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The Occupational English Test (OET) medicine version is specifically designed for healthcare professionals. The exam tests your ability in reading, writing, speaking and listening and it is used by overseas doctors to demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively in English to support their application to register and practice medicine in the UK. For doctors who prefer OET, compared to IELTS, the good news is that OET is now accepted by both the GMC and the UK Home Office - meaning that only one test now required for both UK registration and visa purposes As an IMG coming to work in the UK, there are different scenarios in which you’ll need to provide a pass in an English test. In this article, we outline the key facts about OET, including the following topics: What is the OET? Content and structure Listening Reading Writing Speaking What scores do I need? Does time matter? When and where can I sit the test? How can I prepare? What resources are available online for each subtest? Passed? What next? CLICK HERE & REGISTER FOR 10-20% DISCOUNT ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES What is the OET? The OET tests communication in English with an emphasis in medical and healthcare professional settings. It is recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC), and is fast becoming a common choice to prove a candidate’s ability to communicate in a healthcare environment, such as the NHS. As an overseas doctor you must select and sit the medicine version of the test, this is the only one accepted by the GMC for the purposes of registration for a license to practice. Content and structure: The OET tests your ability in four areas of English language communication: Reading (45 minutes) Writing (60 minutes) Speaking (45 minutes) Listening (20 minutes) Listening: This section consists of three parts and tests a candidate’s ability to understand a range of materials, such as lectures or consultations. Part A – consultation extracts (5 minutes each) You will listen to two recorded patient consultations and will be assessed on identifying specific information. You will also complete the healthcare professionals’ notes using the information that you have heard during the consultation. Part B – Short extract of workplace discussion (1 minute each) Here, you are tested on your ability to identify detail, understand conversation, meaning and reasons or purpose contained in the discussion. You will hear 6 short extracts and answer multiple-choice questions on each. Example extracts could be a consultation dialogue, team meetings or professional handovers. Part C – presentation extracts (5 minutes each) This tests your ability to follow a recorded healthcare related presentation or interview. You will listen to two extracts covering different topics and will then answer 6 multiple choice questions on each extract. What does the listening sub-test assess? The listening sub-test assesses your ability to identify specific information and details, to understand conversations, reasons for comments and the opinions of the speakers. Reading: In this section you are expected to demonstrate your ability to read and understand texts related to healthcare. This sub-test consists of three parts. Part A – expeditious reading task (15 minutes) This tests your ability to quickly and efficiently locate specific information from short texts. The texts will all relate to the same topic, and you will answer 20 questions in total. Part B and C (45 minutes) Part B consists of 6 short text extracts from a healthcare setting, sourced from the workplace. It assesses your ability to identify detail, understand context, main points and overall gist of a text. Example texts are hospital policies or guidelines, manuals, instruction guides, internal communications between staff. Answers are multiple-choice, and you will be asked three questions per text. Part C consists of two texts on topics of interest to healthcare professionals. Each text is 800 words in total. Here you will be tested on your ability to identify detailed meaning and opinion. Each text has eight multiple choice questions. What does the Reading sub-test assess? Each reading sub-test assesses different skills: Part A, to read quickly, skim and scan across a variety of texts, in order to identify specific information. Top tip, familiarise yourself with the conventions of medical texts, the structures, presentation of both numerical and textual content. Part B, to understand detail and main points. Top tip for Part B is to excel at identifying ideas or points within paragraphs, or sentences. Part C, to understand meaning and opinion presented to you. This covers a longer text. Top tip, the focus here is to understand the wider context, from sentence to paragraph level. Writing: This tests your ability to communicate effectively in a healthcare context, such a writing a referral letter. You will be given one task with a healthcare focus relating to the usual demands in the medical workplace. The task is to write a letter, usually a referral. However, this can on occasion be a letter of discharge or advice for a patient. You will be provided with some materials to assist with context, and information to use in your writing. How is the writing assessed? overall execution and completion use of the correct and most suitable language overall comprehension and use of the materials provided grammar, punctuation & spelling cohesion, presentation, structure and layout Top tip, reading more will considerably improve your writing skills. Speaking: This section tests your ability to communicate effectively in a role-play based on a typical healthcare scenario. Each role-play takes about five minutes each. The test will start with an introduction and short warm up conversation. Then the role-play will begin one-by-one and you have three