Idioms for OET Speaking

Idioms for OET Speaking

Medcity OET Speaking tips

OET Speaking is all about enacting a role-play card. The card has details regarding the setting- which simply means where the conversation happens- which could be a hospital ward, a community health center, a clinic, a home visit and so on. The role-play card also has the background information about the patient and a list of tasks. It is these tasks that will help us plan our conversation with the patient.

When assessing the 5-minute conversation that you (nurse) will have with the patient or the bystander (whatever role is mentioned in the role-play card), your performance is scored based on certain assessment factors. Out of the many assessment factors, one of them is- Resources of Grammar and Expressions. Under this assessment criterion, 'confident use of idiomatic phrases' is clearly defined.

So what are IDIOMS?

IDIOM is a phrase (a short group of words) or expression that does not intend the literal meaning but the figurative meaning needs to be considered. For example, 'fit as a fiddle' is an idiom. Here fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument like a violin. Fit means to be suitable. But this idiom- FIT AS A FIDDLE- does not mean- 'a suitable violin' which is the literal meaning. Instead, what native speakers intend is the figurative meaning- which is 'to be in good physical shape'.

Should I use idioms in OET Speaking?

The assessment criterion does require the use of idiomatic language in speaking. This does not mean all the idioms in English are considered apt for the OET speaking scenario. 


Stay away from using phrases like-

  1.  Fit as a fiddle

  2.  To kick the bucket

  3.  Under the knife

  4.  Sick as a dog

  5.  Out of shape

  6.  A bitter pill to swallow

What are the accepted IDIOMS used by native speakers

Phrases that will help you sound natural and that are commonly used by native English speakers will help you in raising your speaking scores.

  1. in terms of

  2. deal with

  3. get rid of

  4. take care of

  5. make sure

  6. look for

  7. as well

  8. kind of

  9. in fact

  10. go through

This is not an exhaustive list, but will give you an idea on what 'idiomatic phrases' will need to be used in OET speaking to help you fetch a grade B or above.

Make sure you use all these and more of the idiomatic phrases in your conversation the next time you engage in OET Speaking role-play.