OET for Nurses: Exam Pattern And Scoring

OET for Nurses

In the words of Val Saintsbury-“Nurses dispense comfort, compassion and caring without even a prescription”. These healthcare professionals are knowledgeable in most of the medical topics and thus play an equally important role as the doctors. They not only assist the doctors in various roles but also provide pre and post-operative care to the patients. Due to long working hours and numerous responsibilities, the nurse requires special training and skill development which is provided through a Nursing course. However, one of the major requirements for nurses to flourish in the healthcare sector is to have a good grasp of the English language as they are required to share important medical-related information with both patients and doctors. Occupational English Test is one such exam that is used to assess the language proficiency of these professionals. Thus, in this blog, we will discuss the important details pertaining to the OET for Nurses. 

OET 2021: Highlights

Exam Name OET
OET Full Form Occupational English Test
Accepted By UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Ukraine, Dubai, Singapore, Nambia 
Conducted By Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment Trust (CBLA)
Mode of Exam Computer and Paper Delivered Test
Score Range On a scale of A (Highest) to E (Lowest)

What is OET for Nurses?

Conducted by the Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment Trust(CBLA), the Occupational English Test(OET) is used to examine the English language proficiency of health care professionals who want to kickstart their nursing career in the English speaking countries. The test is structured to test the Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening skills of the candidates.  While the Writing and Speaking skill tests are offered for 12 different healthcare areas, the Listening and Reading skills are the same for all the candidates attempting the OET for Nurses. The examination score is accepted in various countries like Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Namibia, Dubai, Singapore, and Australia.

Exam Centers

  • The centers for conducting the OET for Nurses exam are available across 42 countries in more than 140 venues
  • The exam is held 14 times per year in every country
  • Even though the test dates are accessible every month, candidates are allowed to register for the consecutive 3 days at a time.
  • In India, the test centers are located in cities like Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Amritsar.
  • Those who wish to appear for the exam have to register themselves on the official website and have to fill in all the important details. 

Paper Pattern 

The OET for Nurses has 4 sections that have to be completed in a stipulated time. Since each segment has its own syllabus, it is important to understand them in detail. 

Sections Description Time Limit
Reading  Further divided into 3 subparts, the questions asked from this section are from general healthcare topics 60 minutes
Speaking This section is profession restricted and the candidates are required to enact the responsibilities of the particular healthcare profession 20 minutes
Listening This section too is subdivided into 3 parts where the candidates have to answer questions based on recorded speeches and pauses 40 minutes
Writing In this profession-specific section, the candidates are required to write a letter of reference  45 minutes

To score well in all the sections, it is important to practice mock tests before appearing for the main exam. You can go through some of the sample papers from the official website of OET. Let us first discuss the sections of the OET in detail.

OET Listening Section

The total duration of the listening section is 45 minutes. It is divided into 3 parts. Each candidate would hear the speech which is recorded once and would be simultaneously expected to answer questions related to it. 

  • Part A (Consultation Extracts)

 In the first task, candidates would be expected to identify specific points related to consultation. They would be required to finish the notes of healthcare professionals by simply listening to two consultation conversations between healthcare professional and patients.

  • Part B (Short Workplace Extracts)

 The second task involves candidates to various recorded pieces or extracts. These can range from professional-patient conversations, handovers to briefings. Candidates would be expected to answer one multiple choice question for each piece. In the second half, the candidate is tested on recognising small details and their minute points from a healthcare workplace.

  • Part C (Presentation Extracts)

The end part of the listening section requires the candidates to listen to various recorded presentations and even interviews on healthcare topics and then answer multiple-choice questions for each of them.

OET Reading Section 

The entire reading section is made up of 42 sections which are further divided into 3 parts. In this section, candidates are required to answer generic healthcare-related questions.

  • Part A (Expeditious Reading)

In the firsts section, all candidates are required to read four short essays and point out specific information from texts. The topis of all the essays are related to general healthcare. The questions involve match the following, as well as sentence completion.

  • Part B (Careful Reading) 

The second task involves multiple short passages or texts which are related to healthcare topics which are generic. All the candidates are required to identify and analyse the important points as well as answer multiple-choice questions.

  • Part C (Careful Reading)

This is the final task of the reading section. Candidates here are given the task of identifying the complete meaning of the topic assigned to them and then answer multiple-choice questions related to them.

Writing Section 

The writing section requires the candidates to write a letter of reference in the field of his/her speciality. For this, the candidate will be provided with a background reference. The candidates have the option of incorporating or not incorporating this information in his/her reference letter. This task is profession-specific

Speaking Section 

Candidates are required to enact their real-life professional roles in a professional healthcare environment. This is a profession-specific exercise. All the candidates are required to do role-play of their profession then the role is reversed in the latter part. These are simply mock workplace circumstances. The total time given to prepare to the candidates is 3 minutes. 

OET For Nurses: Essentials & Non- Essentials

Following is the list of things you can bring to the test room: 

  • Passport
  • Pens, Pencils, and Erasers
  • Water in a small, clear bottle (No label)

Following is the list of things you can’t bring to the test room:

  • Digital Devices
  • Analogue Watch
  • Bags, Walley, Keys
  • Jackets, Hoodies, Scarves, Gloves
  • Cases for pens and glasses
  • Dictionary
  • Highlighters or correction fluid

OET for Nurses: Preparation Books

Enlisted are the books for the OET exam to prepare for the nursing course:

Countries Accepting OET Exam

Healthcare professionals who are looking to study or work in the healthcare sector in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Dubai, Singapore, or Namibia are required to the OET. As these are the countries that largely recognize the OET exam.

OET for Nurses: Scoring

The scores of OET for Nurses are generally released within 16 days of a successful attempt at each test. All the tests are graded on a scale ranging from 0-500 in 10 point increments. Even though there is no overall grade awarded to the candidates, the numerical score is mapped to a separate letter grade for each subtest. The letter grade A is the highest while the letter grade E is the lowest. 


When will I get my OET results?

Your tests are available online, approximately 16 business days after test day. The official, hard copy statements of results are posted to you within 5 business days of the publication of results online. 

What grade do you need to clear OET Exam?

Most recognizing boards and councils required candidates to have at least a grade of B in each of the four sub-tests.

Who accepts OET results?

OET is recognized and trusted by healthcare boards and councils in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. 

What if I am sick?

You can withdraw before or on the day. You will be charged an admin fee to defer to another test day.

Hopefully, this blog has given you an insight into the OET for Nurses. If you want to prepare for other English proficiency tests but are not sure about how to get started with them then the experts at Leverage Edu will lend you a helping hand in devising a strategy that will help you ace various competitive exams. 

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