minutes to prepare for each. How is the speaking assessed? intelligibility (pronunciation) appropriate use of language relationship building understanding and incorporating the patient’s language providing structure information gathering information giving What scores do I need? For the GMC to accept your Occupational English Test (OET) certificate you will need to score a grade B or above in each test area. These scores must be achieved in the same test, and this must be your most recent sitting of the OET. Remember, for the GMC to accept your OET certificate, you must take the medicine version of the test. Does time matter? Each sub-test is timed, and you will need to practice how to give each section the right amount of time. You will have to be efficient and work quickly, dedicating the right amount of time to each question and text. When and where can I sit the test? You can sit the OET in test venues around the world and they offer the tests 14 times per year. To find out if there is a test venue that suits you take a look at the official website. How can I prepare? OET can be challenging. So, make sure you are as prepared as possible before sitting the exam. OET involves learning a wide range of healthcare related and profession specific language. To get the right score, this must be at an advanced level. CLICK HERE & REGISTER FOR 10-20% DISCOUNT ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES You don’t need to pay take a course. However, it is highly advisable to attend a course, and/or language classes, successful IMGs have advised that this helped them improve their standards in all areas of the test, including improved general levels of English. Most overseas doctors advise that they improved by attending specific OET courses, and this also helps you to get used to the test format and timings. We strongly recommend that you start preparing for the exams as far in advance as you possibly can. Establish your level of English, and work out what areas you will need to focus on. Identify your weaknesses, set goals for yourself and plan a revision timetable. What resources are available online for each subtest? Listening online resources: A good start would be to watch and listen to extracts online, here are a few options: BBC Factual Podcasts BBC Health Matters OET Listening Subtests Reading online resources: Read short, medium and long extracts online. Why not try the following resources: British Medical Journal ABC health newsletter OET Reading sub-test Writing online resources: To improve writing skills, we recommend reading and writing! Read short, medium and long extracts online. Write short extracts, re-write articles and write on your own journal. Why not try the following resources: British Medical Journal Free Medical Journals OET Writing sub-test Speaking online resources: To improve speaking skills, we recommend speaking! Speak with colleagues and friends in English as much as you can. You can also record yourself reading aloud or speaking and then play back your recording, assessing yourself. Why not try the following resources: British Medical Journal Free Medical Journals OET Sample Test Video We have also created a useful blog series on Exam Tips and Revision Guidance, which includes tips for studying at home. Passed? What next? If you have your OET in place you are in a prime position to apply and interview for jobs. IMG Jobs Search and find live NHS doctor jobs in the UK IMG Resources Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more! Get in Touch Don’t hesitate to get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job options in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.
For overseas doctors looking to register with GMC, passing an English Language test is essential. Doctors regularly ask us which test is the most suited for IMGs to sit and which is more suited to the medical professional? There are different scenarios in which you’ll need to provide a pass in an English test. This article should hopefully help you decide which English Language Test would suit you best and includes the following topics: What are IELTS & OET? Which test is accepted by which registration body? What are the similarities and differences? What do I need to score in each test for GMC registration? Where and when can i sit the English Language Exams? How do I prepare for the exam? Which test should I choose? Can i get offered an exemption? If you are an IMG relocating to the UK to start a doctors job, you will be required to take an English Language exam, enabling you to register with the GMC (General Medical Council). What are IELTS & OET? Both IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and OET (Occupational English Test) are used to test the English language levels of healthcare professionals in different parts of the world. They are chosen by different regulatory bodies to ensure that doctors and other healthcare professionals have the correct level of English to communicate at a high level with patients and colleagues, so as to provide safe and effective care. For international doctors relocating to the UK, it is important to start by saying that both the IELTS and OET are accepted by the General Medical Council (GMC). DOCTORS - REGISTER TODAY FOR 10-20% DISCOUNT ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES Which test is accepted by which registration body? For overseas doctors the main consideration is whether your English language test needs to be considered for GMC registration as well as Tier 2 visa sponsorship with the Home Office. For EEA doctors, you do not require a visa and only need to satisfy the GMC’s English language criteria. If you have qualified outside of the EEA, your English Language Tests will need to satisfy both the GMC and the UK Home Office. The good news is that recent changes to the rules means that both IELTS and OET are accepted for GMC registration