Occupational English Test
The Occupational English Test (OET) is one way way for doctors to demonstrate their English language competencies. OET is designed specifically for healthcare professionals globally.
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 45 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.
The listening element of the exam consists of three parts, and a total of 42 questions . The question topics will be of general healthcare. The total length of the Listening audio is about 40 minutes, including recorded speech and pauses to allow you time to write your answers. You will hear each recording once and are expected to write your answers while listening.
Part A Consultation Extracts: In this part of the exam, you will listen to two 5 minute recordings of Consultations. You will be assessed on your ability to identify specific information and will be expected to complete the health professionals notes using the professional-patient consultation you hear.
Part B Short Workplace Extracts: In this part of the exam, you will listen to six 1 minute recordings. You will be assessed on your ability to identify the detail, gist, opinion or purpose of the short extracts from the healthcare workplace. After listening to the workplace extracts (e.g. team briefings, handovers, or health professional-patient dialogues), you will answer one multiple-choice question for each.
Part C Presentation: Part C assesses your ability to follow a recorded presentation or interview on a range of accessible healthcare topics. You will listen to two different extracts (around 5 minutes each) and you will answer six multiple-choice questions for each extract.
The reading element of the exam has three parts, and a total of 42 questions. It will take 60 minutes to complete and the topic will be of general healthcare interest.
Part A Expeditious Reading: Part A assesses your ability to locate specific information from four short texts in a quick and efficient manner. The four short texts relate to a single healthcare topic, and you must answer 20 questions in 15 minutes. The 20 questions consist of matching, sentence completion and short answer questions.
Part B Careful Reading Task 1: Part B assesses your ability to identify the detail, gist or main point of six short texts sourced from the healthcare workplace (100-150 words each). The texts might consist of extracts from policy documents, hospital guidelines, manuals or internal communications, such as emails or memos. For each text, there is one three-option multiple-choice question.
Part C Careful Reading Task 2: Here, you will be assessed on your ability to identify detailed meaning and opinion in two texts on topics of interest to healthcare professionals (800 words each). For each text, you must answer eight four-option 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. You receive information for each role-play on a card that you keep while you do the role-play. The card explains the situation and what you are required to do. There will be two-role plays and each will last for about five minutes each, with 3 minutes given for preparation. Your presentation in the speaking exam will be scored against the following criterion: communicative effectiveness, fluency, appropriateness, fluency and intelligibility.
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.
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.
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Originally posted: 21/03/2018
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