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IELTS and OET: English Proficiency Exam

The International English Language Testing System and the Occupational English Test, commonly known as IELTS and OET, respectively, are taken by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers to assess their English proficiency, ensuring that they have the appropriate language abilities to interact with patients and colleagues when they practice in other countries.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The IELTS has two types, the Academic and the General Training. IELTS Academic is part of the nurse application procedure in countries such as the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Below are the requirements:

  • US – 6.5 overall, 7.0 in speaking
  • Australia – 7.0 overall
  • New Zealand, 7.0 overall, minimum of 7 in each of the four tests

Occupational English Test (OET)

OET is more tailored for nurses, permitting them to demonstrate their English proficiency while working and living in an English-speaking environment. Countries such as the UK, US, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Dubai, and Singapore use this to evaluate healthcare workers’ communication skills.


Both IELTS and OET are recognized by the General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). OET assesses your capacity to communicate in English in a healthcare setting, while IELTS evaluates your entire competence in the language. 

The OET is divided into 12 categories for various healthcare progressions, graded from A to E, with a numerical store to identify your exact grade. It is recognized by healthcare regulatory organizations in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Ukraine and Namibia.

IELTS, on the other hand, is available in two forms (Academic and General Training), graded from 1 to 9, and is accepted all throughout the world for colleges, healthcare settings, immigration officials, and businesses.

Preparing for IELTS & OET

Start early.

Do not rely on your existing English proficiency. Familiarize yourself with the various sections of the test.

Acknowledge your flaws and improve on them.

Get your writing examined by your teacher or a fluent peer. Constantly communicate with others in English. Referred to as a fair copy, rewrite your essays after getting feedback. Take note of words or phrases that perplex you, and go through them over and over again until you understand the correct version.

Use practice tests.

Official sample exams are given by IELTS and OET websites. Taking as many sample tests as possible will not only help prepare you for the exam, but will also show you your strongest and weakest points. From there, you can focus on your areas of weakness.

Allow time to unwind.

Give yourself time to absorb all of the knowledge you’ve learned to help alleviate any anxiety being built up. Do not stay up late at night for last-minute cramming.


Regulatory exams like IELTS and OET ensure that healthcare personnel have adequate communication skills to be able to deliver appropriate medical care. Study for these exams well so that the whole process of your applications abroad go as smoothly as possible. 

Check out our partnerships with training centers that can help you prepare for these English proficiency exams.

Find open jobs on medpath here.

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