses and reports no known medication allergies. He has tried over-the-counter pain relievers, hot/cold therapy, and limited physical activity, but these interventions have provided only temporary relief.”

“In light of Mr Smith’s ongoing pain and occupational demands, I believe he must receive a thorough evaluation from a specialist to determine the underlying cause of his chronic back pain. I kindly request your expertise in conducting further investigations, such as imaging studies or specialist consultations, to guide the appropriate treatment plan.”


“I appreciate your attention to this matter and your expertise in addressing Mr. Smith’s chronic back pain. Your evaluation and recommendations will significantly improve his quality of life and facilitate his return to work. I look forward to receiving your guidance and collaborating in Mr. Smith’s care.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Registered Nurse”

In this example, the response follows a clear structure with an introduction that establishes the letter’s purpose, a body that addresses the relevant information from the case notes, and a conclusion that expresses gratitude and emphasizes the importance of the specialist’s evaluation. The response uses clear and concise language, provides relevant details, and maintains a professional tone.

By carefully utilizing the reading time to understand the task and case notes and then utilizing the writing time to plan and compose a well-structured response, you can effectively demonstrate your writing skills and meet the requirements of the OET Writing subtest.

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We provide friendly, professionally qualified and experienced trainers who help you to achieve your desired score. We also offer flexible and convenient timings which allow you to study even in your busy schedule. Listening and reading sessions are taken unlimitedly by specially trained tutors; therefore, they explain tips and strategies in each session which help to acquire your required score.

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