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How was the test developed?

OET is a well-respected international English language test for the healthcare sector, established in the late 1980s. It was developed under contract to the Australian Federal Government. The test was designed by Professor Tim McNamara at the University of Melbourne – one of the original developers of IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
Backed by over 30 years of research by the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) at the University of Melbourne, OET has gone through a continuous cycle of research, validation and evaluation to ensure it is fit for purpose and relevant today. LTRC is an international leader in research and development in language assessment. It is part of the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, which is ranked sixth in the world by the QS World University Rankings in 2013. 

Who owns the test?

The test is owned by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, a venture between Cambridge English and Box Hill Institute.


Cambridge English Language Assessment is the world’s leading provider of language assessment for learners and teachers of English. Over 4 million people take Cambridge 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, based in Melbourne, Australia, is a leading vocational and higher education provider 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.

What's in the test?

OET is an in-depth and thorough assessment of all areas of language ability
The test divides into four sub-tests:

• Listening
• Reading
• Writing
• Speaking

The Listening and Reading sub-tests are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to understand spoken and written English, based on health-related topics and tasks common to all professions. The Writing and Speaking sub-tests are specific to the 12 individual healthcare professions – designed to reflect common tasks performed in the workplace. Download sample papers

Who recognises the test?

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.
See the full list of recognising organisations here.  

If you have any questions, please contact us.