What is OET? OET: Occupational English Test
OET has been developed specifically for 12 healthcare professions: Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology and Veterinary Science.
OET covers all four language skills with an emphasis on communication in a healthcare environment. OET examines 4 areas of language competence:
The Listening sub-test consists of two parts, with approximately 20-28 question items. The topics are of generic healthcare interest, accessible to candidates across all professions.
Each part consists of about 15 minutes of recorded speech, containing 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 (20-25 minutes)
Part A assesses your ability to follow facts during a consultation. You will listen to a recorded health professional-patient consultation and complete a note taking task, guided by relevant headings.
Part B – presentation (20-25 minutes)
Part B assesses your ability to understand a short talk on a health-related topic that might realistically occur in the workplace. You’ll listen to a recorded talk or lecture (monologue) by a healthcare professional and complete a range of open-ended and fixed choice tasks.
More info on the OET official webpage: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/test-information/listening/
The Speaking sub-test is delivered individually and takes around 20 minutes.
You take this part of OET using materials specifically for your profession. In each role-play, you take your professional role (e.g. as a nurse) while the interlocutor plays a patient/client or sometimes a patient’s relative or carer.
More info on the OET official webpage: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/test-information/speaking/
The Writing sub-test takes 45 minutes and is profession-specific.
There is one task set for each profession based on a typical workplace situation and the demands of the profession – a nurse does the task for nursing, a dentist does the task for dentistry, and so on.
The task is to write a letter, usually a referral letter. Sometimes a different type of letter is required: e.g. a letter of transfer or discharge, or a letter to advise or inform a patient, carer, or group.
Along with the task instructions, you will receive stimulus material (case notes and/or other related documentation) which includes information to use in your response.
More info on the OET official webpage: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/test-information/writing/
The Reading sub-test consists of two parts and takes 60 minutes to complete.
The topics are of generic healthcare interest and are therefore accessible to candidates across all professions.
Part A – summary task (15 minutes)
Part A assesses your ability to source information from multiple texts, to synthesise information in a meaningful way and to ‘skim’ and ‘scan’ material to retrieve information quickly. You are required to read 3-4 short texts (a total of approximately 650 words) related to a single topic, and complete a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words (25-35 gaps in total).
Part B – multiple-choice questions (45 minutes)
Part B assesses your ability to read and understand comprehensive texts on health-related topics similar to those in academic or professional journals. You are required to read two passages (600-800 words each) and answer a set of multiple-choice questions (16-20 in total).
More info on the OET official webpage: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/test-information/reading/
You will receive a Statement of Results which shows your grade for each of the four sub-tests, from A (highest) to E (lowest). Each of the four sub-tests is assessed in a specific way.
You can see an overview of your latest test grades via your online profile on the OET website, approximately 16 business days after each test day.
Official, hard copy Statements of Results are mailed within ten business days of the publication of results in online profiles.
The Statement of Results shows the scores obtained at the most recent sitting, as well as scores for all sittings within the last two years. Results for the four sub-tests that make up the OET are reported as one of five grades – A (highest) to E (lowest).
Your answer booklets for the Listening sub-test and for Reading Part A are marked by trained Assessors at the OET Centre. Answer booklets are assigned at random to avoid any conflict of interest.
Your answer sheet for Reading Part B is computer scanned and automatically scored.
Listening and Reading Assessors use a detailed marking guide which sets out which answers receive marks and how the marks are counted.
Assessors use this guide to decide for each question whether you have provided enough correct information to be given the mark or marks available. Assessors are monitored for accuracy and consistency, and the data entry of scores is also double-checked for accuracy.
The whole Speaking test is recorded and it is this audio recording that is assessed.
The Speaking sub-test is marked independently by a minimum of two trained Assessors. Neither Assessor knows what scores the other has given you, or what scores you have achieved on any of the other sub-tests. Your test day Interlocutor plays no role in the assessment of your performance.
OET Assessors’ judgements are targeted and specific, not a general evaluation of candidates’ ability in spoken English.
Assessors are trained to focus on how a candidate responds to the particular task on the day, and to apply specific assessment criteria which reflect the demands of communication in the health professional workplace. Remember that the OET is a test of English-language skills, not a test of professional knowledge.
Candidates who pay attention to the details of the specific role-play task, and who are familiar with the assessment criteria, have a better chance of demonstrating their ability in the key areas. Candidates who use pre-prepared material, or who rely on techniques which worked in other circumstances, tend not to perform to their full potential in the test.
Your performance on each of the two role-plays is scored against five criteria and receives a band score for each criterion:
• Overall Communicative Effectiveness
• Resources of Grammar and Expression.
Your performance on the Writing sub-test is marked independently by a minimum of two trained Assessors. Neither Assessor knows what scores the other has given you, or what scores you have achieved on any of the other sub-tests.
Your performance is scored against five criteria and receives a band score for each criterion:
• Overall Task Fulfilment
• Appropriateness of Language
• Comprehension of Stimulus
• Linguistic Features (grammar and cohesion)
• Presentation Features (spelling, punctuation, layout).
Reading Part A (the summary task) tests your ability to skim and scan quickly across different texts on a given topic in order to identify and synthesise selected information.
For that purpose, Part A is strictly timed and you must complete all the items within 15 minutes. To complete the task successfully, you will also need the ability to understand the conventions of different medical text types, differentiate main ideas from supporting information, and understand the presentation of numerical and textual data.
Reading Part B tests your ability to understand longer passages of text at the level of word/phrase, explicit meaning, and implied meaning. To complete the task successfully, you will also need the ability to identify the purpose of a text, to understand the relationships between ideas, and to understand at the level of the paragraph as well as the sentence.
Assessors who mark the Reading sub-test are qualified and highly trained. Candidate responses are assessed against an established marking guide. During the marking session, problematic or unforeseen answers are referred to a sub-group of senior Assessors for guidance.
Candidates with scores that are near the borderline automatically have their papers double-marked to ensure fairness and consistency.
OET – Occupational English Test - https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/