“I’m worried about the patient’s name in the role-play. Do I need to ask the interlocutor for a name?”
The above question is commonly asked during our Facebook Q+A Live events and also through messages sent to Facebook and our Helpdesk team.
The answer: No, you don’t.
Instead, what you can do is one of three 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.
If it’s clear from the role card that you have met the patient before, then using one of the three options above will demonstrate to the assessor that you have understood your relationship with the patient.
If you have a role-play which is your first conversation with this patient, then briefly introducing yourself and checking the patient’s name is appropriate as part of setting up rapport.
Give the assessor proof of your ability
Relationship building is a communication criterion for Speaking sub-test that requires you to demonstrate 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.
Take a look at the examples below:
1. 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?”
2. 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?”
For more preparation advice regarding the Speaking sub-test, take a look at the OET Preparation Portal. You will find heaps of great resources, including eBooks and Guides.