A comprehensive guide to OCCUPATIONAL English Test (OET)

The Occupational English Test (OET) is an English language test for healthcare professionals approved by NMC and GMC. It evaluates healthcare workers’ language communication skills to register and practise in the UK.

What is the Format of the OET?

The OET measures all four language abilities – listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It mainly focuses on communication in medical and healthcare settings.
OET comprises four sub-tests:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking


Candidates must show that they can follow and comprehend a variety of health-related spoken materials, including patient consultations and lectures. This section lasts about forty-five minutes. Listening in OET has three parts.

Part A – consultation extracts

Part A tests the capacity to identify specific facts during a consultation. You must listen to two recorded health professional-patient consultations and fill out the health professional’s notes based on what you hear.

Part B – short workplace extracts

Part B assesses candidates’ ability to recognise the characteristics, gist, opinion, or purpose of brief extracts from the healthcare workplace. They must listen to and answer one multiple-choice question for each of six recorded extracts (e.g., team briefings, handovers, or health professional-patient interactions).

Part C – presentation extracts

Part C tests candidates’ ability to follow a recorded presentation or interview on various healthcare issues. They must listen to two separate extracts and respond to six multiple-choice questions for each extract.


Candidates must demonstrate their ability to read and comprehend various text forms on health-related topics. It has three parts.

OCCUPATIONAL English Test (OET)Part A – expeditious reading task

Part A tests candidates’ ability to discover specific information rapidly and efficiently from four short texts. The four brief texts cover a different aspect of healthcare, and they must respond to 20 questions in the allotted time. Matching, sentence completion, and short answer questions make up the 20 questions.

Part B- Careful reading

Part B tests candidates’ ability to recognise the details, essence, or central idea of six short texts from the healthcare workplace (100-150 words each). Extracts from policy documents, hospital rules, manuals, or internal communications such as emails or memos could be included in the texts. There is one three-option multiple-choice question for each text.

Part C- Detailed reading task

Part C tests applicants’ ability to decipher the specific meaning and express opinions in two texts on areas of interest to healthcare practitioners (800 words each). Candidates must answer eight four-option multiple-choice questions for each test.


In writing, you will write a letter usually, a referral letter. A different type of letter is sometimes necessary, especially for certain professions: for example, a letter of transfer or discharge or a letter to counsel or inform a patient, caregiver, or group.


The Speaking sub-test is an individual task, and the candidate participates in two role-plays. In each role-play, the candidate plays a patient, a client, or a patient’s related or carer, while the interlocutor plays a patient, a client, or relative or carer.
How to deliver the OET exam?
There are three modes of delivery for the OET exam.

  • OET on Paper at a Test Venue
  • OET on Computer at a Test Venue
  • OET at Home

OET on Paper at a Test Venue

The OET paper test has been the exam delivery mode for OET students for over 30 years. OET tests, in general, has four components (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening).

OET on Computer at a Test Venue

The format of the OET computer test (at test locations) is the same. Highly skilled examiners who mark paper-based OET will evaluate the test.

comprehensive guide to OETOET at home

Candidates can take the OET exam from their own homes. The format, time, and difficulty of the OET at home will be the same as the OET test venue. It is vital to have a stable desktop/laptop with a good internet connection.

Scoring criteria of OET exam

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How long will it take for the OET result?

The online result is usually published after approximately 16 business days of the test. Official statements of results are mailed out after the release of online results. There is no overall grade; instead, each sub-test is graded separately.

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