3 OET Writing Mistakes to Avoid

3 OET Writing Mistakes to Avoid


3 OET Writing Mistakes to Avoid


3 OET Writing mistakes to avoid: As a healthcare professional, it is important to be proficient in English, especially when it comes to writing. The Occupational English Test (OET) assesses the English language proficiency of healthcare professionals who are seeking to work or study in an English-speaking country. The OET Writing sub-test is designed to evaluate your ability to communicate effectively in writing.

From OET Experts here are some common mistakes made in the Writing sub-test and a bonus on common concerns about the use of punctuation in letter writing.

Are you guilty of these top three?



1. Using ‘rule out’ to mean ‘confirm’


Rule out refers to the act of eliminating or excluding something that is impossible.   However, sometimes people make the mistake of switching the meaning around.


  • The case notes say: pneumonia – ruled out (X-ray).
  • The letter written by the student reports: The patient has pneumonia.


In the example above, the X-ray reveals the patient does not have pneumonia, i.e. the exact opposite of what the student wrote.


2. Using ‘complaint’ instead of ‘compliant’


This mistake might be a typo as the spelling of the two words is very similar.


  • The case notes say: medication – taking regularly as per instructions.
  • The letter written by the student reports: the patient is complaint with their medication.

This sentence gives the suggestion that the patient is unhappy with their medication because of the misspelling. With the correct spelling, the sentence would explain that the patient is taking their medication correctly.


3. Using ‘advice’ instead of ‘advise’


This mistake could also be because of a typo but more commonly because the student is unfamiliar with one noun and the other a verb.


  • The case notes say: smoking – methods to quit discussed.
  • The letter written by the student reports: The patient was adviced to quit smoking.

Here, it should be a verb ‘was advised’ to be grammatically accurate.

Make sure you keep an eye out for these common errors when you are writing! 

In conclusion, to achieve success in the OET Writing sub-test, you should avoid these common mistakes. With practice and careful attention to these areas, you can improve your writing skills and increase your chances of success in the OET Writing sub-test.


Common concerns about the use of punctuation in letter writing.


In the Writing sub-test task, candidates often inquire about the appropriate use of punctuation in the address and greeting of a letter. Questions such as

  • whether a comma should be included at the end of each line of the address,
  • if it’s correct to add a comma after the greeting (e.g., “Dear Mrs Daveson,”)
  • whether a full stop should be placed after a person’s title (e.g., “Dear Mrs Daveson”)
  • if a comma is necessary after “Yours sincerely/faithfully” are common.

It’s worth noting that including or omitting punctuation in each of these situations is acceptable. Punctuation rules have evolved over time, and it’s now common to omit punctuation that was once standard. For example, “Dear Mrs Daveson” is now commonly used without a comma. Hence, whether you use punctuation or not in the given situations, you’ll still be using acceptable English.

While it’s understandable that candidates are concerned about punctuation, it’s essential to remember that it’s only one of the six assessment criteria in the Writing sub-test. Therefore, it’s advisable not to prioritize it over other crucial aspects such as the letter’s structure and content during your preparation.

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