OET For Doctors, OET, OET Writing, OET For Nurses

Some words sound the same or are spelt the same way but mean different things. Here are some examples of such words commonly found in OET which have different meanings.

OET Writing

Abduction1st meaning (medical): Movement of a body part away from the main part of the body it is attached to

2nd meaning: To be kidnapped


1. This test will measure shoulder abduction strength.

2. The rate of child abduction has decreased in the country.

Cell1st meaning (medical): Basic structure of a biological unit

2nd meaning: A small room, commonly used to refer to a prison

3. Brain cells usually die once a stroke happens.

4. The prisoner is in cell 9 down the hall.

ComaA state of deep unconsciousness where a person cannot be awakened (medical)

Sounds like: Comma (which is a punctuation mark used in writing)

1. The patient has been in a coma for the past 3 months.

2. You need to use a comma to separate items in a list like this: I like apples, bananas, oranges, and pears.

Culture1st meaning (medical): Cells or tissues grown for the a scientific purpose

2nd meaning: Ideas and customs of certain groups of people in society

1. You will need to collect some urine culture for analysis.

2. This ceremony is part of the  weddingculture of the people.

Elevator1st meaning (medical): A surgical tool used by doctors

2nd meaning: A device like a box that goes up and down, commonly used to carry people or things

1. The dentist will need to insert the elevator tip into the tooth socket.

2. He has taken the elevator to the 11th floor.

Fast1st meaning: To not eat anything for a period of time

2nd meaning: Moving or happening quickly


1. You will need to fast for 8 hours prior to the surgery.

2. You are driving too fast in the school zone.

GenesA part of the DNA which determine hereditary (medical)

Sounds like: jeans (which means ‘trousers made of denim material’)

1. His illness is caused by a gene mutation.

2. He tore his jeans on a nail at the rodeo.

HumerusLong bone in the upper arm (medical)

Sounds like: humorous (which means ‘something funny’)

1. His pain is caused by a humerusfracture.

2. I find that blog quite humorous.

Stool1st meaning (medical): The solid excretion discharged in a bowel movement

2nd meaning: A type of seat without a back

1. The doctor wanted to get a stool sample from the patient.

2. The boy sat on a stool in class.

Tissue1st meaning (medical): A group of cells

2nd meaning: A form of soft paper commonly used for cleaning

1. Mr Mills just has some soft tissue injury but it still requires at least 6 weeks of rest.

2. He wiped the table clean with a tissue.

VeinA blood vessel (medical)

Sounds like: Vain (which means ‘being overly proud of oneself’ or it can also mean ‘not yielding a desired outcome’)

1. The doctor wants to check the blood flow in the patient’s veins.

2. If the minister does not approve this project, then all our efforts would have been in vain.

VenousPertains to a vein (medical)

Sounds like: Venus (which is the second planet from the sun in our solar system)

1. He is suffering from venous insufficiency.

2. The atmosphere of Venus is quite different from that of Earth’s.

There are many other words which you will discover as you read more. In your OET Writing sub-test, you will need to be very careful with the use of similar sounding words, especially when it comes to spelling, but with practice, you can get it right.

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