About the Writing sub-test


The Writing sub-test takes 45 minutes and is profession-specific. There is one task set for each profession based on a typical workplace situation and the demands of the profession – a nurse does the task for nursing, a dentist does the task for dentistry, and so on.

The Writing sub-test structure

  • The task is to write a letter, usually a referral letter. Some alternative letter types are a letter of transfer and a letter of discharge. A letter to advise or inform a patient, career or group is sometimes used in Pharmacy, Veterinary Science and occasionally for Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy. Another task variation, with a different focus, is a written response to a complaint (for Radiography).

  • Along with the task instructions, you will receive stimulus material (case notes and/or other related documentation) which includes information to use in your response.


How is writing ability assessed in OET?


Your performance on the Writing sub-test is marked independently by a minimum of two trained Assessors. Neither Assessor knows what scores the other has given you, or what scores you have achieved in any of the other sub-tests.

Your performance is scored against six criteria and receives a band score for each criterion:

  • Purpose (Whether the purpose of the letter is immediately apparent to the reader and sufficiently expanded in the course of the letter)

  • Content (Whether all the necessary information is included and accurate for the reader)

  • Conciseness & Clarity (Whether unnecessary information is omitted so that the letter is an effective summary for the reader)

  • Genre & Style (Whether the register, tone and use of abbreviations are appropriate for the reader)

  • Organisation & Layout (Whether the letter is organised and well laid out for the reader)

  • Language (Whether the accuracy of the grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation communicates the necessary information to the reader)