What is OET – A complete Guide

Introduction to OET

Is OET your career dream? Then this blog will help to know more about OET and also it will provide vital key information to crack the exams. Various details related to Occupational English Test (OET) are incorporated in this. OET is owned by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment Trust (CBLA). The test is structured by Professor Tim McNamara in the 1980s, for this, he took guidance from Australian National Office for Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR). At that time OET was administered by NOOSR. Continuous assessments and verifications are done on the test structure for ensuring quality. The activity was done by the University of Melbourne’s Language Testing Research Centre and by Cambridge Assessment English.


The Occupational English Test (also known as OET) is an English Test for healthcare professionals recognized by various regulatory healthcare bodies. OET has been acknowledged by the Councils of different countries like  Australia,  Singapore, Namibia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom, USA, Dubai, and Ukraine.OET examines the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who want to work in an English-speaking atmosphere. It is mainly attended by the below listed medical professionals

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech Pathology
  • Radiography
  • Veterinary Science
  • Podiatry

Is OET different for Doctors, Nurses & Other Medical professionals?

Occupational English Test is a language test carried out to determine the language abilities of a healthcare professional, be it is an optometrist or Nurse, who wish to get a job in an English environment.

Delivering modes of OET

There are mainly two methods of delivering the tests are available they are

1)OET on Paper at a Test Venue

2)OET on Computer at a Test Venue

1) OET on Paper at a Test Venue  

In this mode the test is delivered on paper ,it is as same as any other written tests. It is the method followed for the last 30 years

2) OET on Computer at a Test Venue

It is same as the paper test method .The only difference is that the test is carried out in a computer instead of using papers

How can we apply for OET ?

The steps for applying for OET are as follows.

• Go to the home page myOET

• Select the Register option from the options provided.

• Enter your personal details and upload necessary ID proofs, Photographs, etc. (The documents should meet the requirements as per the guidelines.)

• Complete the Registration accurately.

• Complete the Registration accurately. (Create a user ID, Password, and a security question for further proceedings.)

The registration cannot be done using a mobile phone.
Once the registration is over, an official mail is received from MyOET to the registered mail id. Click the link in the email for login purposes.

How to book OET on paper

• Go to the webpage occupationalenglishtest.org/myoet-login/

• Click the Apply test tab from the dashboard

• Step by step personal details should be entered

• Review location, times and profession according to your personal information

• Proceed to checkout

• Then enter the payment related data (credit card)

Note: Only 15 minutes is allowed to enter the card details

How to book OET on Computer

• Go to the webpage occupationalenglishtest.org/myoet-login/

• Before proceeding to further steps the candidate have to read and confirm the OET terms and conditions ,OET privacy policy

• Please make sure that the name in the ID proof and your legal name is same

• Select dates for the examinations

• Upload the ID proof  which you are producing during the time of examination

•Proceed to the payment window

Note: Only 15 minutes is allowed to enter the card details

How OET is done ?

OET is a valid and reliable assessment of the four skills of English skills that are

• Reading

• Writing

• Listening

• Speaking

How OET is done?


Candidates are required to make evident that they are good in reading and understanding different types of text on health-related subjects. The reading test is sub categorized into three they are-   

a) Expeditious reading task (15 minutes)

b & c) Careful reading task (45 minutes)

Expeditious reading task

In this task the  aspirant will get four short texts ,all these texts will be based on a single health related topic. The assessment will be based on the ability of the candidate to understand the topic quickly and effectively. Their will be twenty questions in this session. It consist of matching, sentence completion and short answer questions.

Careful reading task

Under this category there comes part B & C ,In part B the ability of a candidate to assess the core essence of a topic is evaluated .For this six short texts are provided ,which are sourced from healthcare workplaces .The texts may be some mails ,hospital guidelines , policy documents or some internal communications etc. From each texts their will be one multiple choice questions.

In Part C the evaluation of candidates ability to understand the complete meaning and opinion of a long text on topics of interest to healthcare professionals. Two texts will be given in this section, from each texts their will be eight multiple choice questions.


In the writing test the candidate have to write a Letter regarding a medical subject, mainly referral letter of a patient , discharge letter or a letter for advising the patient or caretaker regarding the essential things to be followed etc.

How writing skill is examined?

There will be at least two assessors in this test, both the assessors will not know what score has given to the aspirant by the other . the assessment is based on six criteria and for each criteria scores are given separately.

The six criteria are as follows –

• Purpose

• Content

• Conciseness & Clarity

• Genre & Style 

• Organisation & Layout 

• Language 

1. Purpose

in this criterion evaluation is based on whether the purpose of letter is visible and the content is neatly and explained in detail

2. Content

In this criterion evaluation is based on whether the content is correctly included  in the letter and also it should be easily understandable to the reader.

