The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the usual path taken by IMG’s to evidence their English language proficiency to the GMC. IELTS is a general English language assessment and is available to all professionals globally. However, from 6th February 2018 the GMC started routinely accepting Occupational English Test (OET) as a way for doctors to demonstrate their English language competencies. OET is designed specifically for all healthcare professionals globally who want to evidence their English capabilities.
The OET exam assesses the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to receive a licence to practise in an English-speaking work environment. The test will provide a valid and reliable valuation of all four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. However, they place prominence on testing candidate’s communication in professional healthcare settings.
The exam is available in over 100 locations and 40 countries, with a test date available every month. For details on which countries the OET exam is available click here.
After your OET exam has been graded you will receive a statement of results which will state each grade you received for each sub-test, from A (highest) to E (lowest). You must receive a grade B or above in all sub-tests to demonstrate your English language proficiency to the GMC.
From 1st October 2019, OET is now an accepted qualification by the UK Home Office.
What should I expect in the exam?
The listening element of the exam consists of two parts with around 20-28 question items. The question topics will be of general healthcare.
Part A and Part B of the exam will be around 20-25 minutes long each. The recording will contain pauses to allow you time to write your answers. The task will provide a wide range of task types, such as multiple-choice and short answer responses so a good sample of your listening ability is tested.
Part A Consultation: The first part of the listening exam will test your ability to follow facts during a healthcare professional-patient consultation.
Part B Presentation: The second part of the exam will test your ability to understand a short speech on a health-related topic that may occur in a workplace.
The reading element of the exam has two parts, it will take 60 minutes to complete and the topic will be of general healthcare interest.
Part A Summary Task: The first part of the exam will take you 15 minutes to complete and it will test your ability to source information from multiple texts and skim and scan information. In this task you will be asked to read several passages and then fill out a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words.
Part B Multiple Choice: The second part of the exam will assess your ability to understand comprehensive texts, such as those in an academic healthcare journal and then answer a set of multiple-choice questions.
The writing part of the exam will take 45 minutes and will be healthcare professional-specific. There will be one set task, usually to write a referral letter for a patient. In addition to the task instructions, you will receive stimulus material such as case notes to help you write the letter.
Each OET candidate will take their speaking test individually and will take around 20 minutes. The test will form as a patient/client role-play. The exam will begin with a short warm-up conversation about your professional background and then the role-play will be introduced. There will be two-role plays and each will last for about five minutes each. Your presentation in the speaking exam will be scored against the following criterion: communicative effectiveness, fluency, appropriateness, fluency and intelligibility.
How should I prepare for my OET exam?
Everyone learns differently and preparation for your OET exam will differ dependent on your skill set in each of the communication areas. However, below are useful tips to aid you in passing your OET exam.
Are there any similarities between OET and IELTS?
Are there any differences between OET and IELTS?
If you are unsure of what English language test to take or have already received your IELTS or OET result and are looking to relocate to the UK then get in contact with us at [email protected] – and one of the team will be happy to provide you with tailored advice.