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Occupational English Test (OET)

Registration is open for the Occupational English Test (OET) at Waikato Institute of Education. To register, or for more information visit occupationalenglishtest.org

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language test for health practitioners who have qualified to practise in one country and wish to gain provisional registration to practise their profession in another which has an English-speaking context.
The Test measures the language competency of health practitioners who are seeking registration and the ability to practise in an English speaking context. It is designed to ensure that language competency is assessed in a relevant professional context.

The OET is administered by the OET Centre up to ten times a year in over 40 locations around the world, including at WIE in Hamilton.
Waikato Institute of Education  is Authorised Examination Centre for Cambridge The Occupational English Test (OET), Candidates in New Zealand who wish to sit for the test must apply directly via the OET website: http://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/.

Each OET sub-test is scored as one of five grades, from A - E.  A is the highest grade, E is the lowest. Most professional registration bodies require a minimum of B in each sub-test.

Candidates can resit any component of the test (listening, reading, speaking and writing) rather than having to do the whole test again. The speaking component is comprised of 2 recorded role plays where the examiner plays the part of a patient with a particular problem. The candidate gets 3 minutes thinking time then has to respond professionally and refer the patient if necessary. The test rubric can involve any kind of medical problem and can require the patient to be angry, upset, impatient etc.

Comparing IELTS and OET



+ Pros +

+   Used for a wide range of purposes including University Entrance and Immigration purposes.

+   Is more workplace-orientated than IELTS and is aimed at health & medical professions specifically.

+   More widely recognised than OET.

+   Argued to be more relevant to nursing and healthcare professions.

+   Tests are offered approximately twice a month (25 times a year).

+   Can re-sit individual skill areas separately.

+   Cheaper than OET to sit

+   Test is specific to candidates' field of profession.

– cons –

_    Cannot re-sit individual bands; if one skill area is failed candidate must re-sit entire test.

_    Students cannot re-sit the test until previous results have been published.

_    Requires a very high level of English to achieve 7.0 score.

_   Offered only up to 10 times a year in New Zealand.

_    Is not directly relevant to healthcare or nursing professions.

_    Less test centres available, candidates may have to travel.

_    Does not have cultural component relative to New Zealand.

_   Overall more expensive than IELTS.


There is no overall grade in OET; candidates receive a separate grade for each sub-test.

The written papers are normally scheduled in the morning starting at 9.00am. The Listening, Reading and Writing sub-tests are completed by 1.00pm. The individual Speaking interviews are timetabled for the afternoon, from around 1.00pm until 6.00pm. You must be available for the whole of this period; the exact time of your interview is sent to you with the detailed venue information.

For more information on OET, please visit the official website at: http://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/

For more information on OET Preparation Course, please visit  OET Preparation Course

FREE OET Seminar for examinees registered for the most recent and the next OET Test in Waikato Institute of Education (WIE). For more information visit FREE OET Seminar


Waikato Institute of Education
Level 1 Centre Place Tower, 48 Ward Street,
PO Box 773, Hamilton, New Zealand
Phone: 64 - 7 - 8382450   Fax: 64 - 7 - 838 2453