Writing assessment
criteria update
August 2019

We’re making minor updates to the assessment criteria for the Writing subtest, which will take effect from the 31 August testIf you’re taking OET before 31 August, these updates will not affect you.   

To help you better understand these minor updates, take a look at the frequently asked questions below.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the Writing assessment criteria being updated?

We are updating the OET Writing assessment criteria to make sure successful OET test takers continue to be ready for English-speaking healthcare roles. 

Due to the changing nature of the healthcare industry, we need to make minor updates from time-to-time. By doing so, we can ensure that employers and regulators, like hospitals and health boards, continue to see successful OET candidates as effective communicators with the language skills needed to provide patient safety and high-quality care.  

What exactly is being updated?

We are adding more assessment bands to the Writing criteria to ensure you continue to receive clear information about what is required from you.

The update will reinforce the Writing task’s focus on what the intended audience (i.e. a healthcare professional , carer, patient or group) wants from the formal letter.

What is NOT changing?

As we’re only making minor updates, the Writing task will stay the same. You will still write a formal letter using patient case notes and will still receive five minutes of reading time and 40 minutes of writing time.

And don’t worry, the Writing sub-test will be neither more difficult nor easier – the level of English needed to reach your ideal grade will stay the same.

Will I need new preparation materials?

As the Writing task will stay the same, the only real change to preparation materials will be the sample answers, which will undergo minor modifications. We will have new sample answers on our website by 23 April, when applications for the 31 August test open. 

However, if you are planning on purchasing OET materials (e.g. practice books or OET Ready), we do advise that you purchase the updated preparation materials if you are taking OET from 31 August. These will be available via the OET Shop from 23 April. 

All our preparation materials, including our Practice Books, free sample tests, OET Masterclasses and OET Ready course, will be updated with the new criteria and sample answers by 23 April.  

Will the updates affect how I need to study for the test?

No, the minor update will not impact how you study.  All our recommended study strategies, which we outline in official OET preparation materials, stay the same. 

The updates simply reemphasisthe key writing qualities valued in a healthcare environment.