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Is this one of your queries about the Speaking test?

By 22 October 2018Test Tips

Do you have this question about the patient's name?

I’m worried about the patient’s name in the role-play. Do I need to ask the interlocutor for a name?

This is a common question asked during our Facebook Q+A Live events and also through messages sent to Facebook and our helpdesk team.

The answer is: No, you don’t.

Instead, what you can do is one of 3 things:

  1. Use the interlocutor’s name which they tell you when you meet them in the Speaking test room.
  2. During the preparation time before the role-play, ask the interlocutor which name they would like you to use.
  3. Choose a name for the patient and use it at the start of the role-play. The interlocutor will accept this and respond to it.

Of course, you can ask the patient their name during the role-play but remember you have a time limit. OET recommends not spending time on this minor detail but rather to give as much time as you can to completing the tasks.

Give the assessor proof of your ability

The communication criterion for Speaking, relationship building, requires you to demonstrate that you can initiate the conversation appropriately. This means showing your ability to start the conversation in a way which is suitable for the setting and your familiarity with the patient. It shows good variety to the assessor if you can start each role-play in a different way e.g.

  • You are speaking to a patient who underwent a colonoscopy last week and has returned for the results
[This situation is likely to be non-urgent and suggests you have met the patient before]

Hi Dawn, thanks for coming back for your results today. How have you been this last week?

  • You are speaking to the parent of a 3-year-old admitted an hour ago with breathing difficulties.
[This situation is likely to have caused anxiety for the mother and you are unlikely to have met him/her before]

Hello Steph, my name’s Greeta, I’m one of the nurses who’s been caring for your daughter. I’ve come to give you an update but also to find out some more background information from you. Is that OK?