What is OET?

Occupational English Test (OET) is an English language proficiency test for healthcare professionals. It is a mandatory step for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, etc. who wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment in the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, and many English-speaking countries around the world. The test assesses your English speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills, and it is a proof for the healthcare regulatory bodies that the candidate is capable of doing effective communication in the taxing healthcare environment and eligible for nursing jobs in UK.

What is the pattern of OET?

OET presents an effective and trustworthy way to test English language skills in the following four categories:

  1. Listening: This OET Listening section aims to test your listening skills. It has three parts, and a total of 42 question items. 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.
  2. Reading: The OET 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.
  3. Writing: 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, the candidate has to write a letter, mostly a referral letter. The OET writing test aims to assess your writing skills and how well your writing reflects the general healthcare tasks performed at the workplace.
  4. Speaking: The OET Speaking sub-test is delivered individually and takes around 20 minutes. This part of OET uses materials specifically designed for your profession.This test is a one-to-one interaction between the interlocutor and the candidate. It begins with a short warm-up interview; the candidate will have to take up role-plays based on the routine interaction that they will encounter in their daily professional life. Candidates will have five minutes for each role-play with a preparation time of 2-3 minutes for each role. 

Tips to crack OET in the first attempt

The first and foremost thing you must understand about OET is that it may be difficult but not impossible to crack. But with the right guidance and strategy, you can crack it like a piece of cake.

  1. Organize your time and stick to it: You have to organize your time and your study space, find the right time for the OET exam preparation and rigorously follow it.
  2. Work on OET sample papers: Working on the OET papers will give you a clear idea of what to expect and how you should approach each section of the test paper. Working on the OET writing samples will help you mold your skills in line with the expectations of the OET test papers. While working on the sample papers, ensure that you are working with the right materials and as per the latest exam guidelines.
  3. Do not memorize: The prime goal of OET for nurses is to help them understand the importance of effective communication between a patient and a medical professional. Do not waste your time memorizing, but recognize the intention of the OET writing, OET listening, OET speaking, and reading test papers and focus your preparation accordingly. By practicing on the various aspects of the English language, you will have an organic understanding of the expectations in terms of the English language and communication.
  4. Focus on the test content: While answering the test paper, do not try to draw the answers from what you already know, nor guess. Try to answer based on the questions and the content provided in the test paper.Always try to read the subtext of the question, the questions & answers may not be as straightforward as it may seem. Not always try to answer based on your medical knowledge, try to look at the bigger picture, in short, read between the lines.
  5. Time your answers: Learn to time your answers. With practice, you will realize that time management is one of the most crucial aspects of your OET. If you are not sure of the answer to a particular question, then it is smarter to skip and move on to the next. Trying to work on the sample papers within the stipulated time will help you ace the game of time management.
  6. Wrap-up: OET is a mountain that you can climb with the right guidance and skills. Work with OET writing samples and other sample materials, practice, and understand why a nurse has to undertake the OET test and focus your preparation accordingly.