OET Role Play: How to use the 3-Minute Preparation Time

We’re going to look into how you can utilize three minutes preparation time wisely. At first in OET speaking you will perform two role plays in which each role play will go on for 5 minutes. You will have 02-03 minutes to prepare for each of the role play cards and the whole session goes for about 20 minutes in total. While you will look at in the two to three minutes while you prepare for the role play to begin, you’ll also be able to hold this role play card and refer to it during the role play.


One of the common questions we get is what do I call the patient? What is the patient’s name? So, in the two to three minutes preparation time, you can ask the interlocutor, your conversational partner any questions at all about the role play card or you can ask them what you should call them and it is highly recommend you to do this. You simply say “Excuse me! What do I call you in this role play?” And they will reply by saying something like “you can call me Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith" or whatever. This is helpful because then you can begin your role play by saying “Nice to see you again! Mr. Smith I hear you’ve been having some troubles with X.”


If we look at the role play card, you can see the setting. Below that you'll see the scenario, and below the scenario you'll see the various tasks. Setting tells us about the sense of urgency you need to use and that will dictate the tone of your language. So, this particular role play cards setting is in a general practice or a clinic or maybe it will be at home care visit where the urgency and tone will be a lot milder. You could however get a role play card where you are in an ICU in which case the tone might be very different. There might be a greater sense of urgency and this will have an effect on the language you use.


The scenario tells you the background of the patient. It's going to tell you who, what and possibly when something has happened and, in particular, about the main medical issue of that particular patient. This is important just to get an idea of what's going on.


As mentioned, you'll get to hold the role play during the preparation time and also during the role play as well. You won't be able to memorize all of these tasks and you don't really need to. It is more than likely you will sort of forget a bit of the information by the time the role play starts and that's completely fine! What you really need to do is this; focus on the verbs in the tasks. For example, the verbs in these tasks ask you to find out or request or explain or highlight the importance of something or reassure these firms will basically tell you what you need to do. For example, if you need to highlight the importance of something what sort of language would you use perhaps you would use words like “it's critical that you or it's really important that” It is important to keep those key verbs in mind and let them drive the role play forward.


So, if you're interacting with a 25-year-old student, who is experiencing fatigue, how might he or she be feeling? In the two- or three-minutes preparation time think about the emotional state of the person you're going to be speaking to. Because, rest assured, on their role play card they're going to have concerns and you might not see it on your role play card, but you need to be aware of it and you can certainly anticipate what it might be. If you have to highlight the importance of something you can assume that the patient will probably resist this. What this means is the interlocutor or the patient is taught or they will act in a way that there will be resistant to something. So, if your tasks says that you need to highlight the importance of something you can presume that there probably going to be resistant to it and you will need to use language to convince them otherwise. If you have to reassure the patient then you can assume that the patient is anxious. So again, here we can see the importance of the verbs in the tasks that tell you what to do and they also give away what the patient will be like.


In this one we can’t really see much jargon. We can’t make any assumptions about what he or she will know so make sure that if you do see a word or phrase that it is jargonistic, you de-jargonize it for that particular person.


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