Occupational English Test or OET is a test for healthcare professionals in English. It demonstrates the language communication skills of the healthcare professionals for registering and practicing in an English-speaking environment.
OET is available for the 12 specific professions, namely, dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography, speech pathology, and veterinary science.
OET is considered in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, along with some other countries, for assessing the Medical English skills of a wide range of healthcare professionals, particularly doctors, nurses, and midwives.
Healthcare professionals need a grade B in the OET to work in the UK. Grade B is an advanced English level, which is equivalent to IELTS band seven and C1 in the Common European Framework (CEF).
OET tests four particular areas of English proficiency which are writing, listening, reading, and speaking. The listening sub-test has three parts, namely, consultation extracts, short workplace extracts, and presentation extracts. The reading sub-test also has three parts, including expeditious reading task (Part A), careful reading tasks (Part B and C). Henceforth, the language tested is discrete and often more complicated than standard conversational English. With good performance in OET, one can avail the opportunity of traveling to English-speaking countries and work there. The candidate can prepare for OET by taking practice tests and other online resources on the official OET website. Therefore, it will be easier for the aspirants to take preparation for OET at home.
Ways of preparation for OET:
Taking online practice test from the OET website
Many practice tests are available on the OET website under the preparation portal. Aspiring candidates can download sample tests or materials from there. These are available under the ‘Free Preparation Material’ tab. Two sample tests are available for each area of the OET, along with respective answer keys.
Evaluating the assessment criterion for each part of the test
A candidate needs to know his or her lacking skills, which need to be improved. Alongside, one must organize the study time. There is a specific criterion for each area of the test. This has been very well discussed on the website of OET. The writing part includes a candidate’s ability to communicate the purpose of writing or conveying. This part will test his/her grammar, vocabulary, spellings, and punctuation. Speaking will test his ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with proficiency for the other person who will be listening. Listening examines his ability to identify specific information and answers based on that information. Reading sub-test examines the ability to read healthcare-related details quickly and efficiently and answers based on that reading.
Watching masterclasses for developing new strategies
There is a preparation portal on the OET website with one video for each area involved in the test. These videos and masterclasses guide the candidate’s performance and explain the various areas of assessment. These also improve the English language skills. There are live question and answer sessions which the candidates must participate in after watching and learning from these videos. There are expert English language teachers who will help the aspirants clear their doubts regarding this test’s various areas.
Practicing the way of speaking English
The speaking area includes a brief introduction of the candidate along with his professional background. After that, a card will be given to the candidate, and he will be asked to explain what he is supposed to do in the given situation in English. For better fluency and proficiency, the aspirants must practice their English-speaking skills and communicate with their friends and family in English.
Upgrading the listening ability by using medical podcasts
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have many podcast programs dealing with medical updates and healthcare-related issues. Such podcasts are available for free to download and to be accessed on a computer, smartphone, or other devices. The candidate must write down the critical points extracted from the podcasts and then learn about the various topics thus discussed. This will also develop the understanding skill of the aspirant.
Reading medical journals and articles in English.
Reading and understanding medical terms are more complicated and difficult than simple conversational English. Journals and articles for the medical profession will develop a better understanding of reading and writing complex medical terminologies. Many magazines and periodicals are available online, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal, and Medical Journal of Australia. Reading these articles aloud might also improve the pronunciation of the candidate.
Offline books and materials
There is a practice book that can help the candidates prepare for all four sub-tests. The print book is available on Amazon in all the Amazon-supported countries. This book will surely help the candidates practice better for this test beyond taking practice tests.
Signing up for OET preparatory course
OET preparation at home can help one get a good score. Alongside, preparatory courses on OET may give the candidate an extra boost of confidence. There are interactive sessions also with other nurses taking the OET. Besides, private tutors can also guide him/her. Preparatory courses are available on the website https://www.occupationalenglish.org/preparation-providers/. The interested candidate can select the country from the drop-down menu and search for the ideal approach.
Getting proper feedback on writing skill
Candidates often find the writing sub-test quite tricky. Many of the online packages include detailed assessments of their writing. They can submit some assessment tasks through online platforms and get appropriate feedback about their strengths and weaknesses.
This requires registering and getting the documents and identification proofs verified. A candidate must feel confident enough of his/her skills before applying. After taking the proper preparation, one can easily crack the test. But this is a long-term process, and a candidate willing to succeed in a nursing career abroad must start making preparations for OET early. After registering and document verification, one must choose a date and location where the test must be taken.