OET: A test which assesses language skill in a Health Professional Context
IELTS: A test which assesses language skill in an Academic or General Context (A large number of IELTS test takers intend on studying at University).

Which is easier/ harder?
If you have experience as a health professional either in your country or in Australia, New Zealand or an English speaking country or are studying for a Medical Degree in English language, then there are many advantages in doing OET as it will be specific to your profession and you can use your medical knowledge and vocabulary.


IELTS: 4 parts on General topics which get progressively harder. (perhaps easier than OET is some ways as you don't need to take as many notes but the topics are varied) .
OET: 2 parts. Part A is a medical interview which is a note-taking exam. Part B is a lecture on a health topic. Question types include gap fill, short answer, MCQ, table completion style. (many candidates say OET is hard, and it does requires good note-taking skills, but the topics have a medical focus so you can use your medical knowledge/vocabulary) .

IELTS: 3 readings MCQ, Gap Fill, True False or Not given questions on general topics .
OET: Part A: Summary Gap Fill; Part B MCQ on health topics. A similar in degree of difficulty but OET may be slightly easier once you become familiar with the test format due to the medical context.

IELTS : 15 minute structured interview on a general topic .
OET: 14~18 minute profession specific interview containing Health Professional-Patient role-plays. If you are an experienced health professional and confident speaker, then OET may be better as it easier to prepare for and reflects Australian work situations.

IELTS: 2 tasks, describing a graph or process & and an essay on a general topic. Not easy or much fun to prepare for!
OET:1 task, profession specific medical letter, usually a referral letter based on case notes. As in the other skills, you can use your medical knowledge in this section, and as it is only one task it is definitely easier to prepare for and succeed in than IELTS.

Here is an approximate guide to OET and IELTS scores.


To conclude, OET is not an easy test, but definitely passable if you are well prepared and that is what OET Online specialises in. So if you are planning to take the OET exam, check out our options for a course that suits your needs.

  • Please note, OET Online is a private education provider which specialises in preparation for OET. We do not offer IELTS courses. However, if you are looking for an IELTS preparation website and require a band score of 7 or above for IELTS, then OET Online highly recommends Yes IELTS.
Last modified: Saturday, 12 April 2014, 10:03 AM