3. Conciseness & Clarity

In this criterion the preciseness of the letter and the clarity is evaluated

4. Genre & Style 

In this criterion the evaluations is based on how correctly the abbreviations are used and the way of execution is done.

5. Organisation & Layout 

In this criterion evaluation is based on the organization and also the readability of the letter

6. Language 

It is the last criterion in this the punctuation , grammar , spelling and vocabulary is evaluated


The Speaking test is done individually to each candidate. In this ,the OET assessor assigns a task to the candidate regarding his/her medical profession. The candidate have to play as the medical professional in the task and the OET assessor will validate only  the language speaking capability of the candidate ,not the professional knowledge. Speaking subtest is validated by minimum two OET assessors, their judgment will be specific and targeted. In the speaking test the entire audio is recorded and then the audio is assessed .In both the role plays he scoring is done on the basis of nine criteria ,for each criterion score is given. The nine criteria are further divided into two they are

1.Linguistic Criteria

2.Clinical Communication Criteria

Linguistic Criteria

•Intelligibility-in this criterion the accent ,tone and pronunciation is mainly evaluated. Score will be based on how clearly the listener understand the topic, which the candidate have delivered

Fluency-In this criterion the effect of speed and smoothness of your speech on the listener is mainly examined

Appropriateness of language- the professionalism and the language used by the aspirant while delivering a content is evaluated in this criterion ,

Resources of Grammar and Expression- the accuracy in grammar and the vocabulary used by the applicant is evaluated in this section

Clinical Communication Criteria:

Relationship-building-In this criterion the candidates approach to the listener and the way of demonstration also the way how he or she opens the conversation is evaluated

Understanding and incorporating the patient’s perspective-In this how much effort the candidate is taking to include the listener in the conversation and also the listeners understanding is evaluated.

Providing structure-In this criterion the way the candidate organizing the information and introduction style and making the listener understand new topics is examined.

Information-gathering-The way how the candidate is communicating with the listener while asking questions and listening to the answers from the other is considered in this criterion

Information-giving– The way the candidate delivers information to the listener and how he/she understands the listeners understandings is examined in this section.


Listening test is the third sub category in OET ,during the test an audio having 40 minutes length is played ,their will be about 42 questions in this test at the same time of listening the candidate have to answer the questions. The test demands the Candidates to illustrate that they can follow and understand a span of health-oriented words such as patient feedbacks and classes.in this test the ability of the candidate to understand things through oral communication is checked. In this test the audio is played only once

The listening test is structured as follows, it has mainly three sections

a) Consultation extracts (Five minutes each)

b) Short workplace extracts (One minute each)

c) Presentation extracts (Five minutes each)

a) Consultation extracts 

In this section the ability of the candidate to understand the details during a

consultation is assessed. Two recorded audios regarding consultations of any of the 12 medical professionals as mentioned earlier will be played ,the candidate have to prepare detailed health professional notes at the same time of hearing the audios.

b) Short workplace extracts

In this section the ability of the candidate to understand the essence and purpose of short extracts from health related institutions. In this part six audio extracts are played ,the candidate have to answer one multiple choice question from each extracts.

c) Presentation extracts

In this section, the skill of the aspirant to understand a recorded presentation or interview of a span of health-related topics is examined. During this category two recoded audio extracts are played and the candidate has to answer six multiple-choice questions from each extract.


For each subtest (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening), there will be a scoring range from 0-500. Also, the numeric scores are converted to Alphabetical grades also.It is as follows. There is no overall grade for OET

GradeNumeric Score

Descriptions for each Grades

Grade A- communication is excellent and fluent. The candidate is able to understand both Oral and written English language effectively.

Grade B- communication skill of the aspirant is effective with a very few mistakes also the accent and tone is good .

Grade C+ & Grade C : Candidate can communicate and interact in a healthcare environment ,but errors are occurring which may affect his or her field of specialization.

Grade D- Candidate can maintain interaction and he or she is able to communicate vital information in a healthcare environment but the frequency of errors is high.it may adversely affect the applicant. Lack of clarity in communication is there and also exertion is present during the communication.

Grade E-  Candidate is able to communicate only very simple topics and also the inaccuracy rate is very high. Communication is not smooth and exertion is felt severely.

How long the OET result is Valid?

The validity for the OET results are decided by Regulatory Authorities that govern the profession. The authority for each profession and each country is different. Example in the case of Nurses the regulatory authority is different in United Kingdom And New Zealand. The Nurses are controlled by Nursing and Midwifery Council in UK but in the same time in New Zealand it is Nursing council of New Zealand.

OET Results & Timings

OET is conducted about 14 times a year. The details regarding the timings will be published in the official website of OET. The results of examinations will be announced only after sixteen(16) business days.

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