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What is OET?

OET (Occupational English Test) is a test of English language that assesses the communication skills of healthcare professionals wishing to register and practice in an English-speaking environment .OET is recognised by regulators, hospitals and universities in a number of countries.

OET covers all four language skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) with an emphasis on communication in a healthcare environment. The same test of Listening and Reading is taken by all those entering for OET, whilst specific tests of Writing and Speaking are available for each of the separate professions.

Who is Eligible to Sit OET?

OET caters for 12 specific healthcare professions, with tasks designed to reflect actual workplace situations. The professions included in OET are:

  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Radiography
  • Speech pathology
  • Veterinary Science

Architects of OET

The test was set up during the late 1980s under contract with the Australian Federal Government .It was designed by the Professor Tim McNamara at the University of Melbourne .Since 2013 ,it has been functioning under the ownership of Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment (CBLA),a joint project between Cambridge Assessment English ,UK and Box Hill institute, Australia.

OET is backed by over 30 years of research at the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) at the University of Melbourne, and the Research and Validation group at Cambridge Assessment English .It has undergone a continuous cycle of research ,validation ,and evaluation to ensure its relevance to purpose.

The team responsible for OET continuously strives to ensure that the test remains relevant to present –day workplace situations and the evolving requirements of the healthcare sector .For this reason ,OET has recently undergone some changes in its format and assessment criteria ,and the first updated test was held on 9 September 2018.

Why Choose OET?

OET is a respected English proficiency test for professionals who aim to work or study in healthcare in the Australia, Dubai, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore ,UK or Ukraine.

Healthcare organisations and regulators choose OET because it helps them to select healthcare professionals with the right level of language proficiency to deliver safe and high –quality care in English –speaking environment.

By taking OET, you’ll prove that you have right level of English, plus you’ll be learning the kind of language you’ll need every day at work.

Healthcare professionals choose OET because:

  • OET uses real healthcare scenarios so you’ll feel more confident on test day
  • OET is widely recognised as proof of English proficiency for registration, study and work in the healthcare sector, as well as for visas in some countries.
  • OET helps you develop language skills for success in your career.


What is the Test Format?

OET consists of four sub-tests .The content of the Listening and Reading sub-tests is the same for all healthcare professionals, whereas the Writing and Speaking are profession specific and based on typical workplace situations.

The test components are taken in the following order


3 parts ,42 items ,approximately 50 minutes


3parts ,42 items , 60 minutes


1 Task ,45 minutes


Warm-up conversation ,2 role –plays,20 minutes

Total Test Time

Approximately 3 hours


How is OET Assessed?

OET provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four English language skills –Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking –with an emphasis on communication in professional healthcare settings.

You receive a Statement of Results which shows your score for each of the four sub-tests, on a scale of 0 to 500. Each of the four sub-tests is assessed in a specific way.


Table 2.1 provides a description of each grade along with its equivalent IELTS Band score.

Assessment of OET

Grade OET SCORE OET Band Descriptions Equivalent IELTS Band scores
A 450-500 Can communications very fluently and effectively with patients and health professionals using appropriates register, tone, and lexis. Shows complete understanding of any kind of written or spoken language. 8.0-9.0
B 350-440 Can communication effectively with patients and health professionals using appropriate register, tone, and lexis, with only occasional inaccuracies and hesitation. Shows good understanding in a range of clinical contexts. 7.0-7.5
C+ 300-340


Can maintain the interaction in a relevant  healthcare environment  despite occasional errors  and lapses ,and follow  standard spoken language normally encountered in his /her field of specialisation 6.5
C 200-290 5.5-6.0
D 100-190 Can maintain some interaction and understand straightforward factual information in his /her field of specialisation, but may ask for clarification. Frequent errors, inaccuracies and mis-or- over use of technical language can cause strain in communication. Less than 5.5
E 0-90 Can manage simple interaction on familiar topics and understand the main point in short ,simple messages ,provided he/she can ask for clarification .High density of errors and mis-or-over use of technical language can cause significant strain and breakdowns in communication.