Difference between IELTS and OET – Which exam should you take?

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Difference between IELTS and OET – Which exam should you take?

What is IELTS? 

Are you wondering what is the difference between IELTS vs OET and confused on which exam is right for you? Well , we have got you covered, in this blog we will answer all your questions regarding IELTS vs OET

IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is an English language test required for candidates wishing to move to English-speaking countries. The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are the most popular countries where IELTS scores are accepted for university admissions. IELTS assesses communication ability in four basic English language skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. IELTS is owned and administered jointly by IDP Education Australia, the British Council, and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS is divided into two categories: 

  • Academic: The academic module is for students wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.
  • General Training:This is for students wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country(Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study below degree level.

Why do candidates take the OET ?

The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language assessment for healthcare professionals. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is recognized by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the General Medical Council (GMC). 

The Occupational English Test is only for people who want to work in the healthcare industry. This test is administered by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, or CBLA .The OET test is widely accepted in many countries, including some of the most popular study destinations, such as Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. OET assesses all four language skills and employs test materials that simulate communication scenarios from the healthcare industry. Furthermore, this exam is tailored to 12 healthcare professionals, including:

  • Dentistry
  • Occupational therapy
  • Veterinary science
  • Speech pathology
  • Dietetics
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Radiotherapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Podiatry
  • Optometry


  • Both exams have four sections: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
  • Students are given a grade rather than a ‘pass’ or ‘fail.’ 
  • The General Medical Council in the United Kingdom, for example, requires doctors to have a B in OET with a B in each separate paper or an IELTS 7.5 with a minimum of 7 in each paper.
  • The Common European Framework of Reference considers a ‘7’ in IELTS and a ‘B’ on the OET to be C1 or advanced level English.

What’s the difference between OET vs IELTS?

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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test (OET) are both used to assess the English language proficiency of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals all over the world. Both of these exams are chosen by regulatory bodies to ensure that healthcare workers have adequate language skills to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues while also providing adequate medical care.

The GMC and the NMC accept both the IELTS and the OET exams; however, the OET tests your ability to communicate in English in a healthcare setting, whereas the IELTS tests your overall ability to communicate in English. 

  • Content

The OET’s content is related to the healthcare profession, and the tasks are designed to assess the candidate’s ability to effectively communicate with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals. The OET assesses  English knowledge in Healthcare Industry. This includes your ability to comprehend patient information, conduct medical consultations, and write discharge and referral letters.

The IELTS covers a wide range of topics, and the tasks are designed to assess the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a variety of contexts, including social, academic, and professional settings.The IELTS exam generally assesses academic English

  • Varieties

While the IELTS exam has two versions (Academic and General Training),

The OET has 12 versions for various healthcare professions such as nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, veterinarians, speech pathologists, dieticians, physiotherapists and radiographers.

  • Grading

Both tests are graded on a scale of 0 to 9, but the results are reported in different ways. Candidates in the OET are graded on a scale of A to E for each sub-test, with A being the highest and E being the lowest. Candidates in the IELTS receive an overall band score ranging from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest.

IELTS is marked out of 9 with a separate score for each paper. OET is marked from A to E with an accompanying numerical score to show your precise grade.

  • Recognition

The validity of the two exams varies depending on their purpose. 

The OET is designed specifically for healthcare professionals and is recognised by regulatory healthcare bodies in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a more general exam that is accepted by academic institutions and employers in over 140 countries.

  • Test Format 

The OET is divided into four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each sub-test is tailored to the healthcare profession, and the tasks are based on real-world scenarios that healthcare professionals may face in the workplace. 

Format of OET 




Reading (60 minutes) The reading section contains three parts:

  • Part A – four related but different short texts on a single topic.
  • Part B – six workplace texts, short in length.
  • Part C – two long texts based on general healthcare topics.
Reading for gist and main ideas, understanding different texts on health and healthcare sector related topics.
Listening (50 minutes) Contains three parts:

  • Part A – excerpts from two consultations between a patient and a doctor.
  • Part B – six workplace excerpts, like handovers and team briefings.
  • Part C – two healthcare professionals’ presentations. All these are set in a general context of the medical sector.
Understanding and following a range of various healthcare-related materials.
Speaking (20 minutes) Contains two parts:

  • Part 1 – interview process on the professional background.
  • Part 2 – two role plays conducted in profession related scenarios. Candidates get 2-3 minutes to prepare for the role play. The role play further lasts for around 5 minutes.
Explaining, describing, and discussing real-life matters, providing conversation structure, and communicating effectively and efficiently.
Writing (45 minutes) Read case notes and then write a letter. Topic can be related to any profession, like doctor, nurse, etc. Expanding notes into descriptive sentences, writing effectively and clearly on health-related subjects

The IELTS also includes four sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, but the tasks are more general and are designed to assess the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in everyday situations.

