OET (Occupational English Test)

OET is a test which assesses language skill specific to your profession in your case as a health professional. OET is a well-respected international English language test for the healthcare sector. Established in the late 1980s under contract to the Australian Federal Government, OET continues to remain relevant through continuous research and validation.

To better understand OET we can compare it to IELTS because maximum people are aware of IELTS exams, if not visit https://gkworks.in/ielts/ for details.

When compared to IELTS exam OET will be much easier because if you have experience as a health professional either in your country or in Australia, New Zealand or an English speaking country or if you are currently studying for a health related diploma or degree, then there are many advantages in doing OET as it will be specific to your profession and you can use your medical knowledge and vocabulary.

Now speaking specifically about OET, Occupational English Test is specially designed for doctors and nurses. It is an English Fluency Test. The candidates aspiring to go abroad for Nursing and Medical jobs are required to pass the exam with a minimum B grade.

Grade Table for OET:

OET grade Description of ability
A Very high level of performance
B High level of performance, i.e. able to use English with fluency and accuracy adequate for professional needs
C Good level of performance; however, not acceptable to a range of health and medical councils
D Moderate level of performance; requires improvement
E Low level of performance; requires considerable improvement



Governments of Australia, Ireland, Dubai, UK, New Zealand, Namibia, Singapore, Ukraine, Malaysia recognize this exam and there are numerous organisations and institutes that recognise OET results as proof of English language proficiency. All you need to do is check with the organisation you are applying to regarding the OET grade(s) they will accept. Most recognising organisations require that candidates achieve the requisite grades for each sub-test in one sitting.


The test costs $587 AUD globally and candidate research shows that 85% consider OET to be excellent or above average value for money. Many candidates say that the familiarity of the test content in OET makes them feel more confident about taking the test.

Validity of the test Score

Scores are considered valid for two years by most professional regulatory bodies. OET Statements of Results include a scaled band score (grade) for each of the four sub-tests.

Similar to other language proficiency test it provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – with an emphasis on communication in healthcare professional settings.

Timeline of Availability

OET is available up to 12 times a year and can be taken at test venues around the world. A full list is available on the official website.

Listening Section (approximately 50 minutes)

The Listening sub-test consists of three parts, and a total of 42 question items. The topics are of generic healthcare interest and accessible to candidates across all professions. The total length of the Listening audio is about 40 minutes, including recorded speech and pauses to allow you time to write your answers. You will hear each recording once and are expected to write your answers while listening.

Reading Section (60 minutes)

The Reading sub-test consists of three parts and a total of 42 question items. All three parts take a total of 60 minutes to complete. The topics are of generic healthcare interest and are therefore accessible to candidates across all professions. Assessors who mark the Reading sub-test are qualified and highly trained. Candidate responses are assessed against an established marking guide. During the marking session, problematic or unforeseen answers are referred to a sub-group of senior assessors for guidance.

Writing Section (45 minutes)


The Writing sub-test takes 45 minutes and is profession-specific. There is one task set for each profession based on a typical workplace situation and the demands of the profession – a nurse does the task for nursing, a dentist does the task for dentistry, and so on.

Speaking Section (approximately 20 minutes)

The Speaking sub-test is delivered individually and takes around 20 minutes. This part of OET uses materials specifically designed for your profession. In each role-play, you take your professional role (for example, as a nurse or as a pharmacist) while the interlocutor plays a patient, a client, or a patient’s relative or carer. For veterinary science, the interlocutor is the owner or carer of the animal.


Results are published online approximately 16 business days after the test. Official statements of results are sent out in the post following the release of online results. There is no overall grade – candidates receive separate grades for each sub-test.


OET has been serving the needs of the healthcare sector for 30 years and Continuous research ensures test content and structure reflects current healthcare workplace scenarios and the changing needs of the sector. For more details related to coaching and study material visit https://gkworks.in/, have a great day!

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