News - Specialist Language Courses

OET on Computer vs OET on Paper

OET candidates can now choose to take either the paper-based or the computer-based version of OET Medicine and OET Nursing. Test centres around the world offer one or both versions.

The actual test is the same. The same questions, the same format, the same timings, the same dates, the same price.

The key differences are in how you engage with the test, in the availability of the test and in how widely computer-based OET is accepted by national regulators in different countries.


Here is a list of the most important differences between the paper-based and the computer-based versions of OET.

  1. Most obviously, you write your answers with a pen in the paper-based test, whereas you type your answers in the computer-based version.

Computer vs Pen and Paper

  1. In the Listening test, you listen through headphones in the computer-based test. This may happen in some paper-based test centres, but many play the audio through loudspeakers.


  1. In the paper-based version of OET, the Speaking test takes place face-to-face with an interlocutor at the test centre. However, in computer-based OET, the Speaking test is conducted with an interlocutor from your home on Zoom. For this, you will need a desktop computer, laptop or tablet – with a webcam of course.


  1. Currently, the computer-based test is only available for OET Medicine and OET Nursing. If you want to take OET for one of the other professions, such as OET Pharmacy or OET Radiography, then you need to sit a paper-based test.

Reach OET B Medicine Reach OET B Nursing

  1. OET on computer is currently accepted by the General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK, and by the ECFMG for doctors wishing to work in the USA. This may change, so candidates should check with the regulator in the country they want to work in before choosing which test to take.


Preparing for both tests

SLC offer a wide range of preparation options for OET Medicine and OET Nursing candidates who are preparing to take either the paper-based or computer-based tests.

Preparation includes the Reach OET B self-study course, practice test papers, writing corrections from the SLC academic team, and lessons with expert OET teachers.

OET Preparation Courses for Doctors

OET Preparation Courses for Nurses



Written by Chris Moore

Chris works on SLC’s strategic direction, product development, course design and key partnerships with organisations including Health Education England, NHS Trusts and medical universities worldwide. He ensures that the work SLC does with healthcare professionals and students has a significant and lasting impact on patient care, medical research and international projects. Chris has worked in specialist English language training since graduating from Cambridge University in 1989 in teaching, academic management and commercial roles. In 2012, he founded SLC to provide training and resources to those who need to communicate in English in critical environments, using technology to reach learners around the world. Chris is also Trustee for Eaquals, the world’s leading international accreditation body for language teaching.

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