In OET letter writing, you are expected to write dates for conveying information accurately. Considering that you are writing a formal letter, it is important that everything, include dates, is presented accurately and in the appropriate style.
Table of Contents
1. Dates & Assessment Criteria
If the date is missing in the beginning of an OET letter, it can affect the score for the criterion ‘Organization & Layout’.
If a relevant date is missing/incorrect/misleading in the content, it can affect the score for the criterion ‘Content’.
However, date format/style is assessed under the criterion ‘Genre & Style’. As far as the date written is accurate, using a different date format should not impact the score (Genre & Style) significantly.
Here is the breakdown of the OET Assessment Criteria
|S.No.||Location||Type of Mistake||Penalty in|
|1||Beginning||Date Not Added||Organization & Layout|
|2||Body Paragraphs||Relevant Date Missing/incorrect/misleading||Content|
|3||Anywhere in the letter||Wrong Date Format||Genre & Style|
2. Date of the letter at the start
This indicates the date on which the letter was written. This will be given in the case notes as part of the content or as ‘Today’s date’.
Acceptable Date Format
Write the date in full form at the start as that is the preferred format.
31st December 2022
31 December 2022
However, date format with numbers and slashes is also acceptable at the start.
Try to avoid date formats comprising of numbers with periods/hyphens at the start.
NOTE: The date of the letter should be written before or after the address of the recipient (addressee). A single space should be maintained between them.
3. Date in the reference line (Re:)
The patient’s date of birth (DOB) is written in the reference line. It should be written after the patient’s full name.
Writing in the same line is preferred but in a new line (without space) is acceptable as well.
Date format with numbers and (forward) slashes is preferred in the reference line.
Date in full form is acceptable in the reference line.
DOB: 31st December 2022
DOB: 31 December 2022
Date formats comprising of numbers with periods/hyphens are also acceptable in the reference line.
4. Date in the body of the letter
Dates written in body paragraphs indicate timeline of events.
Date format with numbers and (forward /) slashes is preferred in body paragraphs.
Date in full form is acceptable in in body paragraphs. (This may increase the word count)
31st December 2022
31 December 2022
Date formats comprising of numbers with periods/hyphens are also acceptable in in body paragraphs.
NOTE: The date formats used in the reference line and body paragraphs should be consistent.
If you make a mistake in the test and write a different date or use numbers not words, DO NOT PANIC, this cannot fail you. The assessors are looking for your understanding of letter writing convention in English. It is much more important that a date is on the letter than that the date you used is correct.
5. British or American Date Format
In OET letters, British date format is (dd/mm/yy) preferred.
31/12/22 or 31/12/2022
However, American date format (mm/dd/yy) is acceptable.
12/31/22 or 12/31/2022
|British Date Format||dd/mm/yy||31/12/22 or 31/12/2022|
|American Date Format||mm/dd/yy||12/31/22 or 12/31/2022|
Using periods/hyphens with numbers is also acceptable in the American date formats.
However, to avoid confusion, it is advisable to write the date in full form at the start (Letter Date).
NOTE: The date formats used in the reference line and body paragraphs should be either British or American. Avoid writing both British and American formats in the same OET letter.
6. Date formats to be avoided
Below is the list of all wrong OET letter date format. These must be avoid losing marks in any writing assessment criteria.
31 Dec 2022
2022 Dec 31
2022 December 31
31\December\22 (Using backward slash (\) should be avoided)