The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and OET (Occupational English Test) serve as tests to gauge the English proficiency of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals around the world.
Moreover, regulatory bodies make use of these examinations to ensure that healthcare workers possess necessary language skills to communicate with patients and colleagues effectively and thereby provide sufficient medical care. In case you are trying to make up your mind about which one to choose, you have come to the right place.
GMC and the NMC recognizes IELTS and OET exams. However, they are distinctly different in the way they test your ability. When OET tests your English communication skills in a healthcare environment, IELTS puts your overall faculty to communicate in English language to the test.
Rumors are rife that OET is far easier to clear than IELTS. But the truth of the matter is that it is not the case. However, the level demanded from each examination by Regulatory Authorities in the UK is fairly similar. The reason behind the rumor is the fact that many healthcare professionals who took the OET passed in their first attempt. This had nothing to do with the test being easier. It was because the test gauged the skills that they were more familiar with. Furthermore, OET tests the skills you already use in the healthcare profession and assesses how well you can communicate these skills in English.
Reading, listening, writing and speaking.
Students are provided a graded score in place of a pass or fail. The General Medical Council in the United Kingdom stipulates doctors to score B in OET with a B in each paper or an IELTS 7.5 with a minimum score of 7 in each paper.
The Common European Framework of Reference considers both a 7 in IELTS and a B on the OET as C1 or advanced level of English.
Nature of the exam
While the IELTS exam tests your academic English, the OET tests your knowledge of medical English. This will further include your capability to understand patients, conduct medical consultations and write discharge and referral letters.
While there are two versions of the IELTS exam (Academic and General Training), there are 12 versions of the OET for different healthcare professions including nurses, doctors, dentists, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, vets, speech pathologists, dieticians, physiotherapists and radiographers.
IELTS is marked out of 9 with a separate score for each individual paper. OET is marked from A to E with an accompanying numerical score to show your precise grade.
OET is recognized by healthcare regulatory bodies in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Ukraine and Namibia. On the other hand, IELTS is recognized by universities, healthcare regulatory bodies, immigration authorities and companies across the world.
The Occupational English Test (OET) is primarily an English Language Test for healthcare professionals. In addition, it is recognized by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK and Ireland. What’s more, the NMC and GMC accept OET and IELTS Academic in the UK and Ireland.