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May 05, 2021 Wednesday 01:04:05 PM IST

Attaining Success in OET

Teacher Insights

Professionals in medical management who wish to register or practice in English speaking countries, have to take Occupational English Test (OET). The test is recognised and trusted by healthcare boards and councils in the UK, the USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore and more. OET helps healthcare professionals to improve their communication skills in respective working environments, while it helps healthcare organisations and regulators to select the right candidates with an adequate level of English proficiency to deliver high-quality care.

What is OET?

It comprises four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Test takers will receive a Statement of Results which shows their score for each of the four sub-tests, on a scale from 0 to 500. The numerical score will be mapped to a separate letter grade for each sub-test ranging from A (highest) to E (lowest). There is no overall grade for OET. Most recognising boards and councils require candidates to score at least 350 in each of the four sub-tests.


A good listening score demonstrates that the candidates can follow and understand the health-related spoken materials. The module test duration is approximately 45 minutes with three parts. Part A involves two health consultation recordings. Candidates have to find or identify information and complete the health professional’s notes. In Part B, six health workplace recorded extracts can be heard, where the detail, opinion or purpose of a conversation is identified. Two recorded presentations or interviews on healthcare topics are assessed in Part C.


The reading module tests the understanding of different topics related to health management. It has three parts to be completed in one hour. Candidates will get just 15 minutes for Part A. So, they have to attend the module with perfect time management. Twenty questions must be answered in the allocated time. It has four short texts regarding health topics. Both Part B and Part C require careful reading in 45 minutes of texts that consist of extracts of documents such as hospital guidelines or manuals.


Writing tasks include writing a letter - on referral discharge, transfer or advice. Candidates will get 45 minutes to do this. They can use 5 minutes to analyse the question and the remaining 40 minutes to transcribe.


The speaking session consists of 20 minutes – an introduction part and two role play:

Warm-up Questions

The speaking test starts with a warm-up or introduction questions. It is mainly to help the candidates relax and prepare them for the further session. The warm-up session is not considered for the test score. When a candidate enters the examination hall, the interviewer verifies the candidate’s details and asks a few questions on their hometown, the reason to choose medical profession etc. Then the interlocutor plays the patient in the next session (role play), while the candidate does the part of a medical practitioner.

Test Results

Test results will be released approximately 16 business days after each test day on candidates’ online profile on the OET website. Official copies of Statements of Results can be downloaded from the same.

How to achieve a high OET Score?

1. Learn the test overview and structure. Understand each module in detail.

2. Create a study plan – realistically distribute the time to revise regularly.

3. Sharpen your skills – Consult with a certified preparation provider and try to work on the parts you struggle with.

4. Take mock tests. This will help you familiarize yourself with the OET test and identify the areas to improve.

5. Keep calm and attend the test. It is important to take some time for yourself to absorb all the information you have learned without becoming panic.

Candidates may require coaching support to perform well. Ensure the centre you opt for has a well-researched curriculum, is student-friendly and managed by certified trainers offering personalized coaching. 

Rani Varghese

Chief Trainer, Focus English, Thrissur

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