IELTS: It is a general English language assessment test and recognized in all the English speaking countries across the globe: UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA and many other countries

OET: A language assessment test specially designed for Health Care professionals migrating to New Zealand and Australia. The OET scores are accepted in Singapore as well.

So if you are a nurse trying to apply for jobs/higher studies in any country abroad, IELTS would be a better option because the test scores will be accepted in any country. If you have decided that Australia or New Zealand is the country of your choice, then you should do a fair assessment of both the tests.

Which test is easier to take?

In OET, as a healthcare professional, you can make use of your content knowledge, vocabulary, learning experiences… as it is specific to profession. This is the best advantage in OET.The speaking and writing test would be familiar to you as you would have faced a similar situation at work .You will need to write a referral letter for a patient for the written test.For the speaking test, you will need to interact with a patient(the examiner will play the role of a patient) IELTS is not profession specific. It is a test of your English comprehension and English communication skills. Since the IELTS is taken by students, professionals other than in the healthcare field, the content is more general in nature and taken from news journals and professional magazines. The situations given will be formal and may be unfamiliar to you. You will need to write an essay, analyse written data and write a formal letter, in the IELTS.For the speaking test, you will need to speak on some given topics as well as carry on a smooth conversation with the examiner.

If your English is good, then neither tests will be a problem for you.

Here is a quick comparison of both IELTS and OET tests:

IELTS: Total test time: 2 hrs. 45 mins.

OET : Total test time: Approximately 3 hours


IELTS:Time-30 minutes.

There are 4 recordings you need to listen to and answer questions on the recordings. There will be 2 lectures or monologues and 2 conversations.40 questions which are in the form of fill in the blanks, match the following, labelling, summary completion, sentence completion and many other types.

OET: Time: 40-60minutes.

In OET listening there are 2 parts.Part-A, note taking task (of a consultation between a health professional and patient) and part-B, fill in the blanks, MCQ’s after listening to a lecture


IELTS: Time: 1 hour Here, the candidate needs to go through 3 different lengthy passages which are all extracted from journals, articles, newspapers and answer different types of questions like MCQs, identifying writer’s views and claims, comparing information. Some sentence completion and note completion questions along with true and false questions may also be there.

OET:Time: 1 hour Here there are 2 parts. part-A, has 4 short texts and you are required to fill in the blanks to complete a summary of a given topic.Part-B needs you to read 2 lengthy passages and answer MCQs related to the articles. IELTS General reading is a lot simpler than Academic reading. However, candidates need to have a complete grasp of English to answer a few in-depth questions. Candidates need to practice answering questions from various comprehension passages in order to score well in the test.


IELTS:Time: 1 hour

There are two tasks. The test taker needs to analyse and write about a pictorial representation/graph of some data given. A picture of a machine may also be given and the candidate needs to write how it works. You are given 20 minutes for this task. In general writing test, you need to write a letter in response to a topic given. The topic will be formal, semi-formal or informal. The second task will be to write an essay. You will be given 40 minutes to write an essay on a given topic.

OET: Time: 45 minutes

In the OET, you will be asked to write a discharge/ follow up/ referral letter based up on the given case notes.

IELTS: Time: 15 minutes

This is a general speaking test which has 3 parts. The candidate will be asked to speak on general topics like family, home, interests, hobbies and in the later parts, speak on a particular topic given on a task card.

OET:Time: 20 minutes

approximately After a 2-3 warm-up session between examiner and candidate, there will be two role-plays where the candidate has to play the role of a nurse and the examiner would be the patient. They need to interact according to the given situation on the role-play card.


Both the language tests : IELTS and OET have different rating scales in order to grade the student’slanguageproficiency,. IELTS 0-9 band score, OET –A-E grade. Accepted scores are 7 and above for IELTS and B or A for the OET