Nursing and Healthcare Recruitment UK

OET (Occupational English Test)

Course Overview

OET is an English language proficiency test specifically for healthcare professionals who would like to register and practice in the UK. It is not a test of medical knowledge.

OET provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Each part of the test assesses your understanding of the English language and communication in a professional healthcare context. The speaking and writing sub-tests are specific to your profession, for example, nursing, and are based on real-life workplace situations.

OET is trusted by regulators, hospitals, and universities in the UK


The OET writing sub-test consists of one writing task. You have to write a letter in a workplace context (for example, a referral letter to a care home), based on case notes. The OET writing lasts for 45 minutes in total. You have 5 minutes to read the case notes, and then 40 minutes to write your letter.


The Reading sub-test for OET consists of three parts. There are 42 questions, and you have 60 minutes to complete all three parts.


The listening sub-test consists of 3 parts, and a total of 42 questions. You will hear the recording once only and are expected to write your answers while listening. The test takes 45 minutes in total.


 In the OET speaking sub-test, the candidate takes part in two five-minute role plays. The role plays are profession-specific, so if you are taking the OET nursing exam, for example, each role play will be between a nurse(Candidate) and a patient, client or carer(interlocutor). You have 3 minutes to prepare each role-play from a role card, and then the role play lasts for five minutes. You will undertake the role play with a trained interlocutor, who will play the other role.  In the OET speaking sub-test, you are assessed on both your linguistic ability (such as your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation), and your communicative ability (such as your ability to listen, empathise with the patient, and so on).