Four main reasons why OET is so challenging, and how trainees can overcome the difficulty of the test.

An article from Sara Pakshir

Healthcare professionals looking for an opportunity in countries like the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, UAE, or Australia will first have to clear OET (Occupational English Test).

Since the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) approved OET, the number of healthcare professionals taking up the OET test has increased significantly. However, obtaining Grade B in all the sub-tests which most organisations ask for is not easy.

Here are some of the common reasons why candidates find OET difficult:

1. Not preparing enough

In reality OET is a highly comprehensive exam aimed specifically at healthcare professionals that require considerable preparation for all four subtests. This is in particular seen among those who believe they are proficient in English and appear for OET for the first time. Having a proper study plan for the preparation of OET is fundamental. Successful candidates are those who spend 2-3 months in preparation for the exam.

2. The over load of information

The over consumption of information often leaves candidates’ brain paralysed, and fail to comprehend what their next course of action should be. This is the reason why it is vital to create a solid study schedule, and get in touch with an expert who can rightly prepare candidates with quality learning material whilst constantly evaluating and monitoring them throughout the preparation phase.

3. Problem with pronunciation

One of the biggest challenges with the OET test is with regards to the listening sub-test. It can be quite difficult to pick out some individual words because of how they are pronounced. Mastering the pronunciation of a great number of medical terms and recognising them in running speech is essential to acquire a knowledge of phonetics and phonology, as putting patients at risk should be avoided at all times. Watching videos and exercises for medical professionals helps improve English pronunciation.

4. Managing the time

There is little time to complete the test. In particular if candidates are not good at smart reading and comprehension, the questions may seem more complex to candidates. Most of the candidates complain of not being able to manage the time because of the difficulty in comprehending and finding the answers. Regular OET practice and training to learn how to locate the answers in a limited time reduces the difficulty of the task.

I am Sarah Pakshir, OET Head Instructor. Since starting teaching over 20 years ago, I have helped hundreds of learners improve their English. I am specialised in teaching English for healthcare, and preparation for the occupational English language test. I am a British Council accredited Language trainer who seeks to support candidates during their preparation course despite challenging circumstances, and prepare them for the industry-specific tests.