We have always advised that the Occupational English Test is the best way for international Doctors to exhibit their English language skills for their GMC registration. This is because the OET is specifically designed to test healthcare professionals’ abilities to communicate in a medical setting as appose to the IELTS.
Healthcare professionals choose OET because it helps them prove they have the right level of English for work or study, while also learning the kind of language they will need every day at work. Continuous research ensures test content and structure reflects current healthcare workplace scenarios and the changing needs of the sector.
The exam tests four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. The GMC require a grade B or above in all sub-tests in order to accept your registration, so it is important that you are prepared!
Reading – The 60-minute reading exam is made up of 3 sections:
Writing – The 45-minute writing part of the exam. Usually, you are asked to write a referral letter for a patient using case notes.
Listening – The 50-minute listening component of the exam consists of:
Speaking – The speaking component takes around 20 minutes and is a patient/client role-play style examination.
To read in more details about each section of the exam please read our Overview of the OET blog.
It is important that you firstly know when you will be taking the OET exam. It is crucial that you understand how much time you have to prepare. Once you know this you must then establish where your abilities currently stand. You may have sat the test before in which case you will have a rough idea of what your capabilities are and what score you are working at. If this is your first time taking the test, then we advise that you take a mock test. This will allow you to find out your current level, it will also highlight your weaknesses, so you know what needs the most practice in the coming weeks leading up to your exam. It is also a good idea to take a mock test because it will ease your nerves as when your OET exam date arrives you will know exactly what to expect.
At this stage you should be able to identify which of the four sub-tests (reading, writing, listening and speaking) you need to work on. You should also investigate further and see what element of the sub-test you found the most difficult. For example, during the reading element of the exam you may have found the Careful Reading section ok but struggled with the Expeditious Reading. In this case, in order to improve your overall score, you would need to practise quickly extracting information from texts.
Quality over quantity; it is not about how many practise questions you do or how many recordings you listen to but how well you are able to critique yourself. Listen/read deeply, stop often to analysis what’s going on and always go back over your mistakes and learn what you did wrong.
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