Format of IELTS

IELTS sections



Reading (60 minutes) 3 lengthy texts drawn from journals, newspapers, magazines, and books. These texts can range from discursive to descriptive, factual to analytical in nature.  Understanding logical argument, purpose and attitude, and reading for specifics, gist, and ideas.
Listening (30 minutes) Four recordings in various accents, totaling 40 questions. Two of the four recordings are based on everyday situations, while the other two are based on academic situations. Understanding and following the development ideas, as well as understanding opinions, major ideas, and detailed factual information.
Speaking (11-14 minutes) There are three parts:

Part 1: Answer basic questions about work, family, and other general topics.

Part 2: Presentation without the use of prompt cards.

Part 3: Discuss abstract issues and ideas related to the topics covered in Part 2.

In everyday situations, communicating ideas and opinions, speaking at length on a given topic, justifying and expressing opinions, discussing, speculating, and analysing various issues.
Writing (60 minutes) There are two tasks in the writing section:

Task 1: Create a report based on data or information presented in a graph, diagram, or chart. Candidates should write this in no more than 150 words.

Task 2 – write an essay in response to an opinion or argument on a given topic. This should be written in no more than 250 words.

Writing a well-organized review, providing examples and evidence, and writing in a formal style all require precise summarization and description of opinions, ideas, and information.


  • Declaration of results 

OET declares results in 16 business days, whereas IELTS declares results in 13 Calendar days. 

  • Conducting Body

Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment Trust (CBLA) administers OET, while IDP Education Ltd and British Council administer IELTS.

  • Preparation Infrastructure 

At Triumph Hub we employ a totally different and unique approach .

Our first step is to assess the students and then give them a mock test to determine their level of English. After assessing, we assess which part is weak. If they are not strong in grammar, we assess them for it, and then we begin training. 

In each section, we assign an individual trainer to train the students to be precise for grammar, writing, reading, and speaking. We assigned different trainers to train the students for both the IELTS and the OET exams, giving equal attention to all sections and assisting them personally. 

Moreover, we provide individual training to all students, no group classes, and we have everyday reading, writing, and speaking sessions, followed by a comprehensive test once the training is finished. Based on that, we advise our students whether to sit for the exam or wait one or two months.

  • Fees Structure 

IELTS Exam Fee

The IELTS exam costs 16,250 in both computer based and paper-based modes. Both the Academic and General Training versions have the same fees. For each new IELTS attempt, you must pay $16,250.

The fee for the UKVI type (UK Visas and Immigration) is $16,500. The IELTS Life Skills exam costs £15,350. If you want to retake, cancel, or reschedule the test, you will be charged extra.

OET Exam Fee

The cost of the OET exam is $587 AUD. The equivalent of this in Indian currency is INR 33,632.

  • Number of test takers 

In the previous year, over 3 million people took IELTS, compared to tens of thousands who took OET. This reflects the global Higher Education market’s size and reach on the one hand, and the OET’s specialized nature on the other.

IELTS vs. OET: Which is Easier ?

Candidates who are wondering whether the OET is easier than the IELTS should know that no test is easier than the other. The required level from both of these exams by a country’s regulatory authorities is the same. 

Healthcare professionals, on the other hand, may be more familiar with OET because they have been associated with the healthcare field for a long time. 

The IELTS test, on the other hand, examines a variety of topics and may not include questions about healthcare. As a result, OET is becoming more popular among healthcare professionals.

While both exams assess individuals’ English language proficiency, it is critical for candidates to understand the differences between OET and IELTS before applying for the test. 

It is also critical to understand the admission requirements of a specific university because universities frequently prefer one exam over another. Candidates should keep in mind that, whereas the OET exam evaluates healthcare professionals, the IELTS exam covers a broader range of topics and has a more general student base.

We provide the best IELTS and OET coaching in Coimbatore and we are also ranked as the best IELTS Coaching Center in Coimbatore.

Contact us right away, and we will make your study abroad dream come true.


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