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OET TEST FORMAT

The Occupational English Test (OET) was developed to test healthcare professional’s English communication abilities. OET tests in four areas: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Test takers will need to demonstrate their ability to understand and answer questions about general healthcare consultation and presentations, in addition to text in a general healthcare setting.

OET was developed by Professor Tim Mc Narama at the University of Melbourne. It has been owned and produced by Cambridge Box Hill Language Assessment Trust- a venture between Cambridge English and Box Hill Institute- since 2013. It can be taken by healthcare professions in any of the following 12 professions: Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology  and Veterinary Science. The Reading and Listening parts are relevant to all 12 healthcare professions. The speaking and Writing sections will be varied.

Format and Content of OET

OET is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes long and consist of 42 Listening questions, 42 Reading questions, 2 Speaking role – plays and 1 Writing task.

Sections

Time

Test candidate’s ability

Listening

40 Minutes

Listen and understand a range of recording on healthcare topics.

Reading

60 Minutes

Read and understand various texts on healthcare topics.

Writing

45 Minutes

Write a letter, usually a referral letter using information provided in patient case.

Speaking

20 Minutes

Communicate with a patient in a real – life context through the use of role – play.

 

OET Results table – effective from 9 September 2018 test date

OET results to August 2018

OET score from September 2018

OET band descriptors

IELTS equivalent band score

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

 

500

490

480

470

460

450

Can communicate very fluently and effectively with patient and healthcare professionals using appropriate register, tone and lexis. Shows complete understanding of any kind of written or spoken language.

 

 

8.0 – 9.0

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

B

 

 

440

430

420

410

400

390

380

370

360

350

 

 

 

 

Can communicate very fluently and effectively with patient and healthcare professionals using appropriate register, tone and lexis. With only occasional inaccuracies and hesitation. Shows good understanding in a range of clinical contexts.

 

 

 

 

 

7.0 – 7.5

 

 

 

 

 

C+

340

330

320

310

300

 

 

 

6.6

 

 

C

 

290

280

270

260

250

240

230

220

210

200

 

 

Can maintain the interaction in a relevant healthcare environment despite occasional errors and lapses, and follow standard spoken language normally encountered in his/her field of specialization 

 

 

 

 

 

5.5 – 6.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D

190

180

170

160

150

140

130

120

110

100

 

Can maintaining some interaction and understand straightforward factual information in his/her field of specialization, but may ask for clarification. Frequent errors, inaccuracies and mis–or overuse of technical language can cause strain in communication

 

 

 

 

Less than 5.5

 

 

 

E

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Can maintain simple interaction on familiar topics and understand the main point in short, simple messages, provided he/she can ask for clarification. High density of errors and mis-or overuse of technical language can cause significant strain and breakdowns in communication.

 

 

 

OET Listening

The OET Listening Sub-test lasts for about forty minutes. You hear ten different recordings and answer a total of 42 questions.

You should follow the instructions on the recording. At each stage of the test, the announcer tells you which task to look at, how long you have to read it before you listen and what you have to do while you listen. The instructions are also written on your Question paper, so you can read them too.

You hear each of the recordings once only, and you have to write your answers while you listen. Before listening to each recording, you hear information about who is speaking and what the context is. You then have time to read through the task before you listen. Use this time to read the task and to think about the information or ideas you need to answer the question(s). Remember that in each part of the test, you may be listening for different types of information and ideas.

OET Reading

The OET Reading Sub-tests lasts for one hour. You have fifteen minutes to answer the 20 questions in part A, and then 45 minutes to read the texts in Part B and C and answer the 22 questions.

Task – Specific Tips – part A

In Part A, you have four texts on the same subject. You have 15 minutes to find the answer to 20 questions. There are three or four separate tasks. Read the instructions for each task so that you’re sure you know what you have to do. The questions don’t follow the order of information in the texts. You need to read the question carefully and find the text which answers the question.

The first task asks you to scan the four texts and decided which one contains the information. Your answer is the letter A,B,C or D. in the other tasks, you need both to find the information and to write it down. In these tasks, you may need to answer short-answer questions, or to complete gaps in a set of sentences or notes. Be sure to write clearly, write only the words you need to answer the questions, and check that your spelling is correct.

Specific Tips for OET Writing

The OET Writing sub- test lasts for 40 minutes, and you write one letter of approximately 200 words. The letter you write is usually a discharge letter or a transfer letter(to a care home for example).

You have a detailed set of case notes to refer to when you write the letter. At the beginning of the test, you have 5 minutes to read the case notes before you begin writing the letter. You can’t writing anything during this time. The notes are very detailed and contain a lot of information. Spend this time reading the information carefully and planning of your letter.