OET Candidates

OET 2.0 - September 2018 test update

The updated Occupational English Test will take effect on 9 September 2018. Look for the 2.0 label when searching for updated test information and preparation materials.

Why is OET being updated?

As healthcare changes, the Occupational English Test (OET) is being updated to ensure it remains relevant to you by reflecting the types of real communication scenarios you will most likely face at work.

The updated OET will come into effect from the September 2018 test (registrations open on 21 June).

Many of the OET test tasks, the format of the test and the focus in each sub-test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) will remain the same. 

So if you’ve already started studying, don’t worry – the work you have done is still relevant and will stand you in good stead!

We know you’re bound to have many questions about the updated test, so we’ve put together some FAQs to help you. Have a read through them, but if you come up with a question we haven’t answered below, please contact the OET Support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is OET being updated?

Because healthcare is changing! At OET we take great pride in being responsive to the healthcare sector and this means keeping up with the changes and ensuring the test remains relevant. Here are just a few examples: 

  • The move towards patient-centred care means that healthcare professionals need to be far better at gathering information to understand the needs of their patients and exploring their concerns. 
  • Healthcare professionals and patients are now travelling throughout the world to provide or receive care, which means they encounter a wide range of English accents. 
  • Advancing technologies mean that healthcare professionals may need to communicate with peers and patients not only in the workplace but also remotely. 

OET is being updated to meet these new expectations. All the changes have been well researched, including running trials with candidates like you and taking their feedback on board.

What will be updated?

The main updates we’ll be introducing from September are as follows:

  • in the Speaking sub-test a wider range of communication skills, more similar to those that you encounter at work, will be assessed
  • in the Listening sub-test a broader range of accents will be introduced
  • in the Listening and Reading sub-tests, tasks that reflect professional-to-professional communication, such as consulting with a colleague, will be added
  • an additional and more detailed scoring scale will be included alongside your A to E results score so that you have a better idea of how you did.

Find out more about the specific updates to the Listening, Reading and Speaking sub-tests below.

Note: Many OET tasks, the format of the test and the focus in each sub-test will remain the same. The OET will be neither more difficult nor easier than it currently is.

What will stay the same?

Many of the OET test tasks, the format of the test and the focus in each sub-test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) will remain the same.

And of course, OET will still enable you to prove you have the right level of English while learning the kind of language you’ll need every day at work.

What will be updated in the Listening sub-test from September?

The Listening sub-test will be shorter, feature a broader range of accents and focus more on professional-to-professional interaction e.g. a doctor to doctor conversation. As per the old test, you will still be tested on your ability to follow facts during a consultation and understand a short talk.

The new Listening sub-test will take about 45 minutes and include three briefer sections as follows:

Section Duration Task
Part A 15 minutes Two separate consultations between a healthcare professional and a patient
Part B 10 minutes Six short dialogues or monologues in workplace settings
Part C 15 minutes Two long presentations or interviews with health professionals
TOTAL 40-45 minutes

What will be updated in the Reading sub-test from September?

The Reading sub-test will include new task types such as matching, short-answer questions, and a new broader range of documents, such as policy or procedure documents. As per the old test, it will still be relevant for all professions and test your ability to understand texts and source information from multiple texts (‘skim’ and ‘scan’).

The updated Reading sub-test will take 60 minutes to complete and includes three parts as follows:

Section Duration Task
Part A 15 minutes Expeditious (fast) reading task
Part B 45 minutes Six short workplace extracts
Part C Two long presentation passages
TOTAL 60 minutes

What will be updated in the Writing sub-test from September?

There will be no updates to the Writing sub-test.

What will be updated in the Speaking sub-test from September?

There will be no updates to the format of the Speaking sub-test.  

However, we will now also assess clinical communication skills because these are skills that you will need to be successful at work, such as: 

  • relationship building
  • understanding the patient’s perspective
  • providing structure to the conversation
  • gathering information from the patient
  • establishing what the patient already knows.

How are OET results being updated?

From September 2018, results for the four sub-tests that make up OET (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) will be reported on a scale from 0 to 500, alongside the usual OET grades (A to E).

Why the update to the way OET results are reported?

Because you asked for it! We take great pride in being responsive and have updated the way scores are reported to provide more detail, because we understood that this is what both you and the organisations that recognise OET (healthcare regulatory boards, immigration departments and so on) want. 

By including a numerical score alongside your A to E grade, you will be given a more clear and in-depth view of how you performed in each sub-test.

When are the updates happening?

The updated test will be introduced from the OET test on 9 September 2018 (registrations open 21 June). Until then i.e. up to and including the August 2018 test, OET will remain unchanged. 

I started studying a while back. Have I completely wasted my time?

Not at all! Any studying you have done so far and the improvements you have made in your English communication skills will still help you in the updated OET. However, we suggest that you familiarise yourself thoroughly with the new test structure to ensure there are no surprises and you feel comfortable on test day. 

New sample tests will be published on the OET website ahead of registrations for the September test, which open on 21 June. 

Will I need to buy new preparation materials?

We advise all candidates to prepare thoroughly for the test. In the Preparation Portal on the OET website you will find many hours’ worth of free preparation materials and we advise that you work through these, as well as familiarising yourself with the updated test format.

For those who would still like some extra preparation support, new preparation materials will be available from the OET shop when registrations for the updated test open on 21 June. These new materials will be specifically for the updated test and so they are the most appropriate preparation materials for the new test.

We also encourage candidates to follow us on Facebook, as we post new preparation materials daily. 

Will the updated OET be harder?

No. The level of English being tested by OET will not change (the updated test will be neither harder nor easier than it is today). The skills and competencies you need to achieve target OET scores, and thus practice safely in the workplace, will also remain largely unchanged.

A lot of research has been done with candidates to ensure that the level of the updated test remains the same.