OET (Occupational English Test)

What is OET?

OET is an international English language test that assesses the language proficiency of healthcare professionals seeking to register and practice in an English-speaking environment.

OET provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – with an emphasis on communication in healthcare professional settings.

OET for Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), UK

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced it will formally recognize OET for overseas-trained nurses and midwives for registration purposes, from 1 November 2017. You will need to achieve at least Grade B in all four sub-tests of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

In OET you must achieve at least Grade B in all four sub-tests of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

NMC will only accept OET test results:

from one test administration, or from a maximum of two test administrations taken in a six-month period, only if: you achieve a minimum Grade of B in all four sub-tests across the two test administrations, and you are tested in all four sub-tests in each administration, and no grade in any sub-test is below C+, both tests were taken from February 2016 onwards.


Example 1

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
Test 1 B B C+ B
Test 2 B C+ B B

This application would be accepted. The applicant has scored B in all categories, and no score is lower than C+.

Example 2

Listening Reading Writing Speaking
Test 1 B B C+ B
Test 2 C C+ B B

This application would not be accepted. The applicant has scored lower than C+.

OET is designed for the healthcare sector and test materials reflect real healthcare scenarios. OET Grade B is equivalent to IELTS score 7.0

What’s in OET?

The test is divided into four sub-tests: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The Listening and Reading sub-tests are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to understand spoken and written English, based on health-related topics and tasks common to all professions.

The Writing and Speaking sub-tests are specific to the 12 individual healthcare professions – designed to reflect common tasks performed in the workplace.

How Long is an OET Result Valid?

The length of time that OET results are valid is determined by the regulatory authority, government agency, educational institution or other organization that accepts OET results. To ensure they meet individual requirements, candidates need to contact the OET recognizing organization. In most situations, it is two years for registration purposes and three years for immigration purposes.

When and Where Can I Take OET?

OET is available every month in over 40 countries.

Applications are open for 2 test dates at a time and close three weeks before the test date.

Complete your application as soon as possible as spaces are limited in some venues.

How do I Apply for OET?

All applications are to be completed online via the OET website as we do not have a walk-in service or paper based application forms.

Taking an English Test for UK Visas and Immigration

Currently OET is not accepted for visa purposes by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). Nurses and midwives will benefit from taking OET for registration with the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council because OET is a healthcare-specific test, where test content is familiar and appropriate for healthcare professionals. UKVI recognized tests can be taken for UK visa purposes and usually the level required is lower than the level required for registration with the NMC.

When Will I Get my OET Results?

You will be able to view your OET results by logging in to the OET website and clicking on My Details, approximately 16 business days after the OET administration date.

Your official Statement of Results will be posted to the address found on your My Details page approximately 7-10 business days after the online publication of your OET results.

Please allow adequate time for delivery, OET is not responsible for the delivery of orders once they are with Australia Post.

What if I already have an OET score? Can I apply as a nurse to the UK?

Yes, only if your OET result has no score below B. If there is, then a combination score is required. Also, IELTS UKVI will still be required for VISA application in the later stage of your UK application as a nurse.

What is a combination score for OET?

For OET, combination of score is the same as IELTS and it should meet general criteria:

  1. Must be taken within a 6-month window
  2. Both OET results should still be valid at the time of application
  3. No score should be below C+ in any component including the Overall Band Score

Can IELTS and OET results be combined?


How is OET Different to General and Academic English Tests?

OET tests real communication scenarios candidates will meet in the healthcare workplace, whereas general or academic tests assess English language skills using every day or academic scenarios. For example:

For writing, most healthcare professionals are required to prepare referral letters based on case notes as part of their regular practice, so this is one task that is tested in OET.

For speaking, OET uses role-plays which test the healthcare professional’s ability to proficiently conduct a healthcare consultation with a patient or carer.

Who recognizes OET as Proof of English proficiency?

OET is used as proof of English proficiency by health regulators in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Singapore and Dubai for registration in 12 healthcare professions. OET is also accepted by major health educators and recruiters.

Benefits of Using OET as Proof of English Proficiency:

Protects patient safety and improves quality of care by optimizing communication with patients, carers and colleagues.

Reduces the training burden for hospitals and other employers.

Establishes a fair way to select internationally trained health professionals.

Attracts candidates committed to excellence and professionalism.