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Occupational English Test (OET)

What is the format of the OET?

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a test of competence in English language skills specifically designed for healthcare professionals. The level of English required is the same as IELTS, but the tests use scenarios in healthcare settings. It is accepted by the NMC and GMC.​ The OET consists of 4 sub-tests. You can read about the format and latest assessment criteria for each sub-test on the official OET website, using the links below.

How long will it take to get the required grade?

It depends on many factors, for example:

  • For professional registration you will need to score a minimum of 350 points (previously B) in each sub-test

    • the further away you are from 350 points, the longer it will take

  • Your study habits and amount of time you can commit to study

    • don't underestimate your other commitments: work, children, holidays​

  • Whether you need more language skills than test practice

    • the further away you are from 350 points, ​the more language skills you will need to learn, such as grammar and structure, vocabulary and the 4 skills of reading, writing, speaking & listening (not just practising the test)

To succeed you will need to:

  • become familiar with the format of the test and practice all four skills regularly

  • have or acquire English language skills equivalent to CEFR Level C1 (Advanced)


An experienced teacher or facilitator who understands the test requirements will help you to get the most out of your preparation. For OET it can also be helpful to prepare with someone who understands the clinical scenarios and is able to help you with the appropriate medical terminology. You can read about my qualifications and background here.

When should I book my test?

Not yet! There is no luck involved in achieving the required scores in the OET and therefore there is no advantage in taking it before you are ready, or repeating the test soon after a previous attempt. You cannot suddenly improve from 250 points (C) to 350 (B) simply by practising papers and retaking the test. Wait until your language skills have been properly assessed and any major gaps have been identified. Additionally, it is expensive to make multiple attempts if there is a low likelihood of achieving the scores you need.

What courses are available from Tuition4Health?

We offer a range of courses and assessments to help you prepare for OET:

  • Exam readiness assessment

    • reading, listening, writing and speaking assessment, with results and detailed feedback within 48 hours

  • Practice papers only

    • with/without unseen mock exam and feedback

  • Individual online lessons (3, 6 or 10 hours) 

    • focusing on key skills and strategies to improve performance

    • printed home study pack, practice tests with feedback, grammar exercises and a full mock exam

  • Writing correction service

    • detailed feedback linked to marking criteria​

    • sample answers

    • suggested grammar exercises if appropriate

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