Nurses relocating to the UK are required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to be able to prove that they are proficient in speaking and understanding the English language. There are two types of language test available to nurses; IELTS and OET.
The Occupational English Test (OET) is an English language test that assesses the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment, such as the UK. Just like IELTS, it provides a valid and reliable assessment of all four language skills - reading, writing, speaking and speaking - however, unlike IELTS, the emphasis with OET is on communication within healthcare settings.
OET test structure
|Skills||Format||Duration of Test|
|Listening||2 parts A and B||50 minutes|
|Reading||2 parts A and B||60 minutes|
|Writing||1 task||45 minutes|
|Speaking||2 role-plays||Approx. 20 minutes|
OET uses a grading system from A to E, where A shows a very high level of competency through to E which shows a low level of competency that requires considerable improvement. The OET score accepted by the NMC is grade B across all four areas. As with IELTS, the NMC will accept two OET test results which are a maximum of six months apart and with a minimum of two skills achieved at grade C or above. The combined result must show the required band score of B.
At Medacs Healthcare, we often work with NHS clients who are happy for us to interview nurses that have a combined grade of C. If a nurse is successful at interview, they are then given support by the client to get them to the required B grade, which is the minimum requirement to start the application process with the NMC.
The cost of OET is approximately £345 and you can register online via the OET portal.
Nurses can view their latest test grades via their online profile on the OET website 15 business days after each test day. Five business days after the publication of results in online profiles, nurses receive a Statement of Results in the post. This is their official hard copy statement which gives the band conversion of the fair score and details the scores obtained at the most recent sitting, as well as scores for all sittings within the last three years.
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