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The OET (Occupational English Test) is an international English language test specifically designed for the healthcare sector. The test is focused on healthcare scenarios and the familiar content may help nurses and midwives achieve the high score they need to register with the NMC, if they can’t achieve the required scores with the more general IELTS exam. 

Remember that for your UK visa you will also have to sit the IELTS exam. UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) will only accept the IELTS for UKVI score for your visa, but they will accept a lower score of an overall 4. For those with less confident language skills, this may be a more achievable path.

Required Scores

OET – at least a grade B in speaking, writing, reading & listening for your NMC registration



IETLS – overall score of 4 or above for your UKVI visa application


You can achieve the required OET mark across two test sittings if all grades in both sittings are above Grade C+ and you achieve Grade B or higher in all four fields when the results of both sittings are viewed together. You must sit the tests within 6 months of each other.


Frequently Asked Questions


How Long is an OET Result Valid?
The length of time that OET results are valid is determined by the regulatory authority, government agency, educational institution or other organization that accepts OET results. To ensure they meet individual requirements, candidates need to contact the OET recognizing organization. In most situations, it is two years for registration purposes and three years for immigration purposes.

When and Where Can I Take OET?
OET is available once a month in over 40 countries. Visit the OET website to find a suitable location. []


How do I Apply for OET?
All applications are to be completed online via the OET website.


Taking an English Test for UK Visas and Immigration
Currently OET is not accepted for visa purposes by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). But nurses and midwives who’s English skills are less proficient could benefit from taking OET for registration with the NMC because OET is a healthcare-specific test, where test content is familiar and appropriate for healthcare professionals. In addition to the OET the applicant would need to take the IELTS for UKVI and achieve a minimum score of 4 in all parts.


When Will I Get my OET Results?
You will be able to view your OET results by logging in to the OET website and clicking on My Details, approximately 16 business days after the OET administration date.


Your official Statement of Results will be posted to the address found on your My Details page approximately 7-10 business days after the online publication of your OET results.


What if I already have an OET score? Can I apply as a nurse to the UK?
Yes, only if your OET result has no score below B. If there is, then a combination score is required. Also, IELTS UKVI will still be required for VISA application in the later stage of your UK application as a nurse.


What is a combination score for OET?
For the UK, 2 possible test results can be submitted to satisfy English requirement. However, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be taken within a 6-month window

  • Both sets of results should still be valid at the time of application

  • No score should be below C+ in any component including the Overall Band Score


Can IELTS and OET results be combined?
No. IELTS and OET results cannot be combined to reach the minimum requirement for the NMC. However a candidate can submit their successful OET scores for their NMC registration and lower IELTS score for their visa application.


How is OET different to IELTS General and Academic English tests?
OET tests real communication scenarios candidates will meet in the healthcare workplace, whereas general or academic tests assess English language skills using every day or academic scenarios. For example:

  • Writing - most healthcare professionals are required to prepare referral letters based on case notes as part of their regular practice, so this is one of the tasks that is tested in OET. 

  • Speaking - OET uses role-plays which test the healthcare professional’s ability to proficiently conduct a healthcare consultation with a patient or carer.


Which countries recognise OET as proof of English proficiency?
OET is used as proof of English proficiency by health regulators in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Singapore and Dubai for registration in 12 healthcare professions.

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