and yoru Tier 2 visa. Check out the recent updates here. We have created the table below to help you check if you are taking the right test: GMC registration Tier 2 Visa (CoS) Academic IELTS YES (7.5 overall, no less than 7.0 in all sections) NO Academic IELTS UKVI YES (7.5 overall, no less than 7.0 in all sections) YES (4.0 in all sections) OET YES (Score of B+ in all areas) YES OET and Tier 2 visas: Only one test now required for both UK registration and visa purposes. What are the similarities and differences? Similarities: Each consists of four areas, one for each English language skill: reading, listening, writing and speaking. Both tests take place in one day. Both give a graded score (not pass or fail) Both are recognised by the GMC and other healthcare regulatory bodies in the UK There are however, more differences. Differences: The content of the exam is different. IELTS tests overall academic English (as an IMG you must select the Academic IELSTS UKVI test as this is the one recognised by the healthcare regulatory bodies, i.e. GMC & Home office). What does this mean in practice? Well, this includes the ability to write essays, follow lectures, understand academic articles, journals and newspapers, discuss a wide range of topics including social, environmental, educational and cultural trends. The OET is different, the OET has been designed specifically for medical professionals, including nursing, medicine, radiography, occupational therapists and so on. Be sure to choose the correct exam for you, medicine! The OET tests healthcare English, including the ability to communicate effectively in medical scenarios, write referral letters, understand a patient consultation, or follow a text from a medical journal. Your preparation will need to be different This doesn’t mean that one will require more or less preparation, just that you will need to study varied pathways and prepare different topics and vocabulary. IELTS involves learning a much wider amount of vocabulary on a range of academic subjects so that you will be prepared to read academic texts quickly and effectively, understand lectures, talks and questions, giving opinion in detail. You will have to prepare how to write reports on a variety of data and essay types. Written texts are to be of a high standard, including complex structures and grammar. OET involves learning a wide range of healthcare related and profession specific language. The test will require you to follow clinical scenarios, understand medical texts and talks. You will need to write a healthcare letter, such as a referral. To get the right score, this must be at an advanced level. Successful IMGs who have passed, have told us that learning a range of exam techniques helps you to work quickly and effectively during the test day. What do I need to score in each test for GMC registration? IELTS: IELTS is marked out of 9 in each paper. For GMC registration an overall score of 7.5 must be achieved, with a minimum of 7.0 in each area of the test. OET: OET is marked grades A to E in each paper. For GMC registration a minimum of grade B is required in all areas to pass the exam, or a point score of 350 points across all areas of the test. Where and when can I sit the English Language Tests? IELTS is available in over 140 countries, with tests held up to 4 times per month. Check if there is a venue near where you live. OET is available 14 times per year in 40 countries, with the number of cities and venues increasing each year. Check if is there is a venue near where you live. How do I prepare for either exam? Preparing for any English Language Test, whether you have chosen IELTS or OET, requires learning a huge amount of vocabulary, learning how to write specific reports or essays, using a high level of grammar and structure, learn how to engage with a range of scenarios and acquire a set of key exam techniques. You should take time to research each area of the tests in detail, but don’t worry, help is at hand, for more information on how to prepare, take a look at our blog series on English Language testing. Can I be exempted from the english language test? Some specialisms that are hard to fill such as emergency medicine and various specialist medicines, however NHS hospitals do not like offering exemptions - and they are only offered to candidates who exhibit excellent language capabilties at interview. IMG Connect strongly recommends all doctors to practice for and pass an English language test. Get in touch if you would like to know more about exemptions or think you are eligible. Which test do I choose? Neither exam is easier than the other. Both IELTS 7.5 and OET B show you have an advanced level in English. It really is up to you! You may find OET simpler to understand as it is healthcare related and tests the language you use in daily practice. The same can be said about IELTS, you may find the general nature of the topics more suited to you. I have my ELT in place, what next? Depending on what other qualifications you have in place, you may have to pass an accepted postgraduate qualification in order to be eligible for full GMC registration. Regardless, passing your english test is a huge acheivement and will take you that one giant step closer to working in the NHS. So congratulations! For more useful blogs & articles on English Language Tests to help you find your dream job in the NHS - take a look at our IMG Library. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with an IMG Consultant to discuss UK job options in the NHS and English Language Tests, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable locations for you. IMG Jobs Search and find live NHS doctor jobs in the UK IMG Resources Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more! Get in Touch Get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job opportunities in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.
