When training to do the OET, it is important to build your general English vocabulary so that you can communicate clearly and precisely in a variety of scenarios – be it a reference letter, discharge letter or a transfer letter. This will help you in all parts of the exam, and even after you sit the OET, you should still continue to improve your general English skills each and every day.
However, as you might expect, it is also really important to work on building your medical English vocabulary. This means the vast list of words related to medicine that you will need in order to excel in the OET sub-tests. Of course, this will depend upon your specialty. The vocabulary needed for candidates who aim to do the nursing exam will be a little different from those who sit the veterinary exam or the physiotherapy exam, for example. Of course, there will also be some cross-over between the categories, and candidates in one specialty will be expected to know some words used by candidates in another specialty.
However, whichever exam you choose to sit, it is important to work out the sort of words that you will need to know, and then to test your vocabulary regularly. You can do this by finding an English vocabulary test online or by testing yourself through flash cards or a well-designed vocabulary notebook.
The writing exam may be the biggest test of your abilities because in this case you are not just expected to know words, but you are expected to be able to use them with accuracy. That means not just knowing their meaning, but being able to employ them in a grammatically and logically correct way. This will require learning words not just in isolation but in context. You should know the common collocations of certain words, as well as related word forms. For example, does the word have an adjective form as well as a verb form? If so, how are these used differently? As such, it is essential to build your OET writing vocabulary carefully and methodically, while continually testing your abilities.
What are some important words for OET writing?
As I mentioned above, important vocabulary will differ from specialty to specialty, so you should look up words according to your own discipline. To do this, try building lists of vocabulary related to your chosen area, and then look up how they are used by taking advantage of targeted Google searches.
Below are some common words that could potentially be used in almost any of the OET writing sub-tests.
General Health and Lifestyle Words
Diet – the sorts of food and eating habits that one has
Exhausted – to feel very tired
Hygiene – relating to cleanliness and matters of sanitation
Nutrition – information about the types of food a person consumes
Posture – the way in which a person stands or sits
Shape – referring to a person’s condition – ie in good shape = to be healthy
Vigorous – to do something strongly or with lots of energy
Words Relating to Illness or Poor Health
Allergy – when you take a bad reaction to something
Asthma – a respiratory condition that can make it hard to breathe
Cold – a common term for the flu or flu-like symptoms
Fever – having an unusually high body temperature
Heartburn – a casual word for indigestion
Rash – a skin problem, usually characterized by red bumps and itchiness
Sprain – an injury to a joint in the body; painful not but usually serious
Medicines and Other Treatments
Bandage – a protective covering for an injury
Cream – medicine that is applied to the skin
Eyedrops–medicine that is put into the eye
Pain-killer – medicine to ease pain
Prescription – a recommendation from a doctor of medicine to be taken
Tablet – medicine that is taken orally
Syringe – a device for giving injections