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OET Speaking: The Importance of Grammar and Expression

How to introduce more variety in grammar and vocabulary in your OET Speaking test. Recent OET Speaking sessions with my students have made me think of the 'first-line' practice almost all of them employ, in an attempt to improve their OET speaking skills: making a good plan for the language they will use, and ensuring proper application of techniques. However, little do they know about the importance of being resourceful in expression, vocabulary and idiomatic speech. Many times students only focus on a limited number of steps in their plan and preparation (being empathetic, asking very simple questions to explore the patients concerns, or constantly using 'I am sorry to hear that' just to name a few) and are not even aware that there are other equally important aspects of their performance that will be assessed. One of these is willingness to explore every opportunity to prove one's ability to use a wide range of lexis. Paraphrasing is only one example of a technique which can help you prove your language is rich and flexible, it will help you extend the range of grammar and vocabulary in your OET Speaking subtest and will also highlight confident use of idiomatic speech. Paraphrasing can be used at least on two occasions throughout the interview. Take advantage of the patient's language and focus on expressions and words you can replace by synonyms or different phrases that will communicate the very same idea. Let's imagine the following complaint coming from the patient: Patient: These anxiety attacks have become more frequent now, they usually happen after some stressful period at work, and once they happen I find it difficult to sleep at night. Physician: To check if I've got everything right, these episodes have become recurrent , you believe stress brings them on and you've been losing sleep over them, is that right? Or Patient: And can this happen again, doctor? Physician: That's a very important question Mrs. X, let me explain more about the possibility of recurrence. Or Patient: But I eat healthy, doctor. Doctor: And maintaining a healthy diet is indeed very important, but I am afraid there are other factors that can increase the risk of stomach ulcers. So, let me advise all students preparing for their OET exam, or the OET Speaking subtest more precisely in this case: never undermine the importance of developing and improving each aspect of your OET speaking performance respectively. Make sure that your study plan includes proper training for all skills you will be assessed upon and not only the basic ones. And finally, the OET is a language assessment, what could be more important than solid vocabulary use.

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