What is OET Exam?

Updated on 16 May, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Statistics show that about 46.24% of nursing professionals and 22.92% of doctors tend to pursue jobs overseas. For individuals in the healthcare sector to qualify for a job in an English-speaking nation, the individuals need to possess an official certification of their command over the English Language. An OET exam is an assessment that allows individuals in the healthcare industry to be certified professionals in the overseas healthcare sector.

OET EXAM For Nurses

The OET exam full form being Occupational English Test is essentially a test for individuals joining the healthcare sector to check the English language proficiency of the healthcare workers. This is specifically for professionals who are planning to practice their medical profession in an English-speaking country/environment. The countries that accept the OET exam as evidence for English proficiency include the United States of America,  United Kingdom, Australia, Dubai, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Maldives, Malta, Philippines, Qatar, Spain, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and Namibia. 

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing is assessed through the 42-question tests via various communication situations taken from the healthcare industry. 

Types of OET Exam

 The OET exams are available to give via three different options, which are mentioned below:

  1. OET on Paper at a Test Venue: the traditional on-paper test allows candidates to sit in an exam center and give the tests on paper.
  2. OET on-computer at a Test Venue: The on-computer allows the candidates to give the same test via a computer system in a test center.
  3. OET at Home: this method allows the candidates to give the OET test in the comfort of their home without the presence of a test venue. The candidates are required to have a laptop or PC set up at home.

Eligibility for OET Exam

Over 12 healthcare professionals take the OET test. The professions that are eligible for the OET exam include 

  1. Nursing
  2. Dentistry 
  3. Dietetics 
  4. Medicine
  5. Occupational Therapy
  6. Optometry 
  7. Physiotherapy 
  8. Podiatry 
  9. Radiography, 
  10. Veterinary Science
  11. Speech Pathology 

OET Exam Latest News

OET Exam Dates

As per the current information, the upcoming latest exam dates for OET exams are 11th March 2023 (to be booked by 15th February 2023), 25 March 2023 (to be booked by 1st March 2023), 15th April 2023 (to be booked by 22nd March 2023).

OET Exam Registration 

Health professional candidates seeking to give the OET exams can register for the exam through the following website: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/book-oet/

OET Exam Fees

The OET exam fee is a total of 455 USD, making it approximately 37,543 INR. 

Syllabus for OET Exam

The OET syllabus is divided into 4 sections: OET Listening Section, OET Reading Section, Writing Section, and Speaking Section. Given below is a breakdown of each section in order to familiarize the candidates with the OET Exam Syllabus:

  1. OET Listening Section: The section is divided into 3 parts-
  • Consultation Extracts: The Consulting Extracts require the candidates to provide notes after listening to the pre-recorded patient consultations. 
  • Short Workplace Extracts: The Short Workplace Extracts require the candidates to answer an MCQ after listening to recorded messages.
  • Presentation Extracts: The presentation extracts require the candidates to listen to several recorded presentations and answer MCQs.

2. OET Reading sections: The reading sections include three subsections, namely- 

  • Expeditious Reading: Expeditious Reading requires the candidates to read 4 healthcare-related short essays and answer information.
  • 2 Careful Reading Sections: For the other two reading sections, candidates are required to answer MCQs pertaining to the essays provided to them. 

3. OET Writing Section: The following section is provided for a total of 45 minutes. It typically requires the candidates to write a letter of reference in their specific fields.

4. OET Speaking Section: This section is provided with a total duration of 20 minutes. The candidates are required to act out various healthcare sector scenarios. This is done to check the candidates’ English-speaking proficiency. 

Preparation Strategy for OET Exam

Following are some OET Exam preparation strategies that can help candidates prepare for the test:

  1. Early Start: To achieve high scores in your OET test results, candidates must avoid last minutes rush and start the preparation at least a year prior to the exam.
  2. Study Plan: A well-strategized and planned-out study technique would help the candidates thoroughly prepare for the exam.
  3. Sample Tests: The official website for the Occupational English test provides the candidates with mock test links, which would help them familiarize themselves with the exam structure and prepare accordingly.
  4. Previous year’s tests: A mock test may not be as up-to-date and precise as the past-years question paper. The past year's question paper will help the candidates further understand the exam and improve their skills.

Top OET Exam books and resources 

Following are some of the resources that candidates can seek out to prepare for their OET Exams:

  1. Books:
  • Grammar Booster for OET Nursing by Beth McNally and Anne Mackenzie
  • OET Speaking and Writing Skills Builder by Ros Wright
  • OET Reading and Listening Skills Builder by Tom Fassnidge
  • Dear Doctor by Norman Whitby and Stephen Nickless
  1. Sample Tests: The official OET site offers its candidates mock tests to help prepare and practice for their upcoming OEC exams.
  2. Masterclasses: The masterclass offered by the Occupational English Test website provides its candidates with expert videos ad advice from masters in all 4 of the subsections of the tests in order to further prepare the candidates for their tests.
  3. Online courses: Candidates can purchase official OET online courses via the OET shop to boost their test prep.


The above-stated resources and information seek to help professionals looking forward to joining the healthcare workforce in an English-speaking Country. An OET exam is an accurate assessment for individuals seeking to join a foreign medical workforce along with English-speaking professionals. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the OET exam?

Healthcare professionals in the fields of nursing, Dentistry, Medicine, Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Optometry, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Podiatry, Veterinary Science, or Speech pathology are eligible to give the OET exam.

Is OET easier than IELTS?

Neither IELTS nor OETS is easier than the other. It may be rumored that OETs are more lenient than IELTS, but that is not true, as the several listening sub-sections can be challenging and complex.

How many years is OET valid for?

The validation of an OET result depends on and varies as per the regulatory authority of a country.

Who accepts the OET exam?

The OET is recognized and accepted by regulatory healthcare bodies and councils in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK. Many healthcare employers and educational institutions also accept OET as proof of English language proficiency.

How is the OET Writing component scored?

The OET Writing component is scored on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. The score is based on criteria such as task achievement, cohesion and coherence, grammatical range and accuracy, and lexical resource.

How can I prepare for the OET exam?

You can prepare for the OET exam by using official OET preparation materials, taking practice tests, and attending OET preparation courses. It is also important to practice using English in a healthcare context and to develop your language skills by reading and listening to English-language healthcare materials.

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert