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OET Exam Pattern and Syllabus for Aspirants

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

An international English language test called the OET, or Occupational English Test, assesses candidates for jobs in the healthcare industry on their proficiency in spoken and written foreign languages. Countries like the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, and Singapore recognize the OET test.

The OET syllabus or structure has listening, reading, writing, and speaking components. Each of these sections will have a time limit to which the test taker must adhere to attempt and pass it. 

Everything about OET exam pattern - Listening Section

The OET Listening sub-test assesses various listening skills, such as identifying specific details, information, the primary concept, a viewpoint, or the speaker's goal. Multiple-choice questions and note-taking exercises are used to assess these skills. 

There are 42 question items in the three phases of the OET Listening Subtest. The topics are relevant to candidates from various professions interested in healthcare. The listening audio lasts for roughly 40 minutes in total, including recorded voice and breaks that give the applicant time to type their responses.

Part A - Consultation Extracts

The first section, called a consultation extract, takes about five minutes each to complete. The applicant's capacity to recognize certain information during a consultation is assessed in this section. The applicant will listen to two taped consultations between a doctor and a patient and complete the doctor's notes based on their hearing.

Part B - Short Workplace Extracts

The ability of the applicant to understand the specifics, main idea, viewpoint, or aim of brief extracts from the healthcare workplace is evaluated in Part B of the listening test. They will hear six audio excerpts (such as team briefings, handoffs, or conversations between medical professionals and patients) and respond to one multiple-choice question for each extract.

Part C - Presentation Extracts

The competence to understand a record presentation or interview on various relevant healthcare issues is evaluated in Part C of this test. There will be six multiple-choice questions for each of the two extracts that the participant will listen to and then answer. They might anticipate two interviews, two presentations, or one of each.

OET Exam pattern - Reading section

The OET syllabus or structure includes a reading section to evaluate an applicant's reading skills. Although there are three components, they vary between the two exam sets. Part A will take 15 minutes, and Parts B and C will take 45 minutes to complete combined. There are a total of 42 question items in the three sections of the reading subtest. It takes a total of 60 minutes to finish all three sections. 

Expeditious reading task

The expeditious reading exam assesses the ability to retrieve specific information from four brief readings quickly and efficiently. The four brief texts cover a particular issue in healthcare, and students have 20 questions to respond to in the allotted time. The 20 questions are made up of matching, short answer questions, and sentence completion.

Careful reading

Part B's careful reading assesses the ability to identify the details, essence, or central concept of six brief texts from the realm of healthcare. The papers may comprise excerpts from manuals, hospital regulations, or internal communication such as mails or memos. There is one multiple-choice question with three options for each text.

The capacity to discern precise meaning and opinion in two texts on subjects of interest to healthcare professionals is evaluated in Part C. The candidate must respond to eight four-option multiple-choice questions for each text.

OET Exam Pattern - Writing Section

Writing a letter—typically a reference letter—in the allotted 45 minutes constitutes the writing portion of the test. A letter of transfer or a letter of discharge are two examples of alternate letter kinds. One task is established for each based on a normal office environment and the profession's requirements. A nurse completes the task for nursing; a dentist completes the assignment for dentistry, and so on.

 The applicant will also receive stimulus material (case notes and other relevant documentation), including details they can use in their response and the task instructions. The goal, content, concision, clarity, genre and style, structure and layout, and language of the letter will all be considered while scoring this test.

OET Exam Pattern - Speaking Section

It takes about 20 minutes to administer the Speaking Subtest to each student individually. This section of OET uses resources created especially for the relevant profession. Each time a role-play is conducted, the applicant assumes a professional role (such as a nurse or a pharmacist), and the interlocutor assumes the part of a patient, a client, or a patient's family member or caretaker. The animal's owner or caregiver is the interlocutor in veterinary science.

Each Speaking test includes a brief warm-up discussion regarding the interlocutor's professional experience, identity, and professional checks. After that, the candidate is given three minutes to prepare for each role-play before being introduced one at a time. Each role-play lasts for roughly five minutes.

OET Exam Books and Resources

  1. OET speaking and writing skills builder by Ros Wright
  2. OET reading and listening skills builder by Tom Fassnidge
  3. Dear Doctor by Norman Whitby and Stephen Nickless
  4. OET writing strategy guide by Gurleen Khaira
  5. Grammar booster for OET nursing by Beth McNally and Anne Mackenzie
  6. Official OET practice book for medicine
  7. Nurses' guide to updated OET 2.0
  8. Kaplan official guide to OET
  9. Maggie Ryan collection
  10. OET preparation (Cambridge)

OET Preparation Tips

  1. Learn and study in depth about the format and scope of the test.
  2. Make a study plan that you can stick to get results.
  3. Enroll in lessons or preparation courses to hone your skills.
  4. Take and pass as many practice tests as you can.
  5. Before taking the exam, carefully review the OET syllabus and every structure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four modules of OET?

The four modules of OET are - Listening, writing, reading, and speaking components.

What is the OET passing score?

Most boards and councils require applicants to score at least 350 on each sub-test. 

How do I pass the OET on the first attempt?

The candidates should thoroughly go over each subtest and take their mock or practice examinations as often as possible to understand how and what questions might be asked. It will assist in exam preparation and may enable passing on the first try.

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.