Introduction to OET

OET stands for Occupational English Test. It is an English language test designed for healthcare professionals in assessing their language skills to provide proof of language proficiency/competency in a health care environment. It also serves the purpose in registration, study and employment in a healthcare segment as well as visa approvals in designated countries. As a result of development OET has been able to cover a range of 12 medical professions ranging from Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry and many more.
OET is aimed to reproduce the critical tasks of healthcare workplace settings and measure abilities of all 4 language skills encompassing listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The OET exam comprises of four sub-tests


(Duration: 45 minutes)


(Duration: 60 minutes)


(Duration: 45 minutes)


(Duration: 20 minutes)

For each of the above mentioned sub-tests, candidates are awarded a numerical score from 0-500 in 10-point increments like 310, 320, 330, etc. This numeric score is then mapped to a separate letter grading system that ranges from A (the highest) down to E (the lowest). However, there is no overall grade for the OET exam. The passing mark is a minimum of 350 which is Grade B for each of the Sub-Tests.

Listening Sub-Test

The Listening has been structured into 3 parts in order to assess a range of Listening abilities based upon identifying specific information, gist, opinions and details along with the purpose of the speaker. It comprises of 42 questions taking into account generic healthcare topics involving:

  • PART A - Patient- centered Consultation Extracts
  • PART B – Workplace Extracts (Monologue& Dialogue)
  • PART C – Interview based recorded Presentation

Question format can consist of note completion (fill in the blanks) and multiple choice questions. You have 45 minutes time to answer the questions.

Reading Sub-Test

Parts A, B and C with a bank of 42 questions to solve form the structure of the Reading Sub-Test Structure. The duration given to attempt this task is 60 minutes.

PART A - Introduces you to 4 short texts with 20 questions based on a single health topic for which one has to solve a mix of sentence completion, matching and short answer questions in an expeditious or rapid manner. This section demands a scanning and skimming skills to enable to score well within a 20 minute span.

PART B - An attempt to assess the capability of the candidate to comprehend the gist/main point and details from a host of 6 short extracts that has been sourced from a health care scenario stretching from policy documents, guidelines, manuals or internal communications within the workplace.

PART C - To complete the task of this section admirably, the candidate needs to use the skills of interpreting and comprehending the explicit and implied meaning in line with the attitude and opinion of the writer.

Writing Sub-Test

With a single profession specific task, the Writing Sub tests last 45 minutes to complete whereby the case note is based on a typical workplace situation.

Using a case note along with task instructions, the candidate has to attempt to write a letter as a response in different forms or purpose in order to inform, advise, update medical issues to a patient, carrier or group.The letter types take shape in the form of a Letter of Referral, Discharge transfer etc.

There are 6 Performance Assessment Criteria to receive a score.

Speaking Sub-Test

After undergoing a routine warm up talk with the interlocutor who takes a role of patient, carer or relative, the candidate has to deliver an interactive speaking session within a stipulated time of 20 minutes to cover 2 role plays.

The candidate will be provided a Role play (cue card) which contains information relevant to typical workplace situation and an explanation of what will be expected of them to do. Equipped with detailed information, the interlocutor follows a script and guides through the conversation with the purpose of only facilitating the task without assessing. The assessment will be done after the recording is sent by the interlocutor. There are different role plays for each candidate although the test can take place in the same center.

There are nine parameters within the Linguistic and communication Criteria to be assessed.