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The Occupational English Test (OET) is an international English language test that assesses the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. It provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – with an emphasis on communication in health professional settings.

OET tests international health practitioners in the following 12 professions: Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology and Veterinary Science.

Test format

Listening

approx. 50 minutes

Part A – consultation (20-25 minutes)

Part A assesses your ability to follow facts during a consultation. You will listen to a recorded health professional-patient consultation and complete a note taking task, guided by relevant headings.

Part B – presentation (20-25 minutes)

Part B assesses your ability to understand a short talk on a health-related topic that might realistically occur in the workplace. You’ll listen to a recorded talk or lecture (monologue) by a healthcare professional and complete a range of open-ended and fixed choice tasks.

Reading

60 minutes

Part A – summary task (15 minutes)

Part A assesses your ability to source information from multiple texts, to synthesise information in a meaningful way and to ‘skim’ and ‘scan’ material to retrieve information quickly. You are required to read 3-4 short texts (a total of approximately 650 words) related to a single topic, and complete a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words (25-35 gaps in total).

Part B – multiple-choice questions (45 minutes)

Part B assesses your ability to read and understand comprehensive texts on health-related topics similar to those in academic or professional journals. You are required to read two passages (600-800 words each) and answer a set of multiple-choice questions (16-20 in total).

Writing

45 minutes

  • The task is to write a letter, usually a referral letter. Sometimes a different type of letter is required: e.g. a letter of transfer or discharge, or a letter to advise or inform a patient, carer, or group.
  • Along with the task instructions, you will receive stimulus material (case notes and/or other related documentation) which includes information to use in your response.
Speaking

approx. 20 minutes

In each Speaking test, your identity and profession are checked by the interlocutor and there is a short warm-up conversation about your professional background. Then the role-plays are introduced, one by one, and you have 2-3 minutes to prepare for each. The two role-plays take about five minutes each.

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