Overview of OET Preparation course in London


What is the OET?

The Occupational English Test (OET) is accepted in a range of countries including the UK, Australia and New Zealand as a test of English skills for international healthcare professionals. In the UK, it is accepted by both the General Medical Council as meeting the English language requirements to practice as a doctor and by the Nursing & Midwifery Council as meeting these requirements to practice as a nurse.

Like the IELTS test, it tests the four main components of English language – reading, writing, listening and speaking. However, it is different in that it focuses on the English language skills required in your specific profession. Many doctors and nurses therefore prefer the OET test because it is more relevant to their work and could be seen as a fairer test of their ability to practice in the UK and elsewhere.

The Occupational English Test for Doctors and the OET for Nurses are slightly different as the skills required by these different groups vary.

The structure of the test is shown in the table below:

Paper (duration) Content Shows candidate can:

(approx. 50 minutes)

2 tasks

Common to all 12 professions

Follow and understand a range of health-related spoken materials such as patient consultations and lectures.
Reading (60minutes) 2 tasks

Common to all 12 professions

Read and understand different types of text on health-related subjects
Writing (45 minutes)

Reading time: 5 minutes

Writing time: 40 minutes

1 task

Specific to each profession

Write a letter in a clear and accurate way which is relevant for the reader.
Speaking (20minutes) 2 tasks

Specific to each profession

Effectively communicate in a real-life context through the use of role-plays

Table illustrating the four components of OET (Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment Trust (CBLA), n.d: p.6)


Our intensive two week course prepares learners thoroughly for the OET. It familiarises them with the test format and content and gives learners a thorough understanding of the structure of each test area, exploring the skills, techniques and professional language required for success.

Learners will have access to extensive online material through our virtual learning environment and will complete the course with a broader and more developed perspective on their profession.

The course is taught by well qualified English language teachers with specialised experience of preparing students for medical and healthcare language assessments. The course is suitable for the OET for Doctors and the OET for Nurses.


The main learning objectives of the course are as follows:

OET Listening

  • understand the content of a consultation between a health practitioner and a patient/client
  • extract relevant information in a consultation
  • take notes while listening to relevant information
  • understand the main ideas and important information in a number of short talks on various health related topics that might occur in the workplace.
  • understand inferred meaning in a short talk, including recognising the communicative functions of utterances and inferring the meaning of unfamiliar lexical items from the context.
  • complete a range of open ended and fixed- choice tasks such as:
    • Multiple-choice questions
    • Sentence completion
    • Short-answer questions
    • Summary completion
    • Lecture notes completion
    • Table/flow-chart/mind-map completion
    • Word replacement response
    • Matching responses

OET Reading

  • source information from multiple texts.
  • to synthesise information in a meaningful way.
  • to “skim” and “scan” material to retrieve information quickly.
  • locate specific information in a range of short texts.
  • understand the conventions of different text types
  • summarise information for a non-medical audience
  • recognise and understand paraphrasing
  • use appropriate spelling and word forms
  • understand main ideas
  • differentiate main ideas from supporting information
  • identify the underlying theme of a paragraph or text.
  • recognise and understand paraphrase
  • understand cohesion between parts of a text.
  • follow a complex argument that is made over several paragraphs.
  • follow a complex argument that is made over several paragraphs.

OET Writing

  • record treatment offered to date and the issues to be addressed by the health professional, drawing selectively on the stimulus material presented in the case notes.
  • develop vocabulary related to health related subjects.
  • communicate effectively using a range of grammatical structures and cohesive devices.
  • structure and write effective and professional letters including the appropriate use of vocabulary, tone and organisation
    write plainly and concisely.
  • develop presentation features (layout, punctuation and spelling)
  • use proofreading techniques to pick up mistakes.

OET Speaking

  • ask and answer questions
  • engage with a variety of patient types e.g. different ages, different health problems, different concerns.
  • use professional language in order to give explanations in a clear, simple and appropriate manner
  • rephrase ideas in different ways to help or persuade a patient
  • reassure a worried or angry patient
  • develop communicative effectiveness and maintain meaningful interaction.
  • develop intelligibility.
  • develop fluency.
  • develop vocabulary related to health related subjects.
  • develop grammatical structure and expression
  • develop their confidence in speaking in English.
Entry requirements

The main aim of the Occupational English Test course is to prepare healthcare professionals for the OET test rather than to improve their general level of English. Therefore. the course is most appropriate for learners with a C1 or high B2 level of English. We are happy to advise you on whether or not we feel that your language skills are sufficiently advanced for this course.

Those with a lower level can prepare for this course by taking more general language courses with IFG.

Length of course

2 weeks full time or 4 weeks part-time

Start dates

Our courses are scheduled so that students can take the test immediately after taking our course.



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