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Supporting you in achieving IELTS / OET success


The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and OET (Occupational English Test) are both used to test the English language of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals around the world.

Both of these examinations are chosen by regulatory bodies to make sure that healthcare workers have sufficient language skills to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues and deliver adequate medical care.

Although there are a few rumours that OET is easier to pass than IELTS Academic. This is not true.

  • The level required from each examination by Regulatory Authorities in the UK is the same.
  • This rumour seems to have appeared because many healthcare professionals who sat OET passed first-time.
  • This was not because the test was easier. It was because it assessed the skills that they were more familiar with.
  • Both exams contain four sub-tests: reading, listening, writing & speaking.
  • There is a large cost difference: OET costs approx. £320 and IELTS costs approx. £175.

English Language Proficiency

Both the IELTS and the OET exams are accepted by the NMC, GMC and HCPC



An academic English exam is most often used for entry into university. Four sub-tests: reading, listening, writing & speaking. Pass scores = C+ in writing and B in reading, listening and speaking.


An English language test for healthcare professionals. Four sub-tests: reading, listening, writing & speaking. Pass scores = 6.5 in writing and 7 in reading, listening and speaking.

English Language Proficiency

OET tests your ability to communicate in English in a healthcare setting, whereas the IELTS tests your overall ability to communicate in the English language.

While there are two versions of the IELTS exam (Academic & General Training) there are 12 versions of the OET for different healthcare professions, including nurses, doctors, 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 paper. OET is marked from A to E with an accompanying numerical score to show your precise grade.

OET is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council in the UK. Meanwhile, IELTS is recognised by universities, healthcare regulatory bodies, immigration authorities and companies across the UK.


Useful website links

Here are some useful resources to aid your research into the exam you wish to complete:

For more information on IELTS & OET support

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