The Occupational English Test (also known as OET for Nurses) is an international English language test for the healthcare sector. It assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment.

Unlike IELTS OET is designed specifically for your profession nursing.

The OET for nurses is now accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of the United Kingdom (NMC) to prove that a general nurse with completed studies within the European Union has an adequate level of English to be able to practice Nursing in full safety.

what is oet test



The listening test consists of two parts. In Part A, candidates listen to a simulated consultation (dialogue) between a professional and a patient and are required to take notes under headings. In Part B, candidates listen to a health professional giving a short talk on a health-related topic and are required to complete a range of open-ended and fixed-choice questions.


The reading test consists of two parts. In Part A, lasting 15 minutes, candidates are asked to skim read 3 or 4 short texts and complete a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words. It is designed to test the reader’s ability to scan texts within a time limit, source information from multiple texts, and synthesise information. In Part B, lasting 45 minutes, candidates are asked to read two passages on a general healthcare topic and answer 8–10 multiple choice questions for each text. It is designed to test the reader’s ability to read and comprehend longer texts.


The writing paper asks candidates to write a letter, usually a letter of referral. For some professions a different type of letter is required, e.g. a letter of transfer or discharge, or a letter to advise a patient, carer or group. Candidates are given case notes which must be included in their letter.


The speaking test is in the form of one-to-one conversations with an interlocutor. It starts with a short warm-up interview about the candidate’s professional background. This is followed by two role plays. Candidates have 2–3 minutes to prepare for each role play. Role plays last about five minutes and is based on typical interactions between a health professional and a patient. The candidate adopts their usual professional role (e.g. as a nurse) and the interviewer plays a patient or sometimes a relative or carer. For veterinary science, the interviewer is the owner or carer of the animal.

Exam Fee

The payment for the OET for Nurses varies from one country to another. Presently there are limited test centers for OET for nurses across Europe but this is improving all the time:
The exam fee is charged in Australian Dollars
$587 AUD
Approx. €385.00

Required Documents

1 Credit card or payment details
2 Identification Document
- Identification documents must include a photograph
- If you are testing outside your country of origin you must use your original valid passport.
-Original documents must be used
- Documents must be valid on test day – expired documents will not be accepted
3 Digital passport photo

Frequent questions

+ What score does a nurse need to achieve in the OET for Nurses to register with NMC?

OET grade Description of ability

A Very high level of performance
B High level of performance, i.e. able to use English with fluency and accuracy adequate for professional needs
C Good level of performance; however, not acceptable to a range of health and medical councils
D Moderate level of performance; requires improvement
E Low level of performance; requires considerable improvement
EU general nurses need to achieve at least a B standard in all 4 elements.

+ Why do i need so high a grade in the OET?

Following the consultations started in 2003, it was decided that 7.0 in IELTS is the minimum mark that verifies an acceptable language level to pursue as a registered general nurse. A level B in the OET exam is the equivalent to a 7.0 in the IELTS exam.

+ I obtained a C+ in one of the OET for nurses elements. Can I still apply?

No. Each score must be at least a B. You can, however, combine 2 different test scores. You will need to have repeated the exam within 6 months, and achieved a level B in every element across the two sittings and not scored below a C+ in any element.