The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language test for overseas qualified medical and health professionals whose first language is not English. The Test measures the language competency of health professionals who are seeking registration and the ability to practise in
an English-speaking context
currently, it assesses English language competency as it is used in the following professions in Australia: Dentistry
Pathology Optometry and
About the Listening sub-test
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.
The Listening sub-test structure
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.
About the Reading sub-test
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.
The Reading sub-test structure
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).
About the Writing sub-test
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 Writing sub-test structure
About the Speaking sub-test
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. For veterinary science the interlocutor is the owner or carer for the animal.
The Speaking sub-test structure
In each Speaking test, your identity and profession are checked by the interlocutor and there is a short warm-up conversation about your professional background. Then the role-plays are introduced, one by one, and you have 2-3
minutes to prepare for each. The two role-plays take about five minutes each.