Exams Know-how

OET Exam Pattern & Syllabus 2023: Section Wise Analysis

Yocket Editorial Team

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language capability assessment intended for medical services experts trying to work or concentrate in an English-talking climate. Perceived and confided in by administrative bodies, instructive foundations, and medical care associations worldwide, the OET evaluates up-and-comers' English language abilities in medical services setting. It is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the OET exam pattern to perform well. Candidates are evaluated on their capacity to communicate effectively in a professional healthcare setting through the OET exam pattern, which serves as a road map for candidates to follow through the various sections and tasks.

Table of Contents

What is the OET exam?

The OET exam, which stands for Occupational English Test, is primarily a test for persons entering the healthcare field to assess their English language skills. This test is intended for professionals who intend to practice medicine in an English-speaking nation or setting. The United States of America, Australia, Dubai, Ireland,  Maldives, Malta, the Philippines, Qatar, Spain, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Namibia all recognize the OET test as proof of English ability. 

The 42-question examinations use numerous communication contexts from the healthcare profession to examine listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities.

Suggested: OET Exam Dates 2023

OET Exam Pattern 2023: Explained

Healthcare professionals seeking employment in the healthcare sectors of the 15 OET Accepted Countries must take the OET test to demonstrate their English proficiency in a healthcare setting. 

The OET format consists of four subtests:

  1. Writing
  2. Speaking
  3. Listening
  4. Reading

These subtests include questions on tasks and circumstances in the healthcare sector.

1. OET Reading Test 




Part A

  • This part of the OET exam has some rapid reading assignments.
  • Assess your scanning and skimming abilities.
  • This OET format measures your ability to recognize critical information from four brief passages swiftly.
  • The texts are all about a particular aspect of healthcare.
  • There are 20 questions in this part.
  • 15 minutes

Part B

  • This test measures your ability to recognize six paragraphs' critical points or details.
  • Policy documents, healthcare rules, manuals, and internal communications are examples of texts asked to examine critically.
  • There will be a three-option multiple-choice question for each text.
  • This part has six questions.
  • 45 minutes

 (The time for Reading both B and C has been merged. You'll have forty-five minutes to finish both parts.)

Part C

  • This test assesses your ability to detect specific meanings and viewpoints in two texts.
  • Four multiple-choice questions must be answered.
  • There are 16 questions in this section.


2. The OET Writing Test

The OET Writing exam is one of four sub-tests that last around 45 minutes. The job is industry-specific and based on a real working scenario. 

The assignment is to compose a letter. This letter is often a referral letter, and it may include the following:

  • It might be a letter advising or informing a patient. 
  • It may also mean guiding a caregiver or group in Veterinary Science, Pharmacy,  Occupational Therapy, and Speech Pathology. 
  • Another objective can be to write a response to a complaint.

This writing activity will evaluate your English abilities as well as your competence.

Suggested: OET Exam Fees 2023

3. OET Speaking Test

The Speaking Subtest takes roughly 20 minutes for each student separately. This OET exam pattern uses materials explicitly designed for the appropriate profession. Each time a role-play is performed, the applicant plays a professional role (for instance, a nurse or a chemist), and the interlocutor plays a patient, client, or relatives of the patient or carer. In veterinary science, the interlocutor is the animal's owner.

A short warm-up talk about the interlocutor's expertise, identification, and professional checks is included in each Speaking exam. The applicant is then given three seconds to prepare for each round. Each role-playing session lasts about five minutes.

4. OET Listening Test

The OET exam pattern of the listening test is divided into three sections. There are various points that you must follow before taking the exam. 

  • These three sections deal with real-life healthcare scenarios and workplace discussions. 
  • You must answer 42 questions in total.
  • The Listening audio is forty minutes long, including breaks to enable you to type your responses.
  • Each recording can only be listened to once.
  • Note-completion tasks & multiple-choice questions are examples of question kinds.

The table below displays the Listening Exam Tasks & Duration.





  • Extracts from consultations 
  • This test measures your ability to recognize particular facts during a consultation. 
  • You will listen to 2 professional-patient consultations and respond to questions about what you hear.

5 minutes


  • Short snippets from the workplace 
  • This test assesses the capacity to recognize the detail, substance, or intent of brief excerpts from the healthcare workplace.
  •  You must listen to six recorded excerpts. 
  •  For each extract, answer one multiple-choice question.

1 minute


  • Presentation snippets 
  • This test measures your ability to follow along with a recorded interview. 
  • The recordings made are based on relevant healthcare issues.
  • You will hear two separate snippets.
  • For each extract, you must answer six multiple-choice questions.

5 minutes

Suggested: How to Register for the OET Exam?

OET Exam Syllabus 2023

 The OET exam syllabus consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each section has a different format and duration, testing different skills and healthcare topics.

  • The Listening section has three parts: consultation extracts, short workplace extracts and presentation extracts. It has a total of 42 questions.
  • The Reading section has three parts: a summary task, multiple-choice questions and a matching task. It also has 42 questions.
  • The Writing section requires you to write a letter based on a case note. You can choose from 12 different areas of healthcare, such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, etc.
  • The Speaking section involves two role-plays where you interact with an interlocutor who plays the role of a patient or a client. You can also choose from 12 different areas of healthcare for this section.

Final Thoughts 

The OET exam is a one-of-a-kind English proficiency examination that evaluates the language abilities of healthcare professionals who wish to work or study in countries where English is the primary language. The OET exam pattern includes four subtests: hearing, reading, writing, and speaking, each catered to the healthcare sector.

You may demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, and other healthcare professionals in various scenarios by completing the OET test. Many healthcare organizations and agencies worldwide see the OET test as a credible and relevant measure of your English language proficiency. If you wish to take the OET test, you can contact Yocket's counselors, who are always available to advise further and support your studies.

Frequently Asked Questions about OET Exam Pattern

What is the most challenging aspect of OET?

What is the OET pass ratio of listening and reading tests?

Can you prepare for the OET in one month?

What happens if you don't pass the OET?

What's the maximum age for taking the OET exam?

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