Learn how to create an effective patient timeline in your OET Letter?

The most apt method to create a patient timeline in your letter, resulting in giving a very clear picture about the patient to your reader, has been under the scanner for some time now. Many students report this as a challenging aspect of OET letter writing. 

Now you have TWO WORDS to help you solve this major hurdle.


OET letter writing, usage of followed and following, creating patient timeline

FOLLOWING and FOLLOWED are the secret tools to writing an easy-to-follow order about the different things that happened in a patient’s life. But aren’t these words one and the same, is probably what you are thinking right now. Have you ever thought of how these words, in two different forms, can completely alter the structure of a sentence? They also completely change the order in which the events happen.


Well… Here we go!

Let’s take examples to look at it.

Example 1:

·        Mr Thomas was presented to hospital on 21/02/2020 followed by a syncopal attack.

Example 2: 

 Mr Thomas was presented to hospital on 21/02/2020 following a syncopal attack. 

What do you think about these examples?

Do you think both the examples convey the same message?

???????????? Well, they do not convey the same meaning. Let’s find out what the differences are.


The meaning of the first example is, Mr Thomas was presented to hospital on 21/02/2020 (event 1) and from the hospital he had a syncopal attack (event 2).


The meaning of the second example is, Mr Thomas had a syncopal attack (event 1) and later he was presented at the hospital on 21/02/2020 (event 2).


Following and followed, may look alike and sound homogenous but, they are able to have crucial effects on the information you present.

Let’s look at a couple of more examples to have an idea about it.

Mr Norton stated to have vomiting in the noon followed by severe pain in the abdomen region at night.

Mr Norton stated to have severe pain in the abdomen region at night following vomiting in the noon. 

Although the incidents mentioned in the above examples are exactly the same, the connection between them (Following, Followed) changes the sequence of events.

Let's learn HOW?

If you look at these above examples “Vomiting” is an event that happened in the noon and, “pain in the abdomen” happened at night.

When Followed by is used, the order of the events that happened stays as it is. But, when Following comes into action the order of the events in that sentence gets interchanged even though, the meaning of the sentence remains the same.

Why is it so important?

Creating a patient timeline in your OET writing should be easy to understand for the reader, hence easier to keep track of events. 

By now, you are aware of the secret words to help you create that perfect timeline of your patient.



  1. Hi mam ..,can we write as'was presented'.....I read somewhere we can't use it.pleasevgive me a clarification...

  2. Dear Romia, thank you for pointing out. That's correct. Keep reading and supporting us.


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