Starting 1st November 2017, the Occupational English Test(OET), an English language test designed specifically for healthcare professionals, will be accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for overseas-trained nurses and midwives. This test proves their level of English proficiency for registration in the UK. It is profession specific, which proves to be advantageous to nurses and midwives as they would have faced similar situations at work.
As OET CEO, Sujata Stead pointed out: “What sets OET apart from other tests is that it is designed for healthcare. We use real communication scenarios, similar to the ones healthcare professionals encounter every day. For example, a nurse’s speaking skills will be assessed via a face-to-face role play using a typical nursing scenario, with a trained interlocutor who plays the part of a patient or carer.”
Besides this, the speaking and writing tests are different for each of the twelve healthcare professions that are tested, which means, for example, that the scenarios for nurses and midwives will be different to the scenarios for physiotherapists.
Already recognised by authorities in Australia, Dubai, New Zealand and Singapore, OET is run jointly by the UK’s Cambridge Assessment English (part of the University of Cambridge) and Australia’s Box Hill Institute. Overseas-trained nurses and midwives who are required to take an English language test to gain registration with the NMC need to achieve Grade B in all four OET subtests: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Earlier, OET was graded A, B, C, D, E. The new grading introduces C+ in order to provide clarity between C and C+ grades. This has been done to identify people who have the equivalent of IELTS 6.5, as previously grade C spanned the ability range of IELTS 5.5 – 6.5. Based on OET benchmarking studies to correlate OET with IELTS scores, the OET grade of C has now been divided into C+ (IELTS 6.5) and C (IELTS 5.5-6.0)
Statements of Results for OET tests taken between February 2016 and November 2017 will not show C+ since a distinction between C and C+ was not reported before this time. All those candidates who have taken OET between February 2016 and November 2017 can contact OET to confirm whether they achieved C or C+.
For a detailed report, please visit: www.nmc.org.uk/registration/joining-the-register/