Computer-Based OET:
FAQs for candidates

Read the press release

Do I have to take the test on computer?

No, you do not have to take the test on computer. We will be running both paper-based and computer-based testing so you can still take the test on paper if you prefer.

Will OET stop paper-based testing?

We will be continuing to run the paper-based test at our test venues as normal. In addition, we plan on launching both a computer-based test that candidates can sit at test venues and [email protected], a remote-proctored test that candidates can sit at home, using their own Windows PC.

How will the computer-based test be different to the paper-based test?

The only difference is that you will take the test on a Windows PC. The test tasks, format and timings will remain the same as with the paper-based OET.

The Speaking sub-test will continue to take place with a live interlocutor but in the case of [email protected], this will be via video conferencing software rather than face-to-face.

What’s the difference between computer-based OET and [email protected]?

They are exactly the same test, with the main difference being where you take the test. With the computer-based test, you will attend a test venue to take the test while with [email protected] you will be able to take the test remotely (e.g. at home or work) via remote proctoring.  

The Speaking sub-test will continue to take place with a live interlocutor but in the case of [email protected], this will be via video conferencing software rather than face-to-face.

What is remote proctoring?

Remote proctoring allows you to sit OET conveniently and safely at home, using your own Windows PC, under test conditions that are managed remotely by proctors who understand the security requirements of OET.  

It involves human proctors (whom we currently call invigilators) checking you are who you say you are before monitoring your behaviour during the test to ensure you do not breach any OET rules and regulations.  

Remote proctoring systems have security features such as limiting the functionality of a candidate’s computer (e.g. so you can’t access the internet or take screenshots).  Live human proctors do an ID check as well as candidate and room searches prior to the start of the test.

How often will the computer-based test and [email protected] run?

We are still working out all the details but we envision that they will initially run once a month either on the same test dates as the paper-based version of OET or on an alternative Saturday. We will be able to provide you with further information after we run our trial of computer-based OET, which is scheduled for late June. 

Can I sit OET from home?

Yes. Once [email protected] is live you will be able to sit the test at home, via remote proctoring, using your Windows PC.

How will the Speaking test work?

The Speaking sub-test will still be two role plays with a live interlocutor. The only difference is with [email protected], where the live interlocutor will role play with you via video conference.

How much will it cost?

At this point we do not envision any changes to the cost of OET, no matter which delivery mode you choose. Our focus is on resuming paper-based testing while also delivering computer-based testing and [email protected] so that we can test as many candidates as possible we know that due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of you have been waiting some months to be able to sit OET.

When will it be ready?

We are aiming to make both the computer-based test and OE[email protected] available in the coming months if the roll out of the system goes smoothly and our June trial is successful.

Will the test format change?

The test tasks, format and timings will remain the same as with the paper-based OET. The test will be the same to ensure both are a reliable and valid measure of your skills in each skill area (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). The level of English assessed will also remain the same.

Will the computer-based OET be harder or easier than the paper-based test?

It will be the same. The test tasks will assess the same level of English and the test will be marked according to exactly the same assessment criteria. 

I don't have very good computer/ keyboard skills. Will this affect my results?

Our focus is on testing your English language skills, not your computer skills. However, if you are not familiar with using a computer or type very slowly, it may affect your performance and results. We suggest that you try a sample test in both paper and computer formats to see which one works best for you. You can then decide whether to book a paper-based or a computer-based test.

Please note that the computer sample test is not yet available on our website. We are working hard to make this available to you as soon as possible.

Will it be available to all professions?

Yes, over time we plan on making the computer-based test available to all 12 professions that OET covers. However, our initial efforts will focus on launching our most popular OET tests, namely Nursing and Medicine.

Will there be any changes to assessment i.e. will candidates have access to functions such as spell checker and copy and paste with computer-based testing?

No, the test will be the same to ensure both are a reliable and valid measure of a candidate’s skills in each skill area.

If I have already booked to take the paper-based test, will I be able to change my booking to the computer-based test or [email protected]?

We are still confirming the scheduling arrangements, including deferrals from existing scheduled tests, and will let you know once we have firm answers for you. 

How do I change my test booking from the paper-based OET to the computer-based OET or vice versa?

We will provide this information to you once computer-based bookings launch. 

Can I still sit one sub-test?

We expect so and will confirm the answer to this question as soon as we are able.

Can I club results from paper based and computer-based versions?

This will be a decision that needs to be made by the relevant organisation to which you plan on applying. We are working closely with the organisations who recognise OET to get clear answers for you.

Is it accepted by regulators?

The General Medical Council in the UK has confirmed they will accept computer-based OET and [email protected] We are working closely with our other healthcare regulators to get them to accept results from the computer-based OET and [email protected] We will let you know as soon as we have firm answers from them.

How can I book my test?

You will be able to book your test online. We will let you know as soon as the computer-based test and [email protected] are open for bookings, along with any specific instructions on how to do so. Please note, however, that it is likely that we will prioritise those candidates whose paper-based test has been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Will it be available globally?

Our aim is to make both the computer-based OET and [email protected] as widely available as possible. We will update you as soon as it becomes available in new countries.

Will there be online practice tests so I can get used to how computer-based OET and [email protected] work?

Now that our agreement with Prometric™ has been signed, a key priority for us is to make available to you an online practice test as soon as possible.

Do I need to prepare differently for the computer-based test?

No, both tests involve the same test tasks, format, timings and level of English assessed. Therefore, your preparation for the test does not need to change according to whether you are taking the paper-based or the computer-based test.

Our only recommendation is that you try tasks from at least one sample test in the delivery mode you will be using i.e. a paper-based sample test for paper-based testing and a computer-based sample test for computer-based testing or [email protected] This will mean that you will be familiar with the look of the test so that there are no surprises on test day.

Although there is no computer-based sample test available yet, we are working on this as a key priority and will certainly provide one for you to try out ahead of test day.

What accessibility features will it offer?

The Prometric system has a wide range of accessibility features and these will be advised on our website once the specific features available are confirmed.

How can you be sure it’s secure?

Prometric comply with a wide range of security certifications and have been conducting secure high-stakes assessments for similar clients to OET for several decades.

How will I sit the Speaking sub-test?

The Speaking sub-test will involve an interlocutor conducting the role plays as they do with the current OET. The only difference will be that with [email protected] the interaction is done using video conferencing, similar to the way many medical consultations have moved online in response to the coronavirus.

Do I need to take this on a desktop?

You will need a dedicated computer terminal running Windows 10. Both desktops or laptops are acceptable. For more information about what you will need to take [email protected], read through the technical specifications.

What happens if I don’t have a webcam?

You will not be able to take [email protected] without a webcam as the remote proctor needs to be able to see you throughout the test, and the speaking test takes place using video conferencing technology. However, you will still be able to take either the computer-based or paper-based OET at a test venue. For more information about what you will need to have to take [email protected], read through our technical specifications.

How long will it take for results to be released?

We will stick with the same results release schedule initially, however 100% computer-based delivery will provide the opportunity to shorten the results release timeline significantly. We will deliver this benefit to candidates as soon as possible.

Will it be scored the same way as the paper-based test?

Yes, the computer-based OET will be scored in the same way as the paper-based test. Learn more about OET results and assessments.

Who will mark the computer-based OET?

The computer-based OET will be marked by the very same highly trained assessors who mark the paper-based OET.