OET Recognising Organisations

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.

OET is being updated

OET (Occupational English Test) is being updated to ensure the test continues to reflect latest practice in Language Assessment and healthcare communication. ​

The updated OET will come into effect from the September 2018.

Standard periodic review of this nature (typical of high stakes English Language proficiency tests) ensures OET remains highly relevant to healthcare professionals and healthcare employers world-wide.​

At the same time, the system used to deliver and administer the end-to-end OET test cycle is also being upgraded to ensure the OET journey is easier, simpler, and more secure for all stakeholders – candidates, recognising organisations, test venues, and assessors.​

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is OET being updated?

The Occupational English Test (OET) is being updated: 

  • to ensure the test reflects latest practice in language assessment and healthcare communication, so OET can continue to be highly trusted by candidates and the healthcare regulators and employers who rely on the test. 
  • the system used to deliver and administer the end-to-end OET test cycle is also being upgraded to ensure the OET journey is easier, simpler, and more secure for all stakeholders – candidates, recognising organisations, test venues, and assessors. 

The updates to OET reflect findings from rigorous research processes, extensive consultation with subject matter experts, and ongoing stakeholder and candidate feedback. 

What will be updated?

The main updates we’ll be introducing from 9 September 2018 are as follows: 

  • Test tasks 

Some test tasks will change to reflect current research findings as well as feedback from candidates and subject matter experts. 

  • Results reporting 

A new OET results scale that provides more granular details will be introduced.  

  • Assessment criteria 

Some minor inclusions to the assessment criteria e.g. the assessment of clinical communication skills in the Speaking sub-test. 

  • Format 

The ‘look and feel’ of the test paper will change to accommodate computer-based testing in the future. 

What will stay the same?

  • Language proficiency level 
  • The language proficiency level being tested by OET will not change. OET will be neither more difficult nor easier than it is today.Majority of language skills being assessed 

The skills and competencies required to achieve target OET scores will also remain largely unchanged. 

What are the benefits of this change?

  • Greater assurance over candidates’ ability to communicate effectively in demanding healthcare environments 
  • More granular scoring, offering a more holistic view of candidates’ test performance 
  • It will be easier to compare OET results to other comparable tests. 

How will this change impact OET recognising organisations?

From September 2018, the results for the four sub-skills will be reported on a numeric scale (0-500) alongside the existing OET grades (A to E). This means existing OET Recognising Organisations will need to: 

  • review and prepare internal IT systems/processes to reflect the new OET results scale to take effect on 2 October 2018. 
  • change candidate-facing communications on your website and other publications mentioning OET results to take effect on 2 October 2018. 

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.

Why update the way OET results are reported?

We take great pride in being responsive to the needs of our candidates and other OET stakeholders and have updated the way scores are reported to provide more detail, because this is what both candidates and the organisations that recognise OET (healthcare regulatory boards, immigration departments and so on) want. 

By including a numerical score alongside A to E grade, Recognising Organisations will have a more clear and in-depth view of how candidates performed in each sub-test.