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How to prepare for the OET exam

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

Occupational English Test (OET) is an international English proficiency test that assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals. OET medicine is designed specifically for physicians. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) chose this test to determine if a candidate meets the minimum English skills required to practice medicine in an English-speaking country.

Importance of OET

Along with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), OET is one of the most accepted English proficiency tests, accepted worldwide by different medical bodies to appoint nurses, dentists, pharmacists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. In order to get GMC registration, the applicant needs to have a valid English language proficiency test passed, one of them being OET alongside IELTS. OET tests your ability to communicate in English in a healthcare setting, whereas the IELTS tests your overall ability to communicate in the English language and the general consensus is that the OET is easier than IELTS. The selection of the exam is the applicant’s personal choice, and both are accepted by the GMC.

Test Structure

OET can be given on paper or on the computer at the test venue or it can even be given at home. It comprises of four sub-tests: Listening (approximately 45 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (45 minutes), Speaking (approximately 20 minutes).

If you are preparing for your IELTS or OET exam, TrewLink has an extremely helpful 2-hour FREE recording from a recent master class on tips to pass your OET and IELTS writing exams the first time. The recording is available for you on the website


  1. The best materials to prepare for OET are mostly found on the OET official website or on the OET preparation portal.

  2. OET sample tests and mock tests - These tests on the website are very helpful in getting familiar with the examination pattern and filling in any gaps of knowledge as it can closely emulate the actual examination.

  3. OET Masterclass - This is a service provided by OET. These are videos giving advice on all four subsets of the examination.

  4. Live Q&A - OET organises live Q&A sessions twice a month. The applicants can get their doubts answered by OET experts themselves in this case.

  5. OET YouTube - OET have an official YouTube channel to help out the examinees on certain topics and offer tips. Another YouTube channel that can be helpful for preparation is ‘E2 OET

  6. OET Preparation Books - There are lots of books available online which are specifically for OET preparation and also specifically for doctors. Some good books are ‘Dear Doctor by Norman Whitby and Stephen Nickless’, ‘OET Speaking and Writing Skills Builder by Ros Wright’, ‘OET Reading and Listening Skills Builder by Tom Fassnidge.’ OET also has its own book called ‘Official Guide to OET (Kaplan)’

Preparation Tips

  1. Get familiarised with the test overview and structure so that on the test day you don’t get overwhelmed.

  2. Take practice tests.

  3. Work on your weaknesses and practice all 4 sub-sets of the examination.

  4. Get familiarised with the English language, especially in a healthcare setting by doing rotations or internships in hospitals.


Having questions?

1. You can always ask TrewLink experts for advice here. The guidance is free.

2. Read the full guide on IELTS and OET requirements from the GMC here.

Written by

Siddharth Sunil,

Final Year Medical Student

Charles University,

Czech Republic

Edited by Julia

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