English Language Tests
Overview of the English language requirements for the GMC
A fundamental part of the GMC’s registration is proving that you can clearly and efficiently communicate with both patients and other medical professionals in English- this is paramount to ensuring patient safety. English language use is split into four sections: speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
The GMC recognizes that there are various ways a doctor can demonstrate their English language proficiency and for this reason, they accept various forms of evidence- including the Structured English Language Reference (SELR) form. In this article we will outline all the in which you can evidence your English language skills to the GMC.
Evidence 1 – OET
The occupational English Test (OET) assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who seek to register and practice in an English – speaking Environment. It specifically tests your English language purely in a medical context.
The examination covers all four language skills with an emphasis on communication in a healthcare environment. To meet the requirements of the GMC, candidates must achieve a grade B in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) – all are in the same test sitting. OET grades are valid for 2 years.
Evidence 2 – IELTS
The second way to evidence your English language abilities is through the international English Language Testing System (IELTS). To pass IELTS you must achieve a score no less than 7 in each form of communication (speaking, reading, writing, and listening) and have an overall score of 7.5 or more. Please note that the GMC will only accept an IELTS score that has been attained within the last 2 years. However, if you pass IELTS more than 2 years ago, but can evidence to the GMC that your English language skills have not depreciated in the time since passing, they may still award you a license. Types of evidence that may be accepted include taking a postgraduate course which has been taught and examined in English or working in a country where English is the first language.
Evidence 3 – Primary Medical Qualification taught in English
Another way to evidence your language skills is to provide the GMC with a recent Primary Medical Qualification which has been taught or examined in English. The GMC that 75% of all clinical interaction within a Primary Medical Qualification must have been conducted in English, so please ensure you hold your degree from an approved medical institution before applying via this route, as with other evidence requirements, the GMC requires the qualification to have been achieved recently, if your qualification was not achieved within the last two years, then the GMC will alternatively accept evidence that you have been working in an English speaking country for at least 2 years. In this instance the GMC will ask your employing hospital to provide written references which include details of your role and responsibilities relevant to English Language.
Evidence 4 – Language test taken a native English medical authority
You can also provide evidence of a recent pass in a language test administered by a medical authority in a country where English is the first language.
How to successfully pass your IELTS exam
To register with the GMC, you are required to obtain an average of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7 in each category) in IELTS. Or you could obtain a Grade B or above in OET.
There are various ways to prepare for your IELTS exam and each individual person has a preferred revision technique to support their learning, however, we wanted to share some top tips to help you ensure that you successfully pass your IELTS exam.