Common with many other language proficiency tests such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test Of English Language As Foreign Language), OET (Occupational English Test) also has validity. However, how long is the OET score valid?
In general, OET test scores are valid for two years, and the recognition period seems similar across the 15 countries that recognize OET. If the validity expires, you may need to retake the test. There is no official explanation why OET results may expire. Still, it is sensible to reassess language proficiency frequently as it is a dynamic skill.
In this article, we explore how long OET scores are valid and why there is such a thing as a validity period. We also consider what to do if your result validity has expired and some questions about retaking OET.
If you need a quick walkthrough of the OET test as a whole, feel free to check out our Ultimate Guide here.
Are There Differences In Validity Period for OET Results?
In general, the validity period for OET results is two years, and there does not seem to be an exception in the countries that accept it. OET is accepted by medical boards and organizations in 15 countries and growing.
Currently, OET results are recognized by many medicine boards and organizations in 15 countries. These countries include:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
You may check out the full list of medical boards and organizations in these countries that recognize OET. (Source)
When reviewing the recognition details, these bodies have recognized the OET results for only two years. If you took your OET in July 2021, your certificate would be valid until July 2022.
Suppose you plan to use your OET test results to apply for university, immigration, or employment purposes. In that case, you may want to be clear about validity issues as you execute your plan.
Expired OET scores may not be recognized, and you may need to provide additional paperwork to prove that you have kept up with your English skills. Worse still, you may have to retake the OET altogether.
Why Is There a Validity Period For OET Results?
There are no official explanations from OET about why there is a validity period for the test. However, most major English proficiency tests, IELTS, TOEFL, etc., have a validity period. It made sense to reassess language proficiency frequently, as language skills are dynamic, and lack of use may result in reduced proficiency.
People may ask why English proficiency tests such as OET, IELTS, or TOEFL have a validity period. It does not help that OET has no official statement about this matter, which may have fueled the fire.
Some have even claimed that these tests were created as a money-maker to max out income for the test creator and administrators. However, there may be two points to explain why there may be a validity period for the OET.
First, validity periods for English proficiency tests are standard, with almost none of the major tests offering lifetime validity. For example, IELTS has a validity of two years, while TOEFL also has a validity of two years. Some may offer up to five years of recognition, such as the MUET (Malaysian University English Test).
Only one test offers lifetime validity – the Cambridge Certificate. However, the test may not be enough or suitable for medical professionals. OET may perhaps be easier.
READ MORE: Is the OET Exam Difficult?
Another thing to consider is why tests like OET have a validity period due to what it assesses, language. It is a dynamic skill and may require constant practising to maintain. ‘
‘Input and processing” skills such as reading and listening may be retained easier, but ”production” based skills such as writing and speaking may deteriorate without constant use.
On top of that, many candidates taking the OET do not use English as frequently as their mother tongue. This means there is a strong likelihood that the language skills acquired during the study and preparation for OET may have deteriorated after two years. This may even be obvious if the candidate lives and works in environments where English is not used frequently.
As a result, it makes sense to constantly reassess language proficiency over time to ensure exact measurements of language ability.
What To Do If Your OET Score Has Expired?
If your OET score validity has expired, you may first check with authority you are applying with to see if they allow you to supplement your results to prove that you have kept up with your English. If no such option is available, you may have no choice but to retake the test.
Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, our plans may not work. You may have planned first to pass the OET test and then apply for a place in university, a work visa, or certification to join a medical board with it.
However, things came in the way, and you now find yourself in a position where your test results have expired as you apply for your desired outcome.
When this happens, you may first check with the body you are applying to if they have avenues to supplement your results. At times, if the expiry is still not too long, these bodies may accept some form of proof that you have kept your English proficiency.
Consider submitting your OET candidate number and proof. The proof may be:
- A reference letter from a tutor stating that you have kept up with your English proficiency. The reference and tutor must have taught you for at least three months in a country where English is used as the first and native language.
- A reference letter from an employer stating that you have kept up with your English proficiency. The reference and employer must have worked with you full-time for at least three months in a country where English is a native and the first language.
However, if the body you are applying with does not provide any exception, you may have no choice but to retake your OET test.
How Many Times Can You Retake OET?
OET can be taken repeatedly and in a very flexible arrangement. Candidates can register to take only sub-tests if needed and then combine the best scores from all the previous tests taken. It is also offered 12 times yearly, meaning retaking the OET is easy.
OET is surprisingly a very flexible test system, which makes it rather convenient should you need to retake it. It is offered monthly, so you can sit for it by purchasing the test online.
On top of that, you may also sit for only a sub-test of OET. For example, if you think you can improve on your speaking and writing results, you can only retake the OET on those two subtests. You can even combine your results from your OET tests, provided they are still valid.
For example, suppose your first test has a higher writing and listening score. In contrast, your second test has a better speaking and reading score. You can take the highest scores from both tests and combine them to produce your best results.
However, if your OET test results have expired, you may have to retake all four sub-tests to renew your scores across all four skills.