OET Training - Hurray
OET or Occupational English Test is a language proficiency test that assesses the English language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to study and practise in an English-speaking environment.
OET can be opted for by healthcare professionals in the following 12 professions: dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography, speech pathology, and veterinary science.
OET consists of four sub-tests:
  • Listening (approximately 50 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Writing (45 minutes)
  • Speaking (approximately 20 minutes).

Listening

The listening test consists of two parts. In Part A, candidates listen to a simulated consultation (dialogue) between a professional and a patient and are required to take notes under headings. In Part B, candidates listen to a health professional giving a short talk on a health-related topic and are required to complete a range of open-ended and fixed-choice questions.[7]

Reading

The reading test consists of two parts. In Part A, lasting 15 minutes, candidates are asked to skim read 3 or 4 short texts and complete a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words. It is designed to test the reader’s ability to scan texts within a time limit, source information from multiple texts, and synthesise information. In Part B, lasting 45 minutes, candidates are asked to read two passages on a general healthcare topic and answer 8–10 multiple choice questions for each text. It is designed to test the reader’s ability to read and comprehend longer texts.

Writing

The writing paper asks candidates to write a letter, usually a letter of referral. For some professions a different type of letter is required, e.g. a letter of transfer or discharge, or a letter to advise a patient, carer or group. Candidates are given case notes which must be included in their letter.

Speaking

The speaking test is in the form of one-to-one conversations with an interlocutor. It starts with a short warm-up interview about the candidate’s professional background. This is followed by two role plays. Candidates have 2–3 minutes to prepare for each role play. Role plays last about five minutes and are based on typical interactions between a health professional and a patient. The candidate adopts their usual professional role (e.g. as a nurse) and the interviewer plays a patient or sometimes a relative or carer. For veterinary science the interviewer is the owner or carer of the animal.

Each of the four sub-tests that make up OET are graded A to E, where A is the highest grade and E is the lowest. There is no overall grade.

OET gradeDescription of ability
AVery high level of performance
BHigh level of performance, i.e. able to use English with fluency and accuracy adequate for professional needs
CGood level of performance; however, not acceptable to a range of health and medical councils
DModerate level of performance; requires improvement
ELow level of performance; requires considerable improvement

Listening and reading

There is no fixed score-to-grade link for the listening and reading tests. Grade boundaries are continually reset because different test materials are used at each administration. A mean average of the percentage of candidates in each grade for the writing and speaking tests is applied to the spread of performances on the listening and reading tests to establish the grade boundaries.

Writing and speaking

In writing and speaking, the score is generated through statistical analysis of the two sets of scores from two independent assessors. This is converted, following established practice, to the final grade.

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