What is OET & Why You Need It?

OET for healthcare professional

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a very relevant admission for healthcare officers who intend to work or study in English-speaking countries. 

It tests the English proficiency that you would require mostly in clinical practice, where you will be dealing with patients and other practitioners. 

This guide explains why and what you need to know about OET.

What is OET?

OET is for professionals in the healthcare sector, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists. Unlike other English tests, OET uses the language of healthcare. 

This means the test focuses on the types of tasks you perform in your day-to-day job and demonstrates your ability to manage English in a medical setting. Prioritizing communication is important in healthcare. 

The OET confirms whether you have adequate language proficiency to interact with patients, comprehend health documents, and cooperate with your colleagues. 

Each organization specifies its passing scores to ensure you meet their standards.

OET Exam Format

The OET exam has four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, or the well-known acronym of the four skills – L.R.W.S. All parts of the assessment mimic the practical reality that people working in healthcare face.


The Listening part lasts approximately 45 minutes. You listen to consultations in a healthcare setting and lectures. You need to answer questions to prove your understanding of what you heard.

  • Part A: Attend consultation and complete a summary chart of the consultation and insert any missing information into the notes.
  • Part B: Sit for short tests where you listen to extracts of workplace dialogues and answer quiz questions.
  • Part C: Watch presentations or interviews on healthcare issues and solve the test quizzes in the form of multiple-choice questions.


The Reading part is scheduled for 60 minutes. It examines your capacity to read and comprehend various healthcare texts.

  • Part A: Identify keyword patterns in the short texts and retrieve specific information from short-tailored texts.
  • Part B: Summarize the main ideas of six brief employee reads.
  • Part C: Conduct close readings of two longer texts about healthcare issues and answer the following questions.


The Writing test comprises 45 minutes in which you write a letter from notes provided in the case. This could be a referral letter, transfer or discharge letter, or a letter to the patient or the carer.


The Speaking part entails miming some situations related to healthcare. You will communicate with an examiner acting as a patient or carer for approximately 20 minutes.

OET Delivery Modes

OET can be taken in three ways:

The format of the test and the level of difficulty are the same in all modes. All tests are marked by experienced examiners.

Scoring and Results

The overall band score for the OET ranges between 0 and 500 for each part of the test. The scores represent letter grades from A (highest) to E (lowest).

  • A (450-500): Good speaking and listening skills.
  • B (350-440): Predominantly good communication with occasional flaws.
  • C+ (300-340) and C (200-290): Can manage communication with some errors.
  • D (100-190): Can get by in simple conversation but may require further explanation.
  • E (0-90): Minimal developed communication skills.

OET can be taken up to 24 times a year internationally. Score reports are accessible on paper 16 business days after the test’s completion. The results of the Computer and home test appear 10 days after the test. There are no total grades, but there are individual scores based on each section.

Why OET is Better Than Other English Tests

OET is better for healthcare professionals because:

  • Relevance: Its core focus is on the language used in healthcare.
  • Recognition: Endorsed by healthcare boards in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, and Singapore.
  • Confidence: Prepares you for real-life healthcare situations.

Essentials of Preparing for OET

Here are some tips to get ready for the OET:

  1. Understand the Test Format: Be familiar with the structure and types of questions.
  2. Practice Regularly: Use actual practice tests and sample tests.
  3. Focus on Healthcare Language: Read health articles and watch health videos.
  4. Seek Professional Help: Enroll in an OET preparation program.
  5. Join Study Groups: Work with others to grasp the material.

Strategies for OET on Exam Day

  1. Arrive Early: Allow enough time to adapt to the environment.
  2. Follow Instructions Carefully: Pay attention to the invigilators.
  3. Manage Your Time: Keep track of time for each part.
  4. Stay Calm and Focused: Move past difficult questions if necessary.

OET for Career Advancement

A good OET score can open many opportunities for admission to hospitals, universities, and employment in regulatory organizations. It demonstrates that you meet the basic requirements for speaking English fluently, making you a valued entity in the healthcare industry.


The OET plays a significant role in a healthcare worker’s ability to work and learn in English-speaking countries. 

It addresses language competency and context relevant to your occupational specializations, preparing you to communicate effectively in your work environment. 

With thorough preparation and practice, a good score on OET can greatly advance your career and your ability to use English in healthcare facilities.

To learn about OSCE or CBT you can visit our other blogs.


1 Comment

  1. Prajakta Hanuman Budhbaware
    July 16, 2024

    Thanks for sharing me all details of OET….I understand & it’s very well…

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