The Occupational English Test, or OET, is an English exam designed for medical professionals.
It is available for the following 12 professions:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech pathology
- Veterinary science
The majority of test takers in the UK are doctors and nurses. The OET is to prove your English level, so that you can work as doctors and nurses in the UK and other English speaking countries. The countries accepting the OET test are
- The UK
- The USA
- The Philippines
- New Zealand
You can view the full list of institutions that recognise OET
Who should take OET?
The OET test should be taken by healthcare professionals who are already qualified in their own country but ultimately would like to work in any of the English speaking countries from the list above. The OET is also the perfect for those people who are already living in an English speaking country, such as the UK, but don’t have proof of their English level. Therefore they have lower level jobs, than what they are qualified to do. Many of these people at the moment take the IELTS exam.
What are the benefits of choosing OET over IELTS?
The benefits of choosing OET are the following:
- OET is medically related, the tests are specifically designed for your job e.g. nursing. It uses healthcare language, tasks and activities.
- You not only prepare for an English test, you prepare for working in a medical setting.
- Your confidence level will increase both in the test and in your work environment.
- You only need to take this one test to get accepted in the UK.
- In the speaking test, apart from grammar and vocabulary, the soft skills needed for your actual job are also assessed. Your communication skills, empathy, the ability to listen to and talk to patients is tested as well.
What level do I need to pass OET and how much does it cost?
The passing score for OET is 350 across all sections, which is grade B. This is the equivalent of IELTS minimum 6.5 in writing and at least 7.0 in reading, speaking and listening. It costs $587 AUD globally and based on an OET candidate research 85% of test takers consider OET to be excellent or above average value for money.
How to start planning for the test?
1. Make sure you give yourself enough time
Even if your English level is high and you have been working in the healthcare profession for a while, it doesn’t mean you will pass the test with flying colours on your first attempt. So be realistic with your expectations. Don’t get discouraged by initial failure and don’t put unnecessary extra pressure on yourself. You can do it!
2. Be prepared!
Get familiar with the structure of the test, the timing and assessment and then start testing yourself. Take a free mock exam from the OET website and check your result. This will help you to adjust your expectations as well and be able to better plan your OET journey.
3. Practise, practise, practise
There are lots of free resources available to prepare for the exam, so make sure you make the most of them. Practice tests, tips, OET Masterclasses, YouTube videos, blogs, and success stories are all there to support you. But you need to put the work in.
4. Find some professional help
You can find lots of free resources online, which is great, but that might not be enough. Many people try to prepare themselves and end up failing time and time again. A good preparation course might look like an inconvenience, but it is absolutely worth it. The guidance and feedback you get is invaluable. Teachers can help you understand your weaknesses and work on avoiding your typical mistakes.
5. Apply for the test when you feel ready
It’s normal and understandable that you want to get it done and over with as quickly as possible. Remember, it is an investment in your life and future career. Use your time, money and energy wisely. Only register for the test when you feel absolutely ready to avoid disappointment and resits.
How can LanguageUK help you?
LanguageUK in Canterbury are one of just a few preparation centres in the South East of England. We are launching online and face to face courses for nurses and doctors both in a group setting and private tutoring. Our OET super intensive courses start on a Monday just before the test. You get to work on your weaknesses with trained teachers and focus on what you specifically need to practise and to get a better score on the Saturday. Feel free to get in touch and ask any questions you have. We are here to help you. 🙂