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OET or IELTS - which is good for medical professionals? What is the difference between IELTS and OET

Updated: May 24, 2023

This article explains what is the difference between IELTS and OET? and their Similarities and you can decide which is better for you after reading this guidance article.

What is the difference between IELTS and OET?
What is the difference between IELTS and OET?

What is OET?

The Occupational English Test is an English language proficiency assessment test for healthcare professionals.

Doctors, Dentists, Nurses, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapists, veterinary sciences, and remaining healthcare branches can take the OET test.

What is IELTS?

International English Language Testing System a standardized language proficiency exam and a structured certification for the English language.

Anyone can take this test

Difference between OET and IELTS

  • OET and IELTS, both are accepted by GMC and NMC.

  • OET tests your ability to communicate in English in healthcare settings. It tests medical English which includes the ability to understand patients, discharge, refer a patient, and consultation

  • IELTS tests your ability to communicate in the English language generally. It includes academic English on general topics.

  • IELTS is recognized universally whereas OET is recognized in the UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Ukraine, and Namibia healthcare regulatory bodies.

Similarities between OET and IELTS

  • Both test your ability under 4 subtests - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

  • OET marks will be in grades - An overall score of B and a minimum B in each subtest is required for the PLAB exam. Grade B is considered as the advanced level of English by the Common European Framework of Reference.

  • IELTS marks will be in points. An overall minimum score of 7 - 7.5 is needed. For PLAB Exam, an overall score of 7.5 and a minimum of 7 in each subtest is required.

  • Both tests are valid for a period of 2 years starting from the date your results are released.

Which is better - OET or IELTS?

From my experience and data collected from colleagues and healthcare professionals, OET is better for healthcare professionals than IELTS.

Reason for this conclusion -

  • OET assesses the skills that you are already using in the healthcare setting.

  • Assesses how well you can communicate these skills in the English language.

  • Your preparation for OET will be helpful for you in the PLAB 2 Exam, which assesses your Communication skills, Interpersonal skills, and Time management.

  • Even though English is not your first language, you can still clear OET in the first attempt as it assesses the skills you already know and you need to practice a little more to improve your skills in English.

IELTS is also a good exam for health care professionals if your English is good and you are confident. IELTS is more affordable than OET (Half the price of OET). You can give two attempts within one-time fees for OET.

Comparison of the Exam costs.

  • The OET exam costs around $587. Application is done via the OET website.

  • The IELTS exam costs about $245.


It's important to note that the OET exam is specifically designed for healthcare professionals, while the IELTS exam is a more general English language proficiency test. So, depending on your career goals and needs, one exam may be more suitable or necessary for you than the other. It's always a good idea to do your own research and consider all factors before making a decision.

Some free sources and tips for OET and IELTS

  • Subscribe to this YouTube channel to practice listening - OET LISTENING TEST

  • I found the listening video pattern similar to the exam.

  • Join Telegram channels and Facebook groups, where you can find many free downloadable links and study partners as well.

  • Reading is the toughest part, try to focus more than it.

future land (writing & speaking)
Download PDF • 32.86MB

reading question papers
Download PDF • 24.29MB

OET Reading Answers
Download PDF • 219KB

Grade A letters writing subtest
Download PDF • 7.43MB

Speaking Summery
Download PDF • 5.94MB

Disclaimer: This is purely guidance from personal experience. You can still make further research and decide which is good for you according to your circumstances


Dr Deepika

Hi, I'm Dr Deepika Gupta

I'm a registered doctor, founder of Inspiring Minds aimed to inspire millions of students. 

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Creativity. Productivity. Vision.

Inspiring Minds is aimed to inspire students with thought provoking quotes and health tips to achieve success and still be healthy. 


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