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When someone is going through pain, anxiety or any discomfort, that someone might not be able to deliver a speech with clarity and ease.

That’s the case with most of the patients you are going to come across in your real life as healthcare professionals. So, it’s extremely important to be calm and understanding.

Patients may provide you incomplete information, in a jumbled order or even not be able to answer you properly. But, as a healthcare professional, it’s crucial for you to collect the right information from your patients. If not, you would end up struggling to diagnose or bring forth the correct care.


In situations where you did not understand something or you want to recheck the information that you collected from the patient, to make sure what you got is correct, it’s important to clarify the information which a patient provides.

The OET speaking test’s clinical communication criteria needs you to clarify the information patients tell you.

How can we clarify?

There are clarifying expressions in English language which can be used to clarify or recheck the information you got from the patient.

Let us look at a few expressions that can help you in situations where you want to clarify or recheck the information provided by the patient.


Could you please tell me more about… ?

I’m sorry, would you please tell me what you mean by… ?

You’re doing a great job at explaining what has happened but I don’t fully understand…

Would you mind telling me little bit more about… 


Using these expressions to get more details or required explanation can really help you.

Also, if you want to make sure the information you got is correct, you could say:

Thank you, I just want to make sure I have understood everything you said, to summarise …

As a recap on what you just told me, …

Just to confirm every detail I got is correct, let me recap what you have told me, …

As a sum up of what you have told me, …


The next time you practice your OET speaking, make sure to use these techniques to ensure you’ve heard it right from the patient. Happy Learning!