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Do you have to use a template for your OET Writing letter?

By 15 September 2021Preparation Portal, Test Tips, Writing

 

Should I use a template for the layout of my OET letter?

OET does not require candidates to follow a set template when writing their letter. There is some flexibility around the format used, and it is understood that a number of different formats are used by health professionals in different local contexts. However, it is important that your layout is clear and appropriate for the particular task.

The reader should easily be able to locate all the necessary information without any confusion, and without wasting time searching for details. Usually, information in medical letters follows a certain sequence.

How does a well formatted letter help me to score the best marks?

A well laid out letter will score marks for you in the following section of the marking criteria: Organisation and layout

You can see examples of good layouts for letters below. Note how all sections are BLOCKED to the left side of the page. Examples:

Can I use a template for the OET Writing opening paragraph?

There is NO set template for the introduction of your letter. You will note from our sample letters that you can approach the introduction in various ways. However, we recommend that you clearly state the full name of the patient, give a brief summary about his/her main medical issue/s, and make the purpose of your letter clear to the reader.

Example:

Mrs Jane Smith is being discharged from hospital today following a 4-day admission to treat her type 2 diabetes. She will require monitoring and ongoing support from a home nurse.

Can I use a template to organise the main body paragraphs?

There is NO set template to use for organising the body of your letter. Each set of case notes requires a unique structure, according to who the reader is, and the nature of the patient’s health condition.
However, there are some commonly used structures which are suitable for most OET Writing tasks: Chronological Structure, Thematic Structure, and Urgent Case Structure. You can learn more about this in the OET Writing Guide.

You need to decide which one is most appropriate, and how to select and prioritise the facts for your reader.

Can I use a template for the final request paragraph in the OET letter?

There is NO template for the final request paragraph but this is the preferred location for this content rather than within the other paragraphs of the letter. Grouping the discharge information together at the end of the letter will give the reader a clear understanding of what actions they need to take and to expand the detail of any further requests or treatment which is suggested. You should be familiar with using polite formal request language to ask for further action to be taken.

For example:

  • I would be grateful if you could monitor her condition.
  • Please could you remind her to take her medication.
  • Kindly advise her to see her GP next week.
  • She may benefit from an appointment with a social worker.

Can I use template phrases, for example ‘It would be appreciated if…’ OR ‘ongoing management and care’?

Many candidates refer to such phrases as templates because they are commonly taught or shared among students preparing for OET. Such phrases can be used in your writing when appropriate to the situation but you shouldn’t expect to use them in every letter you write.

If you include such learned phrases when they are not the most appropriate language for the sentence this can impact your score in some of the other assessment criteria.

There are plenty more questions asked about the OET letter layout. Check out our FAQs for more tips.