Overseas doctors hoping to register with the GMC and find a job in the NH will have to demonstrate that they have the right level of English to practice safely in the NHS. In this article we will look at how to prepare for both IELTS and OET examinations. This will hopefully help you save time and money, giving you the best chance to get the score you want in the exams. To help you decide the best way to prepare, we have included the following topics: The first thing to say – it isn’t easy! What should I expect? Can I just take the exam? How can I prepare? Can I do all of this at home? Where can I find training? Knowing your level What resources are available online to help with my preparation? Steps to success in the English Language Tests The first thing to say – it isn’t easy! Preparing for any English Language Test, whether you have chosen IELTS or OET, requires you to learn a huge amount of vocabulary, write specific reports or essays, use a high level of grammar and structure, learn how to engage with a range of scenarios and acquire a set of key exam techniques. What should I expect? Preparing for and sitting the exams is difficult, not least because of the overload of information that is out there, for example which sources do you trust? What is the best way to find information? Passing the exams can take months, and in some cases years of hard work. And don’t forget that each exam costs money, with many also choosing private tuition – the money and time can soon add up. Can I just take the exam? The exams costs money each time and are very specific in format, with the answers requiring certain structures and techniques. A lot of IMGs don’t get the required marks at first attempt and as such, we don’t advise taking the exam without sound preparation. Remember… failing to prepare, is preparing to fail. In general, there are a few things that most IMGs tell us that they have improved on through preparing well: Overall general level of English – this takes time IMGs who passed have told us that this takes the longest, but it is time well spent… Overall improvements in general English skills, including broadening your vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, will help you to achieve the best score possible. Try to make a little progress every day. Refining your test skills – this takes practice Each sub-test (reading, writing, speaking and listening) has a different style of question and answer, so each of them has a specific skill that you need to learn. Knowing how the tests are marked – this takes guidance To gain those valuable extra scores, get to know what the examiner wants and give it to them! Remember, this skill alone won’t get you a pass, but combined with the above it will be a huge help to getting the score you want. CLICK HERE & REGISTER FOR 10-20% DISCOUNT ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES How can I prepare? Can I do all of this at home? IMGs have shared many ways to practice for a pass and this doesn’t mean just repeating exam questions. Here are a few of our favourite examples that you can do every day, for free! Find a colleague at work, friend or family member, who you enjoy speaking English with and speak to them every day! Read a wider range of topics online, both medical and general. Find a regular news source you enjoy reading in English. Tune into UK radio stations, available online, or, on your mobile phone. Put the radio on before and after work, rather than your usual local station. Listen to Podcasts in English, there are thousands of topics to choose from. Watch YouTube channels about medicine and life in the UK. Watch movies and TV shows in English, both with and without subtitles. Start writing, it is key that you practice, but this can sometimes be the hardest to practice in natural contexts. IMGs have suggested writing a blog or writing letters and emails (in English) to friends and family Watch Tedtalks, that both do and don’t interest you! Take practice tests at home, mark your answers and check how you improve. Basically, find your passion and go for it! Where can I find training? There are excellent training sessions available, including face-face and online courses to help you to prepare. They can help you to build the skills you need to succeed in your exam. It is always good to tailor your learning to your own needs, so whether you are new to the tests, or looking for support to help you to study or retake the exams, find a training programme that suits you. Whilst not necessary, taking up an exam preparation course led by an experienced teacher or tutor who is knowledgeable on the test and the skills – is highly recommended Most IMGs who attend courses in person, tell us that they saw quicker results. Knowing your level Knowing your level is an essential part of the preparation for both IELTS and OET. Whether you decide to sign up for a course, or tutor, getting assessed and knowing your current level will help you identify your areas of weakness to focus on. We would recommend getting your speaking and writing assessed by a qualified teacher. They can tell you what level you are at and areas for improvement. Identify weaknesses, focus on these and get reassessed to check if you have improved. You can find courses or individual teachers online who have been trained directly by the examining body, which can give you the boost you need. But, speak to colleagues and see if they can recommend a trusted course or teacher. What resources are available online to help with my preparation? The following sites will give you all the general information you need for your IELTS or OET exam preparation: IELTS Official British Council IELTS IDP IELTS OET You can find video tutorials and support on YouTube, including official channels from both IELTS and OET: YouTube - IELTS YouTube - OET You can find online practice papers at the following trusted sites: British Council – free sample tests IELTS Essentials – free sample tests IDP – free sample test OET – free sample tests Consider working with an accredited tutor 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 work very professionally 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 touch with one of our IMG Consultants to discuss So, broken down, here are our steps to success in the English Language Tests: Understand the test structure and format Set yourself achievable learning goals Get to know the marking criteria Understand the various question types Polish your exam skills Improve your vocabulary Take practice tests Practice every day, and we mean every day! Not essential depending on your level of English, but you can also find a tutor or online course. Get assessed, identify weaknesses, work on these, get reassessed. IMG Jobs Search and find live NHS doctor jobs in the UK IMG Resources Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more! Get in Touch Don’t hesitate to get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job options in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.
