OET still the best test for work-ready healthcare professionals
UK Visas and Immigration recently announced its acceptance of two new providers of Secure English Language Testing (SELT). Individuals applying for visas for the UK must take a SELT to show evidence of English language proficiency.
For healthcare professionals, however, nothing has changed.
OET remains by far the best English language test for healthcare professionals who plan to work in the UK. Here are just five reasons why:
1. OET meets the language requirements for both registration and immigration
Moreover, doctors and nurses who have sat OET to meet the English language requirement of a regulator are not required to take any other English test when applying for Tier 2 (General) visas, saving you and your recruits time, hassle and money.
2. OET is the only test that is specific to healthcare
OET has been designed specifically to meet the unique communication needs of the English-speaking healthcare workplace.
Test materials are developed in consultation with subject matter experts and replicate the English language skills required in healthcare settings to deliver high quality care and patient safety.
3. Healthcare professionals feel more confident about taking OET
70% of candidates come to OET after having been unsuccessful with other English tests. They tell us that they feel more confident on test day because the test contexts are familiar, covering tasks and vocabulary that they encounter in the healthcare workplace.
This increased confidence can lead to greater chances of success. By way of illustration, a 2018 pilot of OET in the UK, five out of six nurses received grade B in all four OET sub-tests at first sitting.
Results of this calibre are not unique to this cohort. King’s Commercial, the commercial arm of King’s College NHS Foundation Trust, has an OET pass rate of around 80%, while Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust recently told us that the hospital began to actively encourage its overseas recruits to take OET, not least because the higher pass rate gave nurses a greater chance of attaining the qualification at the first sitting, saving time and money.
4. OET sets candidates up for success at work
For healthcare regulators and employers, English language tests play an essential role in ascertaining a candidate’s fitness for work. Except for OET, however, no other English tests available in the UK do so – they were all designed to assess general English skills or fitness for academic study.
OET has featured prominently in research literature relating to language testing in specific-purpose contexts. Findings and recommendations have informed the development of OET test material and tasks to ensure the test remains relevant and fit for purpose. For example, an update in 2018 to the OET Speaking sub-test introduced the assessment of clinical communication skills, which have been deemed critical to the success of healthcare professionals.
5. OET provides significant support to UK employers and recruiters
OET provides a range of services to help organisations in the UK get candidates through their English test and onto the wards quickly and cost effectively. These include:
- Bulk booking discounts
- Online secure results verification to remove doubt about validity of test certificates
- Training workshops
- Marketing support
So next time you’re considering an English language test, think about which test will help you move your recruits from prospective candidates to successful employees, faster.
 OET candidate survey, August 2018