Proofreading is an important part of almost all forms of writing. It is not just something that English learners must do, as even native speakers should do it, too. Whenever you come to the end of a writing task, you should spend some time reviewing what you have written and then making changes if necessary. Even a professional writer who has spent his whole life speaking English may make a typo that needs to be edited out at the last moment.
1. Why proofread your OET letter?
Achieving success in the OET writing sub-test requires a great deal of skill, but it is easy to undermine that skill with a silly mistake. For example, perhaps your sentence contained a typo, a misused preposition, or a case of subject-verb disagreement. All of these errors are common and easily made, but you should definitely be able to catch them at the end of your test and change them to avoid being penalised.
The examiner who marks your letter will be looking for different kinds of mistakes. Some of these are large, abstract issues like including information that is not really relevant or addressing the reader as though he has never met the patient before, even though he definitely has. Other mistakes are more prosaic. Maybe you have put a comma in the wrong place or put an article where there should be none.
2. How to proofread an OET letter
When there is just five minutes left of the OET writing sub-test, the invigilator will call out a time warning. This lets the candidates know that they have five minutes left to wrap up the writing of their letter, so that they don’t stop in the middle without having finished it.
Hopefully, by this stage you will have brought your letter to a conclusion and you can devote these final five minutes to proofreading. Although it is possible to do it in less time, it is not wise to rush it too much. You should read your letter over slowly, paying attention to the function and form of each sentence. Be critical and don’t be afraid to make changes wherever you think they are needed.
At this stage, you should focus on issues like whether or not your letter actually fulfilled the task given to you, whether you included any irrelevant information from the case notes, and whether you used the right tone to deal with the recipient of the letter. These are all quite difficult to change, but if you have enough time, it should be possible to fix these mistakes.For all this keeping the Writing Assessment Criteria in mind can be quite effective.
You also need to take care of grammar and vocabulary issues. These can be more difficult, and oftentimes candidates find themselves unsure of whether something they have written is right or wrong. This is why it is important to do lots of practise prior to the real exam. In these practise sessions, you can also work on your proofreading skill. We would highly recommend that you find an expert or native speaker to check your writing as well. This will help you to identify common errors so that you can look for them specifically later.
Altogether, it is vital that you spend the final five minutes carefully assessing your own writing for errors or inadequacies. This will be much easier if you are familiar with your own weaknesses.
Look at the following paragraph from a sample OET letter and correct the errors. You should be able to find eight of them in total. These include common types of error such as spelling, punctuation, and word form.
- During her apointment on March 15th, Mrs. Dawkins reportedly suffering from severe pain in her right knee, with some shooting pains extending down on her lower leg and even with the foot. After being examined it was determined that she had some damaged to her posterior cruciate ligament. This pain became more notable during she stood or walked, and lessened while sitting or lie down.
Once you have finished, you may check your answer below. We have underlined the eight mistakes from the passage.
During her appointment on March 15th, Mrs. Dawkins reported suffering from severe pain in her right knee, with some shooting pains extending down into her lower leg and even to the foot. After being examined, it was determined that she had some damage to her posterior cruciate ligament. This pain became more notable when she stood or walked, and lessened while sitting or lying