Doctors looking to register with the GMC and find a job in the NHS will be required to take either the OET or IELTS exam. Here we answer some FAQs about the OET exam. OET can be challenging and, without proper preparation, it is not uncommon for doctors to fail at their first attempt. So, to help make sure you are as prepared as possible before sitting the exam, we have answered the most common FAQs asked by an overseas doctor: What is the OET? How is the OET different from IELTS? What regulatory bodies accept OET? What test should I take? Is OET a better option than IELTS? Is the OET recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC)? What results do I need for GMC registration? How much does it cost? Should I prepare for the exam? Should I spend money on preparing? Where can I find online study materials? How do I register? Where can I take the test? Can I change my test date? Can I take a re-sit? What is the OET? OET stands for Occupational English Test. The OET is an English Language Test created specifically for healthcare professionals. The OET exam assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practice in the UK, or other English-speaking countries. It tests your English levels in four subtests: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening. How is the OET different from IELTS? OET is a language assessment designed for healthcare professionals, testing your English Language skills in a medical context. IELTS is not specific to the healthcare profession, it is taken by professionals from all industries. So, the topics covered are more general. Both test four areas of English Language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. What regulatory bodies accept OET? The good news is that if you choose the OET exam, recent changes to the rules as of the 1st October 2019, means that only one test now required for both UK registration and visa purposes. The OET exam is now accepted by both the GMC and the UK Home Office. What test should I take? Neither exam is easier than the other. Both IELTS and OET Medicine show you have an advanced level in English. It really is up to you! You may find OET simpler to understand as it is healthcare related and tests the language you use in daily practice. The same can be said about IELTS, you may find the general nature of the topics more suited to you. Is OET a better option than IELTS? There is no one option better than the other, both are recognised qualifications by the GMC. The most important thing to decide is which suits your needs the most. Your decision may be based on factors such as: the format and content of the different tests regularity with which test sessions are held locations of test centres test fees regulatory bodies that accept the test for applications Is the OET recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC)? Yes, the GMC recognises OET for overseas-trained doctors for registration purposes. For the GMC to accept your OET certificate it must show that you took the medicine sub-tests. What results do I need for GMC registration? For the GMC to accept your OET certificate it must show: You took the medicine version of the test. You attained at least a grade 'B' in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing) or 350 points in total. What is the test format? OET has four parts: Listening (50 minutes) Reading (60 minutes) Writing (45 minutes) Speaking (20 minutes) The total test time is approximately 3 hours. How much does it cost? Test fees are AUD $587 (approx. £323 based on February 2019 exchange rate). Should I prepare for the exam? Yes, exam preparation is crucial to scoring highly in the test. You might feel like you already have a good level of English, good enough to pass the tests. But IMGs keep telling us that no matter what level of English they have, it is always better to prepare. The test consists of very specific content, so specific test skills are required. Should I spend money on preparing? Whilst not essential, we recommend that you seek further support. This could be via online tutorials, 1 - 1 teaching, or longer course-based learning. There are lots of OET tutors available online. That said, there are also loads of ways that you can improve your English for free, at home and in your own time. CLICK HERE & REGISTER FOR 10-20% DISCOUNT ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES Where can I find online study materials? With thousands of useful websites available, it can be tricky to decide where to start. We recommend the OET Preparation Portal. Here you will discover official resources, some for free! For example, you can expect to find: sample practice tests masterclass videos with an OET preparation expert tips to improve your test performance online preparation Course practice books How do I register? Register online here. The OET have a portal for all applicants, called myOET. This lets you apply for tests, view your results, and create a profile. Where can I take the test? OET is available at more than 115 locations in 40 countries, with 14 test dates per year. Be sure to choose the correct date and location when you apply. You can find a test date and venue here. Can I change my test date? Yes, you can change the test date any day prior to the original test date booked. Please note, no refund is available, and an administration fee will apply to book a new date. The cost of deferring depends on when you decide to defer: Administration cost before application closing date is $120 (approx. £67 at the point of writing) Administration cost after applications closing date passes is $200 (approx. £110 at the point of writing) No refund is available for cancellations. Can I take a re-sit? Yes, you can book a new test at any time, however this will be at further personal cost. Consider working with an accredited tutor 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 work very professionally 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 touch with one of our IMG Consultants to discuss. IMG Jobs Search and find live NHS doctor jobs in the UK IMG Resources Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more! Get in Touch Don’t hesitate to get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job options in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.
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