OET Speaking Overview and Roleplay structure
OET Speaking Overview
The speaking sub-test consists of two roleplay scenarios. The interviewer will take the part of the patient and the candidate takes his/her professional role as a doctor.
The interview is usually about 20 minutes long and structured as follows:
- Identification check (not assessed)
- Brief chat regarding the candidate’s medical career (not assessed)
- The first roleplay including 2/3 minute preparation time and 5-6 minute roleplay (assessed)
- The second roleplay including 2/3 minute preparation time and 5-6 minute roleplay (assessed)
During the preparation time you must read the roleplay card handed to you and you can make notes on the card or underline key words. You may ask questions to interviewer if there is anything you are unsure about, especially vocabulary.
This is important because if you misunderstand the situation it could effect how you approach the task.
Generally, if the interviewer is a male then the patient will be a male and if the
interviewer is a female then the patient will be a female. You can use the interviewer’s name to address them with if you like, or simply refer to them as Sir/Madam. Whatever you feel more comfortable with.
The interviewer may also take the role of a parent or carer of the patient i.e if the
patient is a child, or has a serious illness.
OET Speaking Roleplay Structure
The roleplay scenarios are based on real situations you are likely to encounter in you work as a nurse in Australia. There are a variety of possible settings for the roleplay including:
- Suburban Health Clinic
- Community Health Centre
- Nursing Home
- Hospital Ward
- Hospital Emergency Department
A typical roleplay structure is as follows:
- Brief introduction dependent on the task.
- Ask questions to help you assess the situation.
- Respond carefully to what concerns the patient has.
- Provide an explanation of the condition & respond to further questions and concerns of the patient.
- Provide advice and reassurance as required.
- Short simple concluding sentence.
You only have 5-6 minutes to complete the roleplay so it is important to follow the task closely and not spend too long on any one section. If the roleplay lasts more than 6 minutes the interviewer may signal you to end the roleplay. This could be a problem if you have not finished key aspects of the task
Stage 1: Introductions and Opening Questions
Introductions are a very important part of the role-play as they allow you to start the conversation in a positive way and in line with requirements of the roleplay card.
Therefore the first thing to do is read the card very carefully looking for information which will help you, as a health professional, determine how to approach the patient or carer.
Important factors to consider
- Identify the setting such as Hospital Ward, Community Clinic, School or Large Company. This will signify the relationship you have with the patient or carer.
- Identify the patient, male, female, parent of child etc. Note, in the exam,
most cards are not gender specific, so that if the interviewer is a male the
patient will be a male and if the interviewer is a female, then the patient will be a female.
- Is it the first time to meet the patient or are they a regular patient of yours
- For example if you know the patient is a good idea to begin with a familiar
tone such as
– Hi Jane, how can I help you today? Rather than.
– Hello I am Naomi, Kate your Nurse. How may I address you?
It is very important to start the roleplay in a confident manner. Here are some standard ways to begin the conversation.
At a clinic or health centre
- Good morning Madam, I’m Kate your Nurse . What brings you here today?
- Good morning Sir. I’m Kate your Nurse today. Tell me why you have come here.
- Good morning John, please sit down. I’m Kate your nurse. What seem to be the problem?
- Hello Steven, you’re here to have your stiches removed, aren’t you.
- Good morning Patricia, you’ve brought your daughter along I see. What seems to be the problem?
At a nursing home or hospital ward
- Hello Maria, how are you feeling today?
- Hello John, you are looking better today. How do you feel?
- Good morning, Madam. I’m Jane, the nurse who will take care of your daughter during her hospitalization.
Taking the patient history
Once you have made the initial introduction, you will need to ask some questions to determine the exact nature of the patient’s problem or concern. Some of this information will be given to you on your card, but it is a good idea to ask the basic questions anyway as forms the basis of your consultation. Just remember, however, to keep your line of questions quite narrow and specific to the patient’s condition as you have only 5~6 minutes to complete your task so there is no time for a general history.
Asking questions about the patient’s medical problem
- Have you ever had a serious illness in the past?
- Are you allergic to anything?
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- Have you ever been in hospital before?
Asking questions about the patient’s social history
- Will anybody be at home to look after you when you are discharged?
- Do your family live close by?
- Do you have any friends or neighbours who can help you?
- Is there anything you need help with at home, such as cooking meals, or cleaning the house ?
Stage 2: The Main Body
Once you have taken the history to a satisfactory level it is time to move to the second stage of the roleplay which is often an explanation about a certain condition or method of treatment. This may take up to a third of the roleplay (1-2 minutes) so it essential that you do it in a clear and well organised manner as outlined below:
Informing the patient
- Based on my examination you are suffering from…….
- The blood test results indicate that your child has………
- The tests show that it is probably a condition known as……
Describing the condition
Make sure your explanation is clear and well organised. Patient with burns example:
Let me explain the three kinds of burns:
– Third degree, which is very serious…..
– Second degree, which is less serious but can be painful and result in scarring
– And first degree, which your son has, is only superficial and does not leave scarring………..
– Is that clear?….Good. Now, the dressing only needs to be on for a few days and the cut will heal.
Do you know anything about this condition? No? Okay I will explain it to you.
It is a condition caused by….
The symptoms include…….
The best treatment is to…….
It is highly contagious so you need to…
Try not to talk continuously. Stop from time to time to check if the patient understands your explanation.
- Is that clear?
- Do you understand so far?
- Do you have any questions?
Reassuring the patient
- It’s nothing to get alarmed about. It’s just a routine check.
- There really is nothing to worry about. The burns are only minor and your son will completely recover.
- Let me reassure you, the home care services are excellent and will help you
manage your condition, provide meals if needed and even make you a cup of tea.
Persuading the patient
- If you return to work you run the risk of doing further damage to you health.
- As I said, if you follow my advice and keep the wound clean, it will completely heal, free of infection. However if you do not follow my advice, and allow the wound to get dirty again, then infection may occur.
- The doctor has said that it is very important to take all your medications.
- According to the doctor you are ready to leave hospital today.
Stage 3: Concluding the Roleplay
The last stage in OET Speaking Overview and Roleplay structure is to conclude the speaking card.
This can be a difficult part for some people. The important thing to remember is to make
the closing sentence short and concise. Here are some examples of how to do this:
At a clinic or health centre
- Is there anything else you would like to ask me?…….Okay take care now Mr Jones.
- Thanks for coming to see me today. Goodbye.
- Please come and see me again in a week.
- Here are some brochures to help you understand the treatment procedure.
Please come again if you have any problems with the medication.
- I would like to see your child again in two months time. Take care now.
At a nursing home or hospital ward
- I’ll come back in an hour to check on you.
- I’ll come back and check on your condition later today.
- If your condition/situation gets worse, please let me know.
- If you need me again, just press the buzzer.