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Mastering the OET Test: your comprehensive guide to test day success

Exam important day, calendar concept

Navigating through the OET exam day can be daunting, but in this article we’ll go through the crucial details for your OET test day, ensuring you’re well-prepared for success.

Before the test day: preparation and arrangements

Regularly check your email for updates from OET.

You’ll receive confirmation of your test venue and examination times.

Keeping an eye on your inbox is crucial to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Ensure that the identification (ID) you used during the booking process remains valid on the test date.

Without a valid ID, you won’t be able to sit for the exam, so double-check this vital requirement.

Know what things you’re allowed to bring with you into the exam room on test day.

These are:

  • valid ID
  • non-mechanical pens and pencils
  • erasers
  • 2B pencils
  • pencil sharpener
  • clear plastic water bottle

If you require any special exam arrangements, it’s essential to contact OET in advance.

This ensures that these are in place when you take the test.

What to take on test day

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need on test day.

Your valid ID is crucial for confirming your identity during the examination process.

Don’t forget to bring it with you!

Bring something to write with. You’re allowed to use non-mechanical pens and pencils for your exam and you’ll need a 2B pencil for some sections.

Things you mustn’t take into the exam room are:

  • jewellery and hair accessories
  • electronic devices
  • bags
  • correction fluid or tape
  • mechanical pens or pencils
  • highlighters
  • paper

What happens on test day

Now that you’ve prepared your essentials, let’s look at what to expect on the day of your OET exam.

When you arrive at the test centre, you’ll go through the check-in process.

Your ID will be verified and you’ll receive a locker and key for storing any bags or mobile phones.

Afterwards, you’ll be directed to a waiting room before going into the exam room.

The OET exam consists of multiple papers and you’ll take them in a specific order:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking

You’ll do your speaking test at a designated time when you’ve completed the other papers.

What happens in the exam

OET Listening section

Before starting the listening section, you’ll:

  • do a sound check
  • listen to instructions and regulations
  • ask questions if you’re not sure about something
  • get a personalised exam paper
  • check the details on the exam paper are correct
  • sign the candidate declaration.

During the listening test, you’ll:

  • complete Part A in pen or pencil
  • use a 2B pencil to complete Parts B and C
  • use the two minutes at the end to check your answers

You’re not allowed to leave the exam room during any part of the listening test.

OET Reading section

Before starting the reading section, you’ll:

  • listen to instructions
  • check the details on the exam paper are correct
  • sign the candidate declaration

During the reading test you’ll:

  • have 15 minutes for Reading Part A
  • have 45 minutes for Reading Parts B and C
  • complete Part A in pen or pencil
  • use a 2B pencil to complete Parts B and C
  • write your answers carefully – there’s no time at the end to check them

You’re not allowed to leave the exam room during Part A, or during the first and last 10 minutes of Parts B and C.


Writing section

In the writing section you’ll:

  • verify all details on your exam paper
  • sign the candidate declaration
  • have 5 minutes to read case notes (no writing)
  • have 40 minutes to complete your letter


Speaking section

After completing the writing paper, you’ll have a break before the speaking exam.

It’s a good idea to use this time for a toilet break, or to relax and prepare yourself.

But don’t forget to leave enough time to have your ID checked again before the designated time you’ve been given for your speaking test.

Remember that

  • the exam starts with a warm-up section (not assessed)
  • you have three minutes to prepare for the role play
  • you can ask questions about pronunciation or meaning during these three minutes, but not about the role play itself
  • after both role plays, you’ll leave without taking any materials or speaking to other candidates that are waiting
Top tips for test day success
  • Prepare your items the night before.
  • Arrive at the test centre with plenty of time to spare.
  • Don’t forget your valid ID.
  • Approach the exam with confidence.
  • if you make a mistake, don’t panic – stay calm and do your best.
  • Remember, preparation is the key to succeeding at  the OET exam.

If you follow these guidelines and are well-prepared, you’re well on your way to achieving success on your OET test day. Good luck!

For more tips on this topic, watch this video featuring SLC YouTube start OET Jo explaining what happens on OET test day.

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