IELTS Vs OET - IELTS University (Singapore)


These days the number of language proficiency tests available to second-language speakers is on a rise. This is especially true for medical professionals who can now opt for the OET exam, which is specifically geared towards medical professionals like nurses or doctors. In this article, we will take a closer look at the OET and IELTS exams, so that you can decide which one is best for you.

Which Test Do Medical Professionals Need To Take?

Both the IELTS exam and the OET are accepted by regulatory bodies around the world. These tests assess the language skills of healthcare professionals and make sure that they are sufficiently capable to communicate with patients in English so that they can deliver the best possible medical care possible

What Is The Difference Between OET And IELTS

The IELTS exam assesses a candidate's overall language skills while the OET assesses your ability to communicate in English in medical settings only, by assessing your knowledge of medical English.

What Is the OET test?

  • The OET is necessary for those medical professionals who wish to obtain their medical license to practice in English-speaking countries like Canada or UK.
  • Just like the IELTS exam, the OET contains 4 sections, that assess the 4 major language skills, R, W, L, and S over a period of 3 hours.
  • There are 12 different OET tests, designed for different healthcare occupations for example doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.
  • The test is graded with scores ranging from A to E, with A being the highest grade offered.

The OET exam is only recognized by healthcare regulatory bodies in the major English-speaking countries, whereas the IELTS exam is recognized by immigration authorities, healthcare regulatory bodies, and universities across the world.

What Is The IELTS Exam?

The IELTS exam is a language proficiency test, that is used to assess the language skills of a non-native speaker in order to determine if they will be able to cope in an English medium in a higher learning environment. It is also accepted by medical authorities to determine if a person has the language skills necessary to practice medicine in an English-speaking country.

Which Test Is Easier?

Despite the many rumors that the OET is easier, it is simply not true. The level of skill needed (by the regulatory authorities) to score well in either of these tests is about the same.

Most healthcare writers say that the OET is easier, mostly because the questions present in the test draw heavily from their medical knowledge, skills, and vocabulary that said there is some merit to taking the IELTS  exam since it is more widely accepted on a global level and for a greater variety of purposes such as medical licensing immigration and higher education purpose.

In either case the basic skills needed to score well in either exam are the same, and you will most probably require outside assistance to prepare. This is not because your English communication skills might be lacking, but more because both exams require knowledge of special exam techniques in order to score well.