What is the OET?

The OET (Occupational English Test) is a language assessment test designed specifically for healthcare professionals, such as – to give a small sample - Dentistry, Pharmacy, Radiography or Physiotherapy. It assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practice in an English-speaking environment. There are different tests for different healthcare professions.

OK. So, what is OET Nursing then?

The Nursing subtest is for qualified Nurses who need to demonstrate they meet the language requirements to work in the UK, and is accepted by the UK NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council).

But I thought Nurses needed to pass IELTS (Academic) to register to work in the UK…

That’s true - you can still take the IELTS (Academic) Test, and it is still very much accepted by the NMC, but now you have the choice between IELTS and OET for Nursing. The Nursing and Midwifery Council have recognised OET as valid for Nurses’ registration in the UK since November 2017.

Which is better then? IELTS or OET?

For NMC registration purposes both are equally valid, so from that point of view there is no difference. However, an IELTS pass is not specific to Nursing or Healthcare, and is a more widely accepted across a broader range of professional registrations: it doesn’t pertain specifically to (e.g.) Nursing, but as a measure of your ability in Academic English in a more general sense. Also, if you wish to enrol on a Master’s Degree, most Universities recognise IELTS Academic.

On the other hand, OET Nursing is vocational, and the test references specific Nursing and Healthcare scenarios. This allows you to draw on your professional experience to help you pass the test, and so can be a good choice if it’s been a while since you were last in an English language classroom.

What is in the OET Nursing Test itself?

Like the majority of English tests, OET examines all 4 language skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The Listening and Reading components are the same for all healthcare professions, while the Writing and Speaking components are specific to the profession you work in, so in this case – obviously – it’s Nursing.

What is the passmark?

The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council requires a B grade in the Listening, Reading and Speaking sub-tests, equivalent to CEFR C1 or IELTS 7 - 7.5. It requires C+ in the Writing, equivalent to CEFR good B2 level or IELTS 6.5.

B2? C1? CEFR? IELTS 7.5? What on earth are you talking about?

Yes, sorry. We know this can all sound a little confusing. There is more information on our website here Or, just give us a call, arrange a zoom meet or come in to say hello, and we will be happy to explain everything to you.

What level do I need to be to begin an OET Nursing course at Richmond English School?

To study on our OET Nursing course, you need a good B2 Level of English at the beginning of your course. To get an indication of your current English language level, please click on the link below to take the level test.

We will assess your current English level in more detail before admission to the course. It’s free and takes around half an hour.

When do the Richmond English School OET Nursing courses begin?

Richmond English School will be offering part-time OET Nursing Courses from January 2022, as well as 1 week (25 hour) intensive courses every month or two throughout 2022. The first intensive course will launch this year, in just a few weeks’ time, the week beginning Monday 3rd January, 2022.

Can I take the exam at Richmond English School?

We are not an exam centre, but there are a number of conveniently located exam centres where you can take the test in London, and there are usally exam dates at least once or twice a month. We will be delighted to help you research exam dates and make the booking if you need help. Just ask!

When can I find out more?

Contact Richmond English School via or call Tom Lockhart on +44 7808 765243 or have a look at

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