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Make sure you clarify your answers during the OET Speaking test

When you speak to patients, they might be anxious, distressed or even in pain. At such times, they are unlikely to be able to speak as clearly and fluently as they would in other situations.

Patients may present you with information and details in a jumbled order or be unable to answer the questions you have. As healthcare professionals, it is always important to get the correct information from your patients. Without this, you might struggle to diagnose or providing the correct care to them.

Clarifying patient information

Reflecting real scenarios, the Speaking test’s clinical communication criteria requires you to clarify information the patient tells you.

You might not have understood something, perhaps because of the way the patient was speaking. Or, you might need to check your understanding of what they have said is correct.

Try these clarifying expressions

There are several useful expressions that can help you clarify what the patient has said. We have provided some examples below to get you started.

  • Sorry, please can you explain what you mean by _____.
  • You’re doing really well to explain what has happened but I don’t understand ______.
  • Can you tell me more about _____.

If you want to check you have understood the patient correctly, you could say:

  • To recap what you have told me, _______
  • Thank you. I just want to check I have understood you correctly. To summarise ______.

Don’t miss out on more helpful Speaking tips, head to the OET Preparation Portal today. You will find guides, videos and more to help you with your OET Preparation Journey.