Defined by modern technologies, the field of healthcare is constantly changing, imposing medical professionals to adapt to the new demands and maintain an efficient communication with a wide range of patients. In recognizing such needs, the OET will be updated, with the changes becoming effective starting this September. If you are interested in taking the Occupational English Test and you would like to inform yourself with regard to upcoming changes, do not hesitate to keep on reading. The test has been updated, so that it responds to your needs and demands in the contemporary medical workplace.
OET updates – necessary in the present-day context
Both the test information and the preparation materials have been updated, with the changes coming into effect on the ninth of September 2018. The OET updates correspond directly to the healthcare sector; the new test promises a high level of relevance for the medical workplace, especially when it comes to communication between healthcare professionals and patients.
As a test taker, you can expect the number of the OET tasks to remain the same. You will also find the same test format and, as for the focus of the four sub-tests (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), this will remain unchanged.
In the past few years, we have witnessed the healthcare sector turning towards the concept of patient-centered care. Moreover, more and more people are discovering the benefits of medical travel, having to communicate with professionals who have a wide range of English accents. Advanced technologies shape both workplace and remote communication, forcing medical professionals to adapt.
The new OET will respond to all of the above-mentioned challenges. Each and every change is based on thorough research, so that the degree of relevance is not affected even in the slightest. In order to guarantee that it will remain not only relevant but also appropriate for the demands of the healthcare sector, trials with candidates have been conducted. Their feedback has led to the updates you are going to read about in the following paragraphs.
What kind of updates you will see in the new OET?
For the Speaking sub-test, you can expect to see an improvement whereas the diversity of communication skills is concerned. Even though there are no updates per say, you can expect the focus to be placed on the assessment of clinical communication skills. For example, you will have to be able to gather information from your patient and be able to determine how many facts he/she possesses.
The new Listening sub-test will require that you recognize a wider array of English accents. It will be shorter, lasting approximately 45 minutes but it will be greatly focused on the interaction between healthcare professionals. As in the previous OET, you will have to be able to identify essential information while having a conversation. The ability to understand what is being said remains the foundation of this sub-test.
|Part A||15 min||Two separate consultations between a healthcare professional and a patient|
|Part B||10 min||Six short dialogues or monologues in workplace settings|
|Part C||15 min||Two long presentations or interviews with health professionals|
The Reading sub-test will test your ability to extract and synthesize information from a written text, as well as how well you can comprehend health-related documents (academic or professional journals).As in the previous sub-test, you will be tested on the ability of extracting information from a conversation between medical professionals. The new sub-test will last for about an hour, including new tasks, such as responding to questions, matching test items and having to read a greater diversity of documents (policy, procedure documents, etc.). As in the previous OET, you will find the sub-test being relevant for a wide range of professionals.
|Part A||15 min||Expeditious (fast) reading task|
|Part B||45 min||Six short workplace extracts|
|Part C||15 min||Two long presentation passages|
There are no up
–dates for the Writing sub-test. As was the case previous in the OET exam, you will be required to write a letter, such as one of referral, discharge etc. You will have to demonstrate adequate writing skills, as well as excellent comprehension of the stimulus and linguistic features (grammar, cohesion, etc.). For obvious purposes, your spelling, punctuation and layout organization will be taken into consideration.
Updates have been made to the OET results
As you are probably aware, the OET score results are from A to E. However, candidates are often left with the need for more detailed scoring. In an effort to adapt to such demands, a more detailed scoring scale will be part of the new OET.
Starting with September, the results of the four sub-tests (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) will be reported as usual, with the A to E grades but also with an additional scoring scale, ranging from 0 to 500. The update to the OET results has been made with the purpose of providing detailed information to prospective candidates. The numerical score allows one to get a clearer view of his/her performance. These updates are valid from 9 September 2018, with registrations that open on the 21st of June.
New OET requires a thorough research
As a prospective candidate, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the mentioned changes. You need to research the new test structure and make sure you feel comfortable with it. Do not wait until the actual day of the test, as you will only be stressed about having to deal with the new version.
You can check out the new sample tests on the OET website, as these are going to be published ahead of the actual registration date. Be sure to check out our preparation packages and writing correction service.
A final word
Each change to the OET is made with the purpose of improving the testing quality and preparing you for the complex challenges of the healthcare sector. It is important to mention that, despite all of the mentioned changes, the level of English that is being tested will not change. All you have to do is familiarize yourself with the new changes and practice as much as you can. This will ensure the best performance during the actual testing, with excellent scoring.
You can check your exam dates here