The Occupational English Test (also known as OET for Nurses) is an international English language test for the healthcare sector. It assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment.
Why is OET being updated?
To ensure OET stays relevant to healthcare professionals, employers in a constantly evolving healthcare industry. The OET updates are based on findings from rigorous research processes, extensive consultation with subject matter experts, and ongoing stakeholder and candidate feedback.
What is being updated?
From 9 September 2018 OET, the following changes will come into effect: Test tasks Some test tasks will change to reflect current research findings as well as feedback from candidates and subject matter experts. Format The ‘look and feel’ of the test paper will change to accommodate computer-based testing in the future. Results reporting A new OET results scale providing more granular details will be introduced. Assessment criteria Some minor inclusions to the assessment criteria i.e. the assessment of clinical communication skills in the Speaking sub-test.
What will stay the same?
It’s important to know the language proficiency level has not changed. Candidates who take the OET will not find it more difficult nor easier than it is today. The skills and competencies required to achieve target OET scores will also remain largely unchanged.
How will this benefit preparation providers?
The September update benefits everyone involved in OET. Some of the advantages include: Greater assurance over candidates’ ability to communicate effectively in demanding healthcare environments Updated speaking criteria will explicitly test clinical communication skills currently being taught in the classroom which had not been formally assesses previously.
Improved granular scoring, offering a more holistic view of candidates’ test performance It will be easier to compare OET results to other English Language tests.
What will be updated in the Listening sub-test from September?
The listening test is being updated to reflect the changing healthcare industry: Part A will continue to focus on consultation conversations but with changes to format Introduction of a new Part B will include 6 short dialogues or monologues set in workplace contexts Part C will include two longer presentation or interview audio texts with a series of multiple-choice questions to answer. A wide range of international accents will also be introduced to this test.
What will be updated in the Reading sub-test from September?
The reading test is being updated to reflect the changing healthcare industry: Part A will continue to involve scanning 4 short texts but will include some changes to the format. A new Part B will now include six short texts set in workplace contexts. Part C will mirror the current Part B’s format but the 45 minutes’ test time will now include both Parts B and C.
What will be updated in the Writing sub-test from September?
There will be no updates to the Writing sub-test.
What will be updated in the Speaking sub-test from September?
The format of the speaking test will remain the same. However, the OET will now assess clinical communication skills, including: Building relationships Understanding the patient’s perspective Providing structure to the conversation Gathering information from the patient Establishing what the patient already knows.
How many years is the validity of OET?
In most situations, it is two years for registration purposes and three years for immigration purposes
How much is the OET exam?
The test costs $587 AUD globally and candidate research shows that 85% consider OET to be excellent or above average value for money
What can I bring into the test room?
- Pens, pencils and erasers (no mechanical pens)
- Water in a small, clear bottle (no label)
What can't I bring into the test room?
- Digital devices (mobile phones, iPods, digital watches, etc.)
- Analogue watch
- Bags, wallets and keys
- Jackets, hoodies, scarves, gloves
- Baseball caps, beanies, hats or hoods
- Cases for pens or glasses
- Dictionary, pieces of paper
- Highlighters and correction fluid
What does OET do about cheating?
When will I get my OET results?
The Statement of Results shows the scores obtained at the most recent sitting, as well as scores for all sittings within the last 2 years. Results for the four sub-tests that make up the OET are reported as one of five grades – A (highest) to E (lowest).
Why did I get different grades for OET sub-tests?
There are many aspects to being able to use a language effectively, and it is not unusual for candidates to have profiles which are uneven across the different component skills of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Even within a single skill, a candidate may be relatively strong in certain areas (for example, fluency) and relatively weak in another (such as accuracy).
What grade do you need to pass OET?
Most recognizing boards and councils require candidates to have at least a B grade in each of the four sub-tests. But to make sure you’re up-to-date with requirements, always check with the relevant boards and councils that regulates your profession.
How long are OET results valid for?
The length of time the results are recognized as valid is decided by the authorities that recognize OET (e.g. boards and councils, government departments). Always check your authority’s website for details to make sure you know their requirements. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) also publicizes their requirements on their website.
Can I get additional copies of my OET test results?
Yes, to order an additional OET Statement of Results, please log in to the OET website with your username and password click Candidate Information, then Statement of Results.
Each additional Statement of Results costs AUD $35.00 and can take up to 2 weeks to be posted from Melbourne. Additional postage charges may apply. Please note: Under no circumstances do we provide OET results by email, fax or over the phone.
Is it possible to combine grades from different sittings?
You should always check the English Language Proficiency Requirements of your regulatory authority. This is not a matter of OET policy.
Who accepts OET results?
OET is recognized and trusted by healthcare boards and councils in UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Many organisations, including hospitals, universities and colleges, are using OET as proof of a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a demanding healthcare environment. Please visit the OET website to view a list of organisations which accept OET results as proof of English language proficiency. Please check with the organisation you are applying to regarding the OET grade(s) they will accept.
How are OET results reported?
Grade | Description of ability
A Very high level of performance
B High level of performance. i.e. able to use English with fluency and accuracy adequate for professional needs
C Good level of performance, however, not acceptable to a range of health and medical councils
D Moderate level of performance: requires improvement
E Low level of performance: requires considerable improvement
Can I request a re-mark if I disagree with my OET test results?
You can request a re-mark of one or more sub-tests if you believe your sub-test results are not accurate. Re-mark requests must be made within 5 days from the date your results are published online by completing the Request for OET Re-marking Form. Re-marking and appeal charges will be refunded in full if your sub-test grade(s) change as a result of your appeal. View OET’s full Re-marking Policy here.