One of the biggest fears people feel when taking tests is whether they will fail. As a result, many naturally will ask if the test is difficult. This is the same with OET, with its’ takers naturally asking this: is the OET exam difficult?
Generally, the OET exam may not be difficult, provided the candidate has an adequate grasp of English. OET may also be less challenging if the candidate has studied to prepare for the test under the guidance of an experienced tutor. The key is to prepare and apply the proper strategies when taking the test to get desired results.
This article explores whether OET is difficult and harder than IELTS. We also look into the subject of why people may fail OET. Finally, we also discuss what you can apply to your preparation to increase your chances of passing the OET with flying colours.
Is OET Harder Than IELTS?
In general, both exams are equally hard. This is because the grading is similar across the board, despite different scoring systems. However, some medical professionals may find OET easier, as the test context is more relevant to their lives.
OET (Occupational English Test) and IELTS (International English Language Test System) are assessments that measure English learners’ English proficiency. The only difference is that OET is tailor-made for medical professionals, while IELTS is a general English test.
When you look at the grades, both tests are equally hard. If you perform mathematical calculations, you may see that you need around the same score to achieve equivalent grades.
As a start, let’s look at the perfect score first. For OET, it is 500, while for IELTS, it is 9.0. To calculate the OET score, click here
To achieve the highest grading of A in OET, you can only lose 10% of your perfect score. That means at least 450 or more. You might also claim the same with IELTS. To achieve the highest grading, you can only lose around 10% of your perfect scores as well. That means at least 8.0.
However, some medical professionals may find OET easier to pass, as the context and content inside the test are more predictable and have a closer relationship to their work.
For example, a doctor in the OET speaking test may be asked to discuss a certain disease or describe an x-ray scan. In IELTS speaking, the doctor may be asked to talk about issues as wide-ranging as transgender athletes to types of cheese.
What Is The Most Difficult Part Of OET?
In general, many OET candidates see speaking and writing tests to be the most difficult. This is understandable, as speaking and writing require them to ‘produce’ English instead of ‘receiving and processing it in reading and listening.
In general, many candidates believe that ‘production’ related skills are hard to do well in OET, which are speaking and writing. This is because speaking and writing require you to produce an ‘output’ of English in oral or written form.
For example, when writing, you may need first to have an idea, opinion, reason, justification, or example. Then you must organize the flow to build a smooth way to present the thought. Only then can you write it down. You may also need to note your grammar as you write.
Speaking can be even harder, as the time a candidate has to perform all the tasks above is shortened much more. When writing, a candidate can pause, think and resume. With speaking, the candidate can only pause by using markers such as um, but, or err. Using these markers frequently may result in lower marks.
On top of those issues, candidates also need to be aware of their pronunciations and accents when speaking.
Why People Fail The OET Test?
Many fail the OET test for multiple reasons. Often reasons include not preparing well enough, relying on the wrong resources, and struggling to express their ideas well in speaking and writing. Some also have accent issues and fail to prepare according to their line of work.
➧ Not Preparing Well Enough: Many candidates fail not because they have weak English but because they did not prepare well enough. Many candidates simply think they can pass the OET without studying or preparing for it.
Some do not see the need to go for tutoring to at least prepare themselves, thinking their English will carry them through. They did not bother to learn the exam formats, the tasks they would be asked to perform, nor at least practice answering similarly formatted questions.
As a result, they miss opportunities to score well during the test papers and eventually fail.
➧ Relying On the Wrong Resources: Some candidates may prepare diligently and work on ensuring they can do their best, but they still fail. This can be because they are not using or relying on the right resources.
Perhaps the workbooks they use to help prepare for the OET are the old ones, without the updated information. They could also be prepared without the guidance of an experienced tutor. It could be due to a lack of funds. Some candidates prefer to go at it alone or work with a less-capable tutor.
As a result, they do not get the right advice, support, and tips to improve, which means their effort ends up in vain, as they eventually fail.
➧ Struggling To Express Themselves in Speaking and Writing: This may happen simply because they have not practised doing so. Some candidates believe they can pass OET by working on ‘input’ based skills such as listening and reading and maxing out the scores. They hope that the maxed-out scores, it can cover up for their weaker writing and speaking scores.
However, in many cases, this may not be enough, as each skill (reading, speaking, writing, and listening) are accessed equally. As a result, these candidates fail.
➧ Accent Issues: Many learners of English may be influenced by their mother tongue and speak English with an accent. Many also may not pick up the nuances of English because it is often a polite language, and the speakers tend not to be too direct.
As a result, these candidates spoke with too much accent or did not use English in its more proper convention. As a result, they become harder to understand and may struggle to get a good score on the speaking test.
➧ Not Preparing Based On Profession: Some candidates also fail their OET because they failed to prepare based on their profession. The listening and reading tests are similar across all professions. Still, the writing and speaking tests may differ if you sit for OET as a nurse, dentist, or medical doctor. Some candidates, maybe from lack of guidance or preparation, fail to know this, only to realize it when it is too late.