Occupational English Test (OET) is widely accepted now for all purposes of proving your English language proficiency as an international doctor lookinf forward to making your career in the UK. Starting from aplication for GMC registration to applying for foundation training by UKFPO also accepts OET as a valid test.

What is the OET?

It is an English language proficiency test which assess the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals. Which professionals, you ask?

  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Radiography
  • Speech Pathology
  • Veterinary Science

We are only concerned about the Medicine version (as that’s what is required by the GMC to get registered), which we will discuss about at length.

Where can I use OET on my road to UK?

That means pretty much everywhere.

If you are already working in the NHS in a non-training position (clinical fellow, trust grade doctor, SHO etc) and wish to apply for training, you can use your UK consultant’s testimony as a proof of English language proficiency.

Structure of the exam

Like IELTS, OET also judges your listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities but emphasizes a medical and healthcare aspect.

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking


The listening test has two parts and is about 50 minutes long. In Part A, you will have to listen to a simulated consultation between a professional and a patient. You must also take notes under appropriate headings.

In Part B, you will listen to a health professional giving a short talk on a health-related topic. You’ll then be required to complete a series of open-ended and multiple-choice questions.


The reading test also has of two parts and is an hour long. In Part A, which is 15 minutes long, candidates are asked to read 3 or 4 short texts and then complete a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words.

Part B is 45 minutes long. Here you must read two passages on a general healthcare topic and answer 8–10 multiple choice questions for each text.


The writing section will take you 45 minutes. What you are required to do is write a letter (usually a referral letter). You’ll be given case notes which must be included in their letter.


The speaking test will take you about 20 minutes. What will happen is that you must conduct a one on one conversations with an interlocutor. It will start with a short warm-up interview about your professional background. After this there will be two role plays.

You will get 2–3 minutes to prepare for each role play. Role plays last about 5 minutes and are based on the usual interactions between a health professional and a patient. You will be a doctor in the situation, talking to your patient, and you must make them understand or explain to them whatever is relevant from the role play task.

If you want more information regarding each section of the exam and what more you can expect, please look here.

Required OET score for PLAB & GMC Registration

You will need to get a ‘B’ in each module of the exam in order to be considered eligible in the eyes of the GMC. What does a ‘B’ mean?

It will take you about 16 days from the day of your exam to see your results via the online portal on the OET website. The official document will be mailed to you within 10 working days.

For further information regarding the results, look here.

How much is this exam going to set me back?

As this exam is Australian based, the cost is set in Australian dollar (AUD). As such, it will cost you $587 AUD (~ £332 GBP). The application portal allows you to see how much it will cost in your local currency. You can pay by credit card (only Visa or MasterCard) or by bank check or money order. If you opt to pay via bank check or money order, it must be in AUD and drawn from an Australian bank.

Required ID Documents

You will also need a digital passport photo along with a proper form of identification. If you are taking the exam within Australia, it must be a passport. Outside of Australia, however, you can bring your passport or an equivalent national identification card.

Another important point to understand is that the rule about national identification card will only work if you are taking the exam in your home country. If you are taking it outside of your home country, you must provide a passport. For instance, if you are an Indian citizen taking the exam in India, you may bring your Indian national identification card as proof of identity. However, if you are an Indian citizen taking the exam in Bangladesh, you must provide your passport as proof of identity.

Regardless of the form of identification you provide, it must be the original, and valid on the day of the exam. These forms of identification must include a photo.

When and where is this exam available?

The OET is taken 12 times a year in over 40 international centers. Please look here to find the dates you can book and if your country hosts the exam.

What to study for OET?

There are some free materials and sample tests you can find at the main website. There is also a link provided there for materials you can purchase. When you register for the exam, you also receive six weeks’ access to a preparation package known as Start for Success.

You can also look here for more OET materials.

2.0 Materials,

Listening Materials,

Reading Materials,

Writing Materials,

Speaking Materials,

OET Corrections,

Case notes & model letters,

Past Papers,

More materials.

If you are having trouble downloading files from MEGA in your phone, I suggest you use any standalone browser like Chrome, Firefox etc and open the desktop site. Click here to see how to download from MEGA in your phone using Chrome browser.


Let’s look at the comparison between IELTS and OET and UKNARIC below:

Top comparison points between IELTS and OET to note:

  • IELTS is cheaper than OET
  • IELTS takes place in more countries than OET
  • OET doesn’t take place as frequently as IELTS
  • Some might feel that preparing for OET is easier than IELTS, as it is medicine and healthcare related

Further discussion about IELTS, IELTS for UKVI & UKNARIC can be found here in English Language Proficiency for PLAB, GMC registration and Tier 2 Visa.

Frequently asked questions

I hope I have covered all the pertinent information regarding the OET exam. If you still have any questions or concerns regarding the OET and it’s usage for GMC registration, please check out our interactive session where it is further discussed.

