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OET - Your Questions Answered!

It was only recently that the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) decided to accept OET as proof of English language proficiency for doctors, nurses and midwives wishing to practise in the UK. Before then, they had to sit for the IELTS exam so OET is new territory for lots of medical professionals and many of you won't know much about the exam.

Over the last few months, we have dealt with hundreds of enquiries and we have gathered some of the most common questions people ask when trying to learn more about the exam preparation courses. We sent these to our OET preparation specialist, Jo Krousso, who is currently teaching the courses at WSE. We hope you’ll find her answers useful and if you have any other questions, please contact our team on


Jo Krousso, our OET specialist

How long do I need to prepare for OET?
There is no specific timeframe; it depends on your current level of English. If you are at an advanced level, you are likely not to need too much language preparation, but you will need to develop the skills necessary for this specific exam. If you are at an upper-intermediate level or below (up to B2 level), you will probably need to do some additional language preparation. We run a range of courses of differing lengths and intensity, and our staff can advise you on the best option for your needs.

How do I know if I have the right level of English to pass OET?
For the GMC and NMC in the UK, you will need a grade B minimum in all parts of the test – this is C1 (advanced) level, or equivalent to IELTS 7. Our entry test can give you an approximate idea of your level.


What are the main differences between OET and IELTS?
The main difference is that IELTS is a test of academic English, so the topics and tasks are more geared towards academic study, whereas the OET is specifically designed for medical professionals. For example, the writing tasks in IELTS are to write a statistical report and an essay, whereas in OET it is to write a referral (or similar) letter about a patient. The OET listening part A is a medical consultation, and part B is a presentation on a medical topic, which should be more familiar to test takers than the range of topics and tasks in the IELTS exam.


Is OET easier than IELTS?
While we cannot say that it is easier, we have found that medical professionals feel more comfortable and familiar with the topics and skills in the OET than in the IELTS exam.  Additionally, OET is more a test of effective communication, rather than linguistic accuracy.


What type of courses do you offer?
We offer a range of full and part time courses of various lengths.


What is covered in the course?
It depends on how long your course is, but exam skills and strategy will be a key feature of all courses. For example, note-taking skills, reading skills, listening strategies. Longer courses will additionally focus on more language work. For example, colloquial expressions, formal letter conventions, word formation, tense usage.


Is it just doctors in the class?
The classes are currently a combination of doctors and nurses, as these are the professions who can use the OET at the moment. If more professions are opened up, we anticipate a wider variety of students.


How do you teach people from all different medical professionals in the same class?
The reading and listening parts of the exam are the same for all professions.

The writing and speaking are profession specific, but the skills needed are the same in all professions, so this does not present a problem. For individual work, profession-specific material can be given. As this is a test of language, not medical knowledge, differing levels of experience, expertise or qualification are not a factor.


My reading/writing/speaking is much weaker than everything else. Will the course help me with this?
The course will cover all skills, but if you have any concerns about a particular skill, your teacher will be happy give you additional advice and extra work.


Since launching our OET preparation courses earlier this year, Wimbledon School of English has helped a number of medical professionals to successfully pass the exam. Our next full time course starts on Tuesday 3rd April and if you'd like more info on this or any of our courses, please give us a call on 0208 947 1921 or email us on