Blogs > IELTS/OET - English Language Requirements / English Language Exams / GMC Registration

Overview of the English language requirements for the GMC