Specialist Language Courses

Discover OET Seminar and Workshop – some Reflections

We’re delighted to report that the Discover OET seminar and workshop was a resounding success.

Where else in the world of English Language Teaching could you find a room packed with so many different people and organisations? Among the attendees there were representatives from medical universities from different parts of Europe (including Italy, Germany, Poland and Romania), NHS Trusts, private healthcare providers, policy experts from the GMC and NMC, international healthcare recruitment companies, English language schools, online trainers, the European Association for Medical English teachers, test centres, digital materials providers, publishers and booksellers, not mention OET itself.

The sheer variety present and the engagement with what the speakers were saying shows the impact a high-stakes, profession-specific test such as the OET is having on so many parties. Clearly the recent acceptance of the OET by the NMC and GMC for nurses and doctors wishing to register in the UK has significance – not only for the individuals concerned, but for those recruiting, employing, regulating, training and testing them.

Simon Beeston, UK and Ireland Stakeholder Director for OET, highlighted in his talk how the test had been developed specifically with and for medical professionals. This is reflected in the content and tasks in the test – from listening to consultations, reading and taking notes on medical texts, writing referral letters, or participating in roleplays with patients.

The latter was brought to life by Bethan Edwards and Jo Langford from the SLC Academic team, who involved attendees in an OET Speaking Test roleplay on whiplash. Attendees were able to see how the content of the OET has been designed specifically to scenarios professionals may encounter at work. They got a clear idea of the kind of language candidates need to deploy in the test and the attendant challenges, not only linguistic but also cultural and behavioural as they sought to listen to and reassure an upset patient.

Although the OET is not a new test – it has been used by healthcare regulators in Australia for over 20 years – it still remains largely unknown in the UK. However, with the recent decisions by the NMC and GMC, interest in the test has suddenly escalated. International House London, the seminar hosts mentioned that in November there was one candidate for the test, whereas now they are delivering hundreds every month across their test centres.

At SLC, given our background in Medical English and the work we have historically done for NHS Trusts and private healthcare groups, we’re naturally delighted with the decision to recognise OET. We have run a number of early OET preparation courses for nurses and doctors, preparing them for the test. The feedback has been very positive, with participants stating that they felt highly motivated by studying language that felt both familiar and meaningful. Our trainers – trained and using materials developed as part of the OET Premium Preparation Provider programme – have also found learners to be engaged, hard-working and keen to succeed.

The early results have also been positive, something International House also highlighted. We were able to share the scores achieved by a group we prepared for the test on behalf of OET. Nurses based in the UK, India and the Philippines were taught in an online classroom on a course consisting of 100 hours’ tuition over 10 weeks. Six of the eight participants took the test in April and five of them achieved the four Grade Bs required by the NMC. Attendees at the seminar agreed that this was tremendously encouraging and a sign that the OET is the right test for overseas medical professionals aiming to register in the UK and help fill the thousands of vacancies across the health service.

Want more information about SLC’s OET courses and study materials? Please contact Peter Rodway on peter@specialistlanguagecourses.com or use the form below.

The Discover OET Seminar and Workshop was held on May 18th, and co-hosted by SLC, International House London and EALTHY, the European Association of Language Teachers for Healthcare.


Online Learning vs Face-to-Face


SLC Zoom Portal

Online language learning has become immensely popular in the last decade. The opportunity to develop language skills via an app, website or online tutor is very attractive, as it removes the need for learners to spend time and money travelling to a school or college – lessons can happen anywhere with an internet connection. However, a real concern is that online courses take away the human element of teaching and learning and prevent students from developing the rapport with their tutors that is so crucial to language acquisition. Fortunately, online courses conducted in real time combine the best aspects of both methods to create a study environment that is comfortable and intimate while maintaining high academic standards and promoting student-centred learning. (more…)

OET September Update – Exam Changes

OET Premium Provider of OET Test Preparation courses

The OET September update: what you need to know

The OET exam on 9 September 2018 will be the first to feature several updates that will make the test more current, relevant and effective. The changes reflect the latest research and the feedback of candidates, experts and the many organisations that work with OET. The new test will not differ enormously from the present version, but it’s important for anyone preparing or applying for the test – or thinking about it – to understand the changes.


New Course: Reach OET B Medicine

SLC is delighted to announce the release of its latest online Medical English course, Reach OET B Medicine.

Reach OET B Medicine is a 50-hour course, specially designed for doctors who want to achieve Grade B in the international Occupational English Test (OET). Following the GMC announcement in February this year, OET is now accepted as proof that doctors wishing to work in the UK have the requisite English language skills to work in an English-speaking environment.


OET Medicine now accepted by GMC – OET for Doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC), the UK’s official registration body for medical practitioners, is now accepting the Occupational English Test (OET) as proof of English language ability for doctors from other countries. This means that overseas doctors can satisfy the language requirement of registration with the GMC by taking an exam designed to test medical English, with texts and scenarios that reflect those they encounter at work, rather than a general or academic English exam.


What is the difference between IELTS and OET?

Both IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and OET (Occupational English Test) are used to test the English language of healthcare professionals in different parts of the world.

They are chosen by regulatory bodies to ensure doctors, nurses and other professions have sufficient language skills to communicate at a high level with patients and colleagues, and so ensure safe and effective care.


OET Premium Provider of OET Test Preparation courses

What is the Occupational English Test (OET)

The Occupational English Test (OET) is used in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore among others to assess the Medical English skills of a wide range of international healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and AHPs. (more…)

SLC Article on IELTS for Nurses in National Health Executive Magazine

NHE article IELTS for Nurses

We’re delighted to have had an article published in the National Health Magazine focusing on how the IELTS 7.0 requirement is impacting on recruiting nurses from the EU.

Given the triggering of Article 50 and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the status of EU workers, the impact of this challenging language requirement is harder than it would have been otherwise, further squeezing a declining supply of international nurses at a time of significant shortages across the NHS.


New SLC IELTS Prep Course at Cambridge University Hospitals

IELTS for the NHS

SLC is delighted to be starting a new IELTS Preparation course for nurses at Cambridge University Hospitals today. CUH is renowned both in the UK and internationally, not only for its excellent care but also for its outstanding academic research work. We wish everyone the greatest of success!

For more information on our IELTS preparation courses designed specifically for nurses and doctors, using the latest in blended learning methodologies, please contact our team, visit the dedicated webpage or just pick up the phone and call us on 01273 900213.