Frequently Asked Questions
Booking and Payment
The test is designed for healthcare professionals who wish to be registered to work in Australia or who wish to apply for residency in Australia.
Recent research indicates that the test is appropriate in content and difficulty for the healthcare workplace in Australia.
A 2013 study by Cambridge English Language Assessment (Vidakovic & Khalifa, 2013) found that success at OET is a good indicator of workplace readiness in terms of language proficiency. 93% of health professionals agreed or strongly agreed that their employees and colleagues who have taken OET use English effectively in the health-related workplace. OET test takers found that the relevance to their professional contexts of test topics and content helped them engage more with the test preparation process, and made them feel confident about their ability to communicate effectively with patients, carers, and colleagues.
In a 2013 study by the Language Testing Research Centre at the University of Melbourne (Macqueen, Pill, Elder, Knoch, 2013), OET test takers reported that the test tasks were highly relevant to workplace communication, and therefore taking OET had a beneficial impact in terms of acculturation as well as language proficiency. They noted that preparing for the test helped set their expectations of professional life and the workplace in the Australian context, and aspects of test content and tasks helped them participate more effectively when working in Australia.
The OET Centre, in partnership with LTRC and Cambridge English, is engaged in an ongoing programme of research and validation to ensure that OET continues to reflect the demands of communication in the workplace and that the test experience continues to have a positive impact on candidates and other stakeholders.
This is done through the Occupational English Test (OET) website.
You will require:
- credit card or payment details
- your identification document
- a digital passport photo
A$587 (including Goods and Services Tax).
Yes, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) allows some professions to re-sit sub-tests (each sub-test is a different skills – reading, writing, speaking, listening). Please consult with AHPRA or relevant regulatory authorities for more information.
OET is an English language test that assesses the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. It is designed to focus on the communication needs of health professionals in the workplace and to provide a valid and reliable assessment of language skills in that setting. Regulatory authorities who recognise OET as proof of English language proficiency do so on that basis.
If you are not a health professional working towards registration in an English-speaking context, OET may not be the most suitable test of English language for your purposes. We recommend that you consult the relevant regulatory authorities before you decide to enter for a test. See who recognises OET.
No, OET does not provide a generic test. OET tasks are contextualised and work-related, and they target the following 12 professions: Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology, and Veterinary Science.
If your profession is not one of the 12 listed above, you may choose to sit the OET test for the profession which is closest to your own. For example, we understand that sonography registrants have taken the OET Radiography test, and that orthotics registrants have taken the OET Physiotherapy test. You may want to consider the sample tests available to get some idea of the test content for each profession. Select your profession to see sample tests.
However, before you enter for any OET test, we strongly recommend that you consult the appropriate regulatory authorities to confirm whether they will accept your OET results as proof of English language ability and to check which OET profession-specific test would be most suitable.
The OET is a test of English language ability, not of medical knowledge, and our test developers take care to minimise areas where candidates may use prior knowledge rather than language skills to respond. The OET Listening and Reading sub-tests are therefore not profession specific. They are common to all candidates and focus on a variety of issues of general medical and health interest. While some topics may include content that is familiar to one particular health practitioner’s area of experience and expertise, the language tasks and questions associated with the texts are designed to test language knowledge and ability, over and above the candidate’s knowledge of that field.
The OET Writing and Speaking sub-tests are profession specific in the sense that a candidate’s profession determines which test materials they are given. The reason for this is that the communicative skills of writing and speaking provide opportunities for candidates to draw on their professional role in order to demonstrate their level of ability to communicate in common workplace situations. For example, all medical professionals conduct consultations with patients/clients, but they are likely to need to engage with those patients/clients about different issues in different contexts. Recent research (Vidakovic & Khalifa, 2013) indicates that preparing for OET helps make candidates ready for the workplace and increases their confidence in communicating with patients and colleagues.
Test Takers with Disabilities
CBLA supports candidates with disabilities by a wide range of Special Arrangements which can be applied for when booking. These vary according to circumstances but can include extra time, modified test papers, use of a computer.
On Test Day
- Pens, pencils and erasers (no mechanical pens)
- Water in a small, clear bottle (no label)
- Digital devices (mobile phones, iPods, digital watches, etc.)
- Analogue watch
- Bags, wallets and keys
- Jackets, hoodies, scarves, gloves
- Baseball caps, beanies, hats or hoods
- Cases for pens or glasses
- Dictionary, pieces of paper
- Highlighters and correction fluid
OET take very seriously their responsibility to candidates and to recognising authorities for identifying, investigating and acting on cases of suspected malpractice. Irrespective of whether suspected test day cheating is reported, all OET test responses are routinely subject to statistical and qualitative analysis for the detection of unusual response patterns and irregular score profiles. Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment (CBLA, the owner of OET) reserves the right to withhold results while malpractice investigations are in progress.
CBLA may share the details of any investigation, including candidate information, with relevant regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies. You can find the OET policy on malpractice in the OET Test Regulations (809Kb PDF).
Your test results are available online, approximately 16 business days after test day. Official, hard copy Statements of Results are posted to you within 5 business days of the publication of results online.
The Statement of Results shows the scores obtained at the most recent sitting, as well as scores for all sittings within the last 2 years. Results for the four sub-tests that make up the OET are reported as one of five grades – A (highest) to E (lowest).
There are many aspects to being able to use a language effectively, and it is not unusual for candidates to have profiles which are uneven across the different component skills of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Even within a single skill, a candidate may be relatively strong in certain areas (for example, fluency) and relatively weak in another (such as accuracy).
Most recognising boards and councils require candidates to have at least a B grade in each of the four sub-tests. But to make sure you’re up-to-date with requirements, always check with the relevant boards and councils that regulates your profession.
The length of time the results are recognised as valid is decided by the authorities that recognise OET (e.g. boards and councils, government departments). Always check your authority’s website for details to make sure you know their requirements. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) also publicizes their requirements on their website.
Yes, to order an additional OET Statement of Results, please log in to the OET website with your username and password click Candidate Information, then Statement of Results.
Each additional Statement of Results costs AUD $35.00 and can take up to 2 weeks to be posted from Melbourne. Additional postage charges may apply.
Please note: Under no circumstances do we provide OET results by email, fax or over the phone.
You should always check the English Language Proficiency Requirements of your regulatory authority. This is not a matter of OET policy.
OET is recognised and trusted by healthcare boards and councils in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Many organisations, including hospitals, universities and colleges, are using OET as proof of a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a demanding healthcare environment.
Please visit the OET website to view a list of organisations which accept OET results as proof of English language proficiency. Please check with the organisation you are applying to regarding the OET grade(s) they will accept.
You will receive a Statement of Results which shows your grade (A highest to E lowest) for each of the four sub-tests:
Grade | Description of ability
A Very high level of performance
B High level of performance. i.e. able to use English with fluency and accuracy adequate for professional needs
C Good level of performance, however, not acceptable to a range of health and medical councils
D Moderate level of performance: requires improvement
E Low level of performance: requires considerable improvement
You can request a re-mark of one or more sub-tests if you believe your sub-test results are not accurate. Re-mark requests must be made within 5 days from the date your results are published online by completing the Request for OET Re-marking Form. Re-marking and appeal charges will be refunded in full if your sub-test grade(s) change as a result of your appeal. View OET’s full Re-marking Policy.