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Occupational English Test: OET

The alternative to IELTS for health professionals, the OET is recognised by national health councils worldwide. We will help you develop the language and skills you need for the OET. Being a health professional requires certain social skills to enable you to deal with patients in an empathetic way, using language non-medical professionals will understand. You are also required to use another type of language when dealing with your peers. We help you to use the correct style of language for each type of context, which is why employers prefer their health care staff to have completed the OET.

Prices from €45 to €95

A unique exam designed for you

What does OET test?

OET tests real communication scenarios typically found in a healthcare setting. For example, for writing, most healthcare professionals have to prepare letters as part of their regular practice, so this is one task that is tested in OET. Regulators and employers know that if a healthcare professional has passed OET to their required standard, they’ll be able to write a referral letter at work.

A unique exam designed for you

Why do employers and regulators like and trust OET?

Each profession has different test materials based on the type of consultations that would occur in the workplace. The candidate plays the healthcare professional in each role play and the interlocutor plays the role of the patient, relative or carer. Candidates need to show how well they can communicate with a patient, for example, in a difficult situation, so they must show effective listening skills and empathy.

Regulators and employers can feel confident that healthcare professionals who pass OET have the English language skills needed for a variety of communication challenges in their professional workplace. The English skills needed for the workplace are often very different than in general interactions.

Exam Preparation

Why do health care professionals choose OET?


OET is accepted by healthcare boards and councils in Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Namibia and Ukraine, as well as leading healthcare educators. OET is also recognised by Australian and New Zealand for visa purposes.

Relevance and familiarity

OET reflects healthcare scenarios and test preparation focuses on typical health care tasks so employees are trained to communicate in the language they need for their work setting.

Validity and reliability

OET is consistent and proven to have test validity and reliability.


The test is delivered in secure facilities, such as International House Galway. Robust security checks and secure results verifications are carried out.

Patient safety and quality care

OET helps candidates develop the essential language skills to communicate effectively with both peers and patients in their workplace.

Results and grading

Candidates receive results 16 days after the test. There is a separate grade for each test and no overall grade. Organisations such as governments, healthcare regulators and educators decide what level needs to obtained in each subtest to gain registration, apply for a visa, or to apply for admission to a course.

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Face to Face


Face to face and Live Online

Face to face and live online OET Preparation Programme​

This course prepares you for your OET. You will learn the essential specialist language you need for your Speaking and Writing Tests and you will practise the key skills of Reading and Listening at OET level. As we are an OET Venue with our partners at IH London, you can take your OET with us at IH Galway.

100% Online OET Preparation Programmes

These courses allow you the flexibility to take them at any time you please no matter which time zone you’re based in. You will look at the essential elements of the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing for your OET and you will develop your OET test preparation skills at your own pace. These courses can be taken in conjunction with live online group or one to one lessons.

OET Placement Test


Test your current OET level

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Other Pricing Options

We have the ideal course for you.

Healthcare professionals, Doctors & Nurses
Academic Purposes, Pharmacy, Terminology

English for Health Care Professionals


English for Doctors


English for Nurses




Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Reach out to our team for support.

OET is an English language test that’s been designed specifically for the healthcare sector. The OET is delivered in more than 40 countries. OET tests all four language skills – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The test draws on the latest academic and industry research to ensure that the test methodology is valid and reliable.

OET was developed in the 1980s by Dr Tim McNamara’s team at the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) at the University of Melbourne, one of the top universities in Australia, which also developed the IELTS Test. The OET was designed to test English language skills used in a healthcare setting. OET has been constantly updated and developed since it was first designed 30 years ago.

The content is developed by expert test writers in conjunction with subject-matter experts in each of the twelve professions tested, to reflect communication that health professionals can expect to take part in in their workplace.

Cambridge Assessment English (part of the University of Cambridge) and Box Hill Institute co-own OET and this is jointly called Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment.

Cambridge Assessment English is the world’s leading provider of language assessment for learners and teachers of English. Over 4 million people take Cambridge Assessment English exams each year in more than 130 countries. Around the world over 13,500 organisations rely on its exams and qualifications as proof of their English language ability. It is a part of the world-renowned University of Cambridge.

Box Hill Institute is based in Melbourne, Australia, is a leading vocational and higher education provider. It is known for its collaborative and creative approach to education in Australia and overseas. The Institute has a rich history, and over the years has been the recipient of many awards demonstrating recognition for its achievements.

OET assesses the English language skills of healthcare professionals seeking to register and practise in an English speaking environment. The test replicates English language skills required for effective communication in a healthcare environment. It provides a valid and fair assessment of all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Dieticians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Opticians/Optometrists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Podriatists
  • Radiographers
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Vets


OET is accepted by healthcare boards and councils in Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Namibia and Ukraine, as well as leading healthcare educators. OET is also recognised by Australian and New Zealand for visa purposes.

Both types of IELTS Tests, Academic and General Training, consist of four separate sections, assessing the four language skills of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS test takers receive individual scores for each of the four test sections and the average of the four provides the overall band score. Organisations which rely on IELTS as proof of English language proficiency benefit from knowing that the score given for each section of the test is a clear and fair reflection of the test taker’s ability in that skill.

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