Good luck!

55 thoughts on “Occupational English Test (OET) for International Doctors”

  1. Assalamu alaikum , if I use my NID for oet booking where the address is different from passport,will there be any problem in future for plab 1 booking?

  2. asif iftikhar

    None of the links for OET material seems to be working . Are there any other way to get them?

        1. asif iftikhar

          Thanks a ton doctor. Really appreciate the hard work you are doing for all of us IMGs

  3. Dear Doctor,
    Do we need to pass both plab 1 and plab 2 within 2 years of passing IELTS or OET for GMC registration? What all are mandatory to be completed within those 2 yes? Looking to hear from you. Thank you

    1. IELTS/OET has a validity of 2 years.
      If you want to use this one IELTS/OET for both PLAB 1 and GMC registration, then you will have to finish everything within it’s validity time.

  4. Hello
    There is no center for the OET in my contry .. I’m hoping to pass it in the UK, but currently I have no visa.
    I was wondering .. is it possible to pay the fees of the OET and not getting the visa ? I’ll lose my money in that situation
    What should I do ?
    Please answer me

        1. So it will be wiser to ask for a visit visa first, before booking an exam ?
          But if the visa will be refused, I will not be able to pass the OET !

        2. If you don’t book your exam, on what basis you will ask for visa? Application for a visa needs a reason first. Like you can’t apply for visit visa for PLAb 2 without booking it first. If you have worry about UK visa rejection then take it another country where you have less worry of rejection.

  5. I just want to know that for applying tier 2 visa, ielts ukvi pass needed or not..or if i pass plab 2.. Will enough for getting a job as doctor in uk.

  6. Hi. I am Dr. Cham from Gambia. Do I have to sit to the OET or IELTS if I have a written document from my school that I have satisfactory English proficiency skills? If yes, should this be before I sit for PLAB 1?

    1. You can use your primary medical qualification as a proof of your English Language Skills if you are from countries where the first and native language is English. Your medical degree:
      1. It is less than two years old when you apply for registration, and
      2. It was taught and examined solely in English.
      You’ll need to submit an original letter or certificate from your university or medical college that confirms:
      1. all of the course, including clinical activities, was taught and examined solely in English
      2. at least 75% of any course related clinical interaction, including personal contact with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals, was conducted in English
      3. the date you passed your final exam
      You’ll also need to confirm you’ve never taken the academic IELTS test or the OET (medicine version).
      If you sat your final exam more than two years ago you’ll also need to send original references from all your employers for the last two years confirming your English language capability.
      Read more here.

  7. Hello, i have a query regarding the UKVI and OET validity. On my first attempt i took the IELTS UKVI but didn’t get the required score for PLAB. Following which I’ve attempted the ONLY IELTS academic twice with no hope. So my question is ,
    can i use the ukvi TRF for visa purposes and attempt OET for PLAB ?
    Is there a requirement that the scores for visa purposes has to be the latest IELTS score or can i provide my first test score ?

  8. Dr. Fatema Mohammad Alam

    As-salamu-alikum and hi there. Great job with the website and thanks for all the information……I was wondering where the examination venue for OET is in Dhaka,Bangladesh.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. The Speaking sub-test a wider range of communication skills, more similar to those that you encounter at work, will be assessed in
      The Listening sub-test a broader range of accents will be introduced in
      The Listening and Reading sub-tests, tasks that reflect professional-to-professional communication, such as consulting with a colleague, will be added
      An additional and more detailed scoring scale will be included alongside your A to E results score so that you have a better idea of how you did

  9. If I, as a medical docror, I accompany my hudband who has work permit in UK, do i need TIER 2 visa to practice?

  10. Dr Mohammad Mizan

    OET score B in each module at the same sitting
    than PLAB 1…PLAB 2..GMC registration
    than UKVI IELTS.
    For visa for the doctors by this route do we need to apply TIER 2 visa only?
    How much score do we need in UKVI IELTS?

      1. Dr Mohammad Mizan

        Thank you for your prompt reply.
        One more question…
        Do I need IELTS UKVI only for TIER 2 visa application or conventional IELTS enough?
        Do I need academic IELTS or GT IELTS for that?

        1. I think you didn’t read the above link to another post I have given you. In that post it’s clearly discussed the difference between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI and what is required for PLAB, GMC reg and TIER 2 visa.
          But, here I’m going to tell you anyway.
          For TIER 2 conventional IELTS is NOT accepted. IELTS for UKVI is needed. As you will be coming as a doctor, it’s always a good idea to take the academic version. The requirement for TIER 2 is less than GMC registration.
          So to know the best option regarding IELTS for PLAB, GMC registration and TIER 2 visa please read here-

      1. And please if can tell grading criteria like out of 20 how many should b correct to get B grade in all section of oet thanks. ..

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