How to Prepare for the OET Examination

November 2023

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a crucial step for healthcare professionals seeking to work in English-speaking countries. Success in the OET exam is not only a testament to your language proficiency but also your ability to communicate effectively in healthcare scenarios. To excel in this exam, thorough preparation is key. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to prepare effectively for the OET examination.

The OET exam is distinct in its focus on healthcare communication. It consists of four key sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.


In this section, test-takers are required to listen to a range of healthcare-related audio recordings. These recordings include patient consultations, workplace interactions and medical lectures. Test-takers are assessed on their ability to understand and extract important information from these recordings. They need to answer questions, complete summaries, and take notes, demonstrating their comprehension of spoken English in a medical context.


The Reading section presents test-takers with texts from various healthcare sources, such as medical journals, patient information leaflets, or hospital policies. They are expected to read and comprehend these texts, answering questions that assess their ability to understand and interpret medical information, including identifying the main ideas, details, and implications of the given text.


The Writing section evaluates the test-taker’s ability to communicate in writing within a healthcare context. They are required to write a letter based on a set of notes about a patient. The letter should effectively communicate the patient's condition, history, and the reason for the referral to another healthcare professional. It's crucial to use appropriate medical terminology and maintain a professional tone in this section.


The Speaking section of the OET is particularly unique and important for healthcare professionals. Test-takers engage in role-play scenarios with simulated patients or healthcare colleagues. They are assessed on their ability to communicate effectively in a medical setting. This involves taking a patient's medical history, explaining a diagnosis or treatment plan, or discussing a medical issue with a colleague. The ability to demonstrate empathy and effective communication skills is vital in this section.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you succeed in attaining the score you need on the OET exam.

Choosing the Right Study Materials

Selecting the right study materials is crucial. Textbooks, practice tests, and online resources can be valuable assets. Here are some recommendations for effective self-study and preparation:

The Official OET Website -

OET’s official website contains a lot of useful information regarding the test itself as well as sample tests and practice papers. There are also events and workshops held virtually that you can take part in.

British Council for Improving your Grammar -

The British Council’s website is a great resource full of explanations, examples and practice activities for improving your grammar.

NHS Website -

It might seem like a simple resource to use but the NHS’ website is a great resource to read in order to learn new healthcare-related vocabulary. A good tip is to start a vocabulary book where you write down all of the new vocabulary you learn as you encounter it. This will really help for all sections of the OET examination.

YouTube -

As well as the official OET YouTube channel, there are a lot of great YouTube channels that you can use to help you prepare for the OET. Some are certainly better than others though and our tutors can guide you towards the best resources to use between classes for self-study.

Preparing for the OET examination is a journey that requires dedication, focus, and a strategic approach. Understanding the exam, setting clear goals, and creating a structured study plan are all key, but nothing can replace the personalised experience of having a dedicated tutor. That’s where Babel comes in. We can help you build a study plan with one of our tutors that fits around your work and personal life, ensuring you have the best coaching possible to excel in the OET examination in the fastest time possible. Contact us now to learn more!

Alternative Description
Alternative Description


“I feel as the session has taken place two days before my first trip to China that this course will be extremely beneficial and help to ensure that I can create a good impression and avoid faux pas.”

Negotiating Effectively with China

Lakeland - Buying Team

"Initially I didn't think that it was going to be very helpful but the course was well structured and gave me many things to take away to improve my own practices."

Inter-Cultural Training


View all testimonials