The 9 OET speaking criteria explained

Mar 16, 2020

There are 9 criteria OET uses to decide your score when you do the speaking test. Knowing the criteria can help with your preparation. A study partner is an excellent way to prepare or with an expert OET speaking practice coach who can give you honest feedback, strategies and an estimated OET grade. 


  1. Intelligibility (6 points)
  2. Fluency (6 points)
  3. Appropriateness of language (6 points)
  4. Grammar and expression (6 points)
  5. Relationship building (3 points)
  6. Incorporating patient perspective (3 points)
  7. Providing structure (3 points)
  8. Information gathering (3 points)
  9. Information giving (3 points)

1 Intelligibility (6 points)

It is expected that you will have an accent. However, your pronunciation, word
stress and rhythm should still be clear and easy to understand.

  • Many words in English sound similar but not exactly the same (e.g. share, chair) Your pronunciation should not cause a strain to understand your word choice. e.g. ...
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Speak the patient's language: The Language of Pain

Feb 19, 2020


How the patient describes the pain may help in diagnosing its cause. Myocardial pain is often described as stabbing, but biliary pain as cramping.

Open questions:

  • Which part of your (head, arm, face, chest,...) is affected?
  • Where does it hurt?
  • Where is it sore?
  • Can you describe the pain?
  • What is the pain like?
  • Is your pain severe?
  • Is there anything that makes it better?
  • Does anything make it worse?
  • Does anything relieve the pain?
  • Does lying down help the pain?


Describing the characteristics of pain:

Dull pain - pain that is not sharp "She felt a dull ache at the back of her head."

Burning pain - painful in a way that feels hot "Indigestion can produce a burning pain in the middle of the chest."

Gnawing pain - continuously uncomfortable or painful "After three days, we felt a gnawing hunger."

Sharp pain - describing a quick, strong pain that makes you feel like you have been cut. "I have this sharp pain in my chest, doctor."

Stabbing pain...

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