Yvonne, a doctor from China, popped in this afternoon with coffees. She recently recently passed OET, the Occupational English Test, so we asked her some questions about the approach she took.
“I’m a doctor from China and am working in New Zealand in a research position. I had previously taken IELTS a couple of times. My latest results were Writing 6; Speaking 6.5; Listening 8 and Reading 7.5. So I knew I was OK with reading and listening but needed to improve the other skills. I decided to do OET because it was more relevant and I could use all my medical experience and my years of training and medical education. The writing was more relevant to my role and more interesting.”
How did you prepare?
“I took a strategic approach to the test. It took me two months. I went to the classes at Languages International, taught by Dérene and Nick and worked hard outside these classes. I made friends with two other doctors and a pharmacist who were also coming to the classes and this was great. We shared resources, met up in the café to practise speaking and gave each other lots of encouragement, motivation and support. All four of us passed first time! The classes were useful and I learnt some great ways to approach the test.
The classes that helped me most were the ones about reading which provided strategies to approach Part A and Part B of the test. The speaking classes helped me to think about how I structure a consultation. This helped me in the test and will help me in my future work. But the classes aren’t enough on their own – you need to put in a lot of work outside the classes.”
Do you have any advice for other people preparing?
“The thing that really helped me was doing lots of listening. I used ABC Health Report and listened everyday to the interviews that were interesting to me. This was really helpful to get me used to listening to Australian accents and people talking about different topics that I hadn’t had as much exposure to. I didn’t do a lot of extra reading – I already have to read lots of medical papers for my role. But if you are in a position where you don’t have to read much, it would be a really good idea to read something everyday – maybe from a website with general health topics – maybe a newspaper site like the Guardian Health and Society pages.
I passed! Now I’m onto the next step to getting medical registration.”