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Boost your OET grade by learning the assessment criteria | OET

By 23 August 2018Test Tips

Have you read the assessment criteria?

Once you finish your OET, your papers are sent back to Australia and then graded by trained OET Assessors! Your answer booklets are assigned to the assessors at random to avoid any conflict of interest, while Parts B and C of Reading and Listening are computer scanned and scored automatically.

We believe that fairness and reliability are essential to the assessment of your OET performance, which is why we take extra precautions. For instance, we:

  • Do not provide your background or demographic information to assessors to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Double mark your answers to make sure your final scores are accurate
  • Grade your tests in a single location to prevent regional variation.

Our assessors also use a marking guide for the Writing and Speaking sub-tests that help them score your answers accurately. What you might not know is that you can also use them to help you study!

Have you read the Writing and Speaking assessment criteria?

To grade your Writing and Speaking papers, OET assessors use a series of marking criteria. Reading and understanding what the assessor is looking for will really help you to practise this as you prepare AND produce this on test day.

There are six assessment criteria for Writing:

  • Purpose: Whether the reason for the letter is apparent from the start and developed throughout the course of the letter
  • Content: Whether the required information is included in the letter and is accurate for the reader
  • Conciseness and Clarity: Whether the letter omits relevant information and is an effective summary for the reader
  • Genre and Style: Whether the register, tone and use of abbreviations are appropriate for the reader
  • Organisation and 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

For the Speaking sub-test, there are two types of assessment criteria: Linguistic criteria and Clinical Communicative criteria.

Linguistic Criteria includes:

  • Intelligibility: The impact of your pronunciation, intonation and accent on how clearly your listener can hear and understand you
  • Fluency: The impact of the speed and smoothness of your speech on your listener’s understanding
  • Appropriateness: The impact of your language, tone and professionalism on your listener’s understanding and comfort
  • Resources of Grammar and Expression: The impact of your level of grammatical accuracy and vocabulary choices on your listener’s understanding.

Clinical Communicative Criteria includes:

  • Relationship-building: The impact of your choice of opening to the conversation and demonstration of empathy and respect on your listener’s comfort
  • Understanding and incorporating the patient’s perspective: The impact of how fully you involve the patient in the conversation on your listener’s understanding and comfort
  • Providing structure: The impact of how you organise the information you provide and introduce new topics for discussion on your listener’s understanding
  • Information-gathering: The impact of the type of questions you ask and how you listen to the responses on your listener’s understanding
  • Information-giving: The impact of how you provide information and check this information is being understood on your listener’s comfort and understanding

Assessors do not count how many mistakes you make. Instead, they assess your Writing and Speaking against how closely they match these criteria. The Linguistic criteria contribute more to your final grade than the Clinical Communicative criteria.

You can download and view both the Writing and Speaking criteria from our website:

For more helpful tips like these as well as videos, preparation tasks and practice tests, make sure to check out the Preparation Portal. It’s a great place to study for OET and build your understanding of the test.

Preparation OET