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OET Speaking “Intelligibility”

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OET Speaking “Intelligibility”

Clear and to the Point!

The Occupational English Test (OET) speaking subtest requires that candidates play the role of a healthcare professional interacting professionally but empathetically with a patient, family member or caretaker as in real-life.

For some candidates, language is not the issue. But rather, they worry about a strong accent, a lisp (sometimes called “tied tongues” in slang), a stutter, or some other speech impediment. It can lead to stress, anxiety on test Day, and poor performance when the clock starts ticking.

But just a few simple tips can help avoid this virtual wall.

STEP 1. Understand exactly what OET means by “intelligibility”. No, they don’t care about your accent. We all have one. They clear that your words are clear and that similar sounding words don’t cause confusion.

STEP 2. Tackle all kinds of language functions head on. Yes, straightforward information gathering and giving can be easier, but also try correcting patient misinformation, warning them about risks, encouraging them to try something, and more. And actively look for different scenarios. Why? They build your technical and layman vocabulary which can impress the OET examiners.

STEP 3. Develop your interview structure. Remember: you are interviewing the patient; the patient is not interviewing you! Develop your introduction, how you want to start gathering information, how to want to give information, and end the role play.




STEP 4. Do your role plays and always record them! Listen back. Compare to a native speaker. Are there certain sounds you regularly confuse or do not say clearly? Do you speak too softly? Do you cluster words (rush them together) or need to slow down a bit? At this point, you might need to stop the role play, practice a particular sound, tone, or speaking pace again and again. Then move back to doing role plays.




We’re here to help!

If you need help improving your speaking pattern for role play practice, consider booking a private tutor at Personalized guidance from an OET expert Speaking tutor can help you identify and correct speaking issues. To book a tutor for OET Speaking, you can visit the following link: 1 OET Speaking Session or 3 OET Speaking Sessions.


Help in Preparing for OET

 Improve your Pronunciation



Here are some fun and helpful tongue twisters to tone and coordinate your speaking muscle!

  • Start slow then slowly build speed.
  • Emphasize and enunciate.
  • Repeat several times at different paces.
  • Have fun with them!
  1. The persistent pharmacist mixed prescriptions for six sick sisters, but unfortunately, their symptoms switched swiftly!
  2. The thoracic surgeon skillfully stitched six six-inch incisions, showcasing exceptional precision in a time of intense medical decision.
  3. Smith’s stethoscope slipped, making her struggle to identify the symptoms of simultaneous systemic circulatory syndrome.
  4. The pediatrician prescribed a potent potion to prevent postoperative pain, promptly preparing pint-sized patients for their procedures.
  5. The anesthesiologist’s anesthesia was so superbly strong that even the most alert and alarmed could not avoid a deep sleep.



Try pronouncing these technical terms?

  • Note capital letters (strong stress) and common letters (no stress).
  • Start slow.
  • Build speed.
  • Repeat several times!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Pronunciation: gas-troh-i-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl REE-fluks di-ZEEZ

Transcription: /ˈɡæs.troʊ.iˌsɒf.əˈdʒiː.əl ˈriː.flʌks dɪˈziːz/

Electroencephalography (EEG)

Pronunciation: ih-LEK-troh-en-seh-fuh-LOH-gruh-fee

Transcription: /ɪˌlɛk.troʊ.ˌɛn.səˈfæ.ləˌɡræ.fi/

Myocardial infarction (MI)

Pronunciation: my -o-KAHR-dee-uhl in-FARK-shuhn

Transcription: /ˌmaɪ.oʊˈkɑːr.di.əl ɪnˈfɑːr.kʃən/


Pronunciation: hee-mah-toh-poi-EE-sis

Transcription: /ˌhiː.məˌtoʊ.poʊˈiː.sɪs/


Pronunciation: os-tee-oh-ahr-THRY-tis

Transcription: /ˌɑː.sti.oʊ.ɑːrˈθraɪ.tɪs/


Pronunciation: nef-roh-lih-THY-uh-sis

Transcription: /ˌnɛf.roʊ.lɪˈθaɪ.ə.sɪs/


Pronunciation: gas-troh-en-tuh-RAI-tis

Transcription: /ˌɡæs.troʊˌɛn.tərˈaɪ.tɪs/


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