OET is fast becoming the most popular English Language test that overseas doctors will use for GMC registration.
It is an English language test that tests medical language specifically and for that reason is very popular with IMGs. However, as with many things the exam has been heavily disrupted by the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the covid-19 pandemic OET have created two new versions of their popular english langauge test to help doctors when their local test centre is closed:
Computer-based OET test
OET@Home - what is it?
OET has partnered with Prometric TM, a private company, to deliver a home version of the OET test. While computer-based testing and remote proctoring (invigilation on behalf of OET) will bring changes to the delivery mode - the test format, tasks presented and level of English assessed will all be the same.
OET@Home - how does it work?
The reading, listening and writing sub-tests of OET will be available via computer-based delivery and the Speaking sub-test will be carried out with a human interlocutor via video calling software. This human involvement and role-play nature of the OET Speaking sub-test which is so important to the test - will not be compromised.
The test will be managed remotely and under strict condition by invigilators who know the importance of this test for patient safety and fair GMC registration process for any doctor taking OET - whether it’s OET@Home of OET sat in person at a test centre.
Do I have to take the test on a computer? Or are paper-based tests still available?
You do not have to take the test on a computer. OET will be running both paper-based and computer-based testing so you can still take the test on paper if that is what you prefer.
They will be continuing to run paper based tests at all the current values as long as local lockdown restrictions allow. So now you can sit one of three OET formats:
paper-based tests at OET test centers (the old method)
a computer based test that you can sit at selected test venues
OET@Home , a remote-invigilated test that you can sit at home using a Windows PC
Is there a difference between computer-based OET and OET@Home?
Not really. They are exactly the same test with the main difference being where you actually take the test. The key difference is this:
With computer based tests you will attend a test venue to take the test.
With OET@Home you will be able to take the test remotely (e.g. at home or work) on your Windows PC.
How does the remote invigilation or proctoring work?
‘Remote proctoring’ essentially means ‘remote invigilation’. This means that you can sit the test outside of a test centre under the same strict exam conditions that an OET test centre would provide.
Human proctors or human invigilators check the following:
you are who you say by checking ID
room searches prior to the start of the test
monitor your behaviour during the test, ensuring you do not breach any OET rules and regulations
Remote proctoring systems also help maintain test security with the following:
security features such as limiting functionality of your computer (e.g. so you cannot access the internet or take screenshots)
How often will the computer-based test and OET@Home run?
Initially once a month on either the same day, or alternate Saturdays as the paper-based OET test. However, this is still to be confirmed and OET will release more details in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for their updates found on their website here.
Can i actually sit the test at home?
Yes. Once the OET@Home is live you will be able to sit the test at home, using a windows PC.
How will the speaking test work?
The Speaking sub-test will still be two role plays with a live interlocutor or test official. The only difference is with OET@Home, where the live interlocutor will role play with you via video conference.
How much will this cost me?
At this point it does not look like there will be any change to the cost of OET, no matter which test you take. A reminder - those cost of the OET is currently AUD 587 (A$587) which is currently equivalent to £327. Please note, the price and conversion rate is representative of the time of writing this article (July 2020)
When can I book a test?
OET@Home will be open for bookings at the end of August, with the tests available from September onwards.
Computer-based OET will be available at the end of September in a few locations. More locations will be made available after the first
Will the OET test format change?
No - all tasks, format and timings will remain the same across all types of OET.
If I have already booked to take the OET paper-based test - will I be able to change my booking to either computer based test or OET@Home?
Are the computer-based OET and OET@Home accepted by regulators?
Both the computer-based OET and OET@Home are accepted by the GMC and will be valid for Tier 2 visa applications also.
How do I book my place with either OET@Home or computer-based OET?
You will be able to book your test online and OET will let you know as soon as both new types of test are available for booking.
Can I take the OET@Home on a mobile phone?
No, the OET@Home can only be taken on Windows PC. You can find the technical specifications here.
So, I can only use a windows laptop? What if I have a Mac?
Unfortunately, if you have a Mac you will not be able to sit the OET@Home with it. You will need a dedicated computer running Windows 10, either a desktop computer or laptop.
OET will stick with the same results timeframe in place for paper-based OET tests - however there may be the opportunity to significantly shorten the time needed for results to be released. However, do not expect to see this benefit immediately.
How can I prepare for all versions of the OET?
As with all tests, we recommend preparing as much in advance as you can. Learning a new language is challenging and takes time. You cannot just turn up on exam day and hope to pass, no matter how good your english is already.
Take a read through this article below to help your preparations for OET:
As an International Brand dedicated to helping international doctors to register with the GMC and find work in the NHS - we have lots of partnerships in place with trusted companies in many areas.
One of these key areas is English Language Testing and IMG Connect works closely with a company called Specialist Language Courses. You can take a look at their website here.
Specialist Language courses are incredibly professional and are the UK's leading provider of online courses and tutoring. They are also one of the few accredited providers of OET and have provided consultation and guidance to the GMC on english language testing.
Success rates are 70% + for those who sign for their tutoring and you can receive a discount if introduced by IMG Connect.
Register with IMG Connect to request your discount on English Language Courses or get in touchwith one of our IMG Consultants to discuss