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IELTS/OET – What is the difference and why do you need them?

Have you been requested to provide us with an IELTS or OET?  

The Occupational English Test and International Language Testing System, also known as OET and IELT, are both internationally recognised English language examinations taken in order to gain insight on the proficiency of each individual candidate. These examinations are required in order to both practise and register in English speaking countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language exam that is taken by international candidates that are considering either working or studying in Ireland and other English speaking countries. 

The content of this examination includes the ability to write essays, follow lectures, discuss a wide range of topics and understand academic articles. 

There are two versions of the IELTS:

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. We would recommend taking the IELTS Academic. 

This examination is completed in the formatting of: 

Speaking: 10-15 mins. Reading: 60 mins. Writing: 60 mins and Listening: 30 mins.

The examination is graded 4 to 9 (highest).

OET (Occupational English Test) is another English language test that assesses the language proficiency of healthcare professionals who are seeking to register and practise in an English speaking country. 

The purpose of this examination is to test knowledge surrounding healthcare in the English language, therefore the content includes the ability to effectively communicate within medical situations and scenarios, have an understanding of a patient consultation, be capable of following a text taken from a medical journal and be able to write a referral or discharge letter. 

This examination is completed in the formatting of:

Speaking: 20 mins. Reading 60 mins. Writing 45 mins and Listening 50 mins

The examination is graded A (best) to E.

Both examinations are chosen by regulatory bodies to ensure that professionals in the healthcare industry, such as pharmacists, nurses, and doctors, have the language skills necessary to communicate effectively. There are four subtests on each exam that measure the abilities of speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

It is important to keep in mind that requirements vary depending on whether you are applying to be a student or a nurse. For example

In order to become a nurse the requirements are as follows;

  • For the IELTS the overseas recognition with the NMBI is 7.0 across three bands and no less than 6.5 in the remainder. This is the current standard being set in Ireland and is not negotiable.
  • For the OET the overseas recognition with the NMBI is a B grade across three bands and a grade of no lower than C plus within the remainder. This is the current standard being set in Ireland and is not negotiable. 

For the purpose of education and becoming a registered student in Ireland the requirements are as follows;

  • For the IELTS the requirements are at least 6.5 across all bands and no less than an average of 6. It is vital to remember that each university may have different standards for admissions depending on factors like student demand for a particular subject.