You are a Miracle, We Make You Find It

OET or IELTS – Which Test Should Nurses Take to Study and Work Abroad.


Let us assume that you are well aware of IELTS (International English Language Testing System), but do you have any idea what OET is?

Well, just like IELTS, OET (Occupational English Test) is the language assessment test that is specifically designed only for the medical professionals migrating to Australia, New Zealand, and UK. This test makes sure that the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have good language skills to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues while working in a foreign healthcare system and facilities.

For medical professionals like nurses who are planning to apply for jobs or higher studies abroad, OET is the best option. By taking the OET examination, you will prove that you have the right level of English language proficiency required to work and study in a different country. In addition, you are also capable of learning the kind of language you will need for everyday work.

Why was OET introduced?

Initially, the OET was created only for Australia and New Zealand. However, in November 2017, NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) recognized this test as valid for nurses who are interested to apply for jobs or studies in the UK. OET uses profession-specific content, which makes it a better option for nurses. From doctors to occupational therapists or radiologists, this test is widely accepted as the best assessment system for medical professionals in almost all the countries including the UK.

How OET is different from IELTS?

The OET is quite different from IELTS in a number of ways.

  • Content
    IELTS includes writing essays, understanding and discussing topics related to environment, social and cultural values.
    OET includes writing a referral letter related to medical scenarios, getting a clear idea about the patient’s consultation and more.
  • Versions
    IELTS includes 2 versions – academic and general training. The listening and speaking are same for both whereas the academic reading and writing tests are more inclined towards higher education as compared to the general training.
    OET offers 12 versions all for different medical professionals. This includes nurses, dentists, radiographers, pharmacists, podiatrists, vets, doctors, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and optometrists. The reading and listening is same for both whereas the other sections are based in the scenarios in which each profession uses English.
  • Preparation requirements
    To prepare for IELTS, you need to have good vocabulary related to different academic subjects. In addition, you will have to learn the right way of writing reports on different data and essay types.
    For OET, you will have to learn a variety of healthcare and profession-specific language. You may have to get your hand on a wide range of exam techniques and be able to write healthcare related letters and more.
  • Scoring
    In IELTS, there is a separate score for each paper, which is marked out of 9.
    OET consists of grading system from A (BEST) to E.
    1.5 Years A
    7 – 7.5 B
    5.5 – 6.5 C
    4.5 – 5.5 D
    4 E
  • Recognition
    IELTS is recognized by companies, universities, immigration authorities by different countries around the world.
    OET is recognized by healthcare regulatory bodies in Australia, New Zealand, and UK.
    Apart from this, OET is 10 times easier as compared to IELTS. It is entirely profession specific. The speaking and writing tests are based on some similar situation that you may have faced at work. For the written test, you will have to write a referral letter for a patient. The speaking test includes interaction with the patient where the examiner will play the role of a patient.

Here is the brief comparison of both the tests –

Total test time
2 hrs. 45mins Approximately 3 hours
30 Minutes 40-60 minutes
1 hour 1 hour
1 hour 45 minutes
15 minutes 20 minutes approximately

Comparing both the tests, OET has become the best option for medical professionals, especially the nurses. HealthcareSmartz offer OET training to help potential nurses develop language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. To know more about our training program or to get a nursing job in abroad without going for any higher education, visit us today!