How Important is Spelling?

So, how important is spelling?

In the IELTS test, spelling is a huge concern for all IELTS students. In Writing, 25% is determined by vocabulary, which includes correct spelling. In Listening, any spelling mistake is incorrect hence this can also seriously bring down your score.

In the OET test, spelling is a concern in Listening, Reading and Writing. In Writing, this is highly important under the criteria "Control of presentation features" which is 20% of your Writing score. You are encouraged to check your spelling and particularly to check you have copied any details from the case notes correctly.

In OET Reading Part A, spelling accuracy is essential as the words are spelled out for your already and you are expected to copy them as it is written. Take a few seconds after you’ve written your answer down to make sure you have copied it correctly from the text. Medical words are tricky, so ensure you check for spelling.

The OET listening test on the other hand is the most relaxed about spelling. The guidance is that as long as the assessor can work out the meaning of the word from your spelling, they will give you the mark even if the spelling is incorrect. If you don’t recognise a word in the recording, your first choice should be to spell it phonetically and this will generally get round some of the tricky spelling combinations that exist in English. If the examiner can sound out your word they will understand what you were aiming at. For example, you spelled pneumonia as numonia. This can be considered as correct as they sound similar. The only time the assessor will not give you the mark is if you have spelt another word with a different meaning for example, you wrote "amputate" instead of "ambulate". Sounds similar but have different meaning.

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