A new title for candidates aiming to pass OET Nursing, the Cambridge Guide to OET Nursing assumes that candidates have reached the appropriate level of language competence and does not attempt to introduce or revise lexis or structure. Rather, the title prepares candidates for the exam by presenting what the publishers refer to as ‘extensive task-based learning and practice’ for the four parts of the exam along with strategy and tips.
The Reading and Listening chapters are broken down into the three sections of each paper, with plenty of opportunity to get to grips with the skills necessary to succeed. This is particularly important as each section demands different skills and do not all pose the same level of difficulty. Part C in both sections can be particularly challenging for candidates – distinguishing between opinion and fact is no easy matter, even for native speakers.
The chapters dedicated to the Speaking and Writing part of the test follow the same format: an explanation of the sub-test ( which includes the criteria and level descriptors) is followed by a detailed preparation chapter, with plenty of explanations of the skills required to achieve a good pass, along with relevant practice tasks. The Speaking chapter focuses on such skills as using suitable question types, organising information when explaining things to the patient, checking for understanding and communicating with empathy. There is, in my view, a good balance between the professional skills needed for nursing in English and the linguistic skills needed to speak intelligibly and appropriately – which involves an understanding of the role of intonation. Of course, speaking practice can’t effectively be done alone and with just a textbook for company – candidates are strongly advised to get live practice before they sit the test – but what the book presents is highly useful.
The book includes two practice tests, with all audio recordings and answers available on an online platform. In terms of look and ease of use – well, like a lot of titles these days, there’s a fair amount of text but the font size is good, blue is used throughout to highlight box-outs, etc and there’s also enough white space so that eyesight isn’t strained. While many books try to work as both self-study and class texts, they don’t all succeed. This does and would work very well in both contexts in my view. In fact, one of the things I liked about the title was the ‘voice’ behind the text felt like that of a teacher. For this reason, the book could be useful for a less experienced teacher, or one who was less familiar with the OET exam.
All too often what is being taught and tested on ESP courses is specific vocabulary – though not necessarily that needed to perform specific communicative tasks in the workplace. Throughout The Cambridge Guide to OET Nursing, reference is made to the professional skills being tested which serves as a constant reminder of the focus of the OET exam, and of the utility of this book.
I highly recommend the book for candidates (with a B2+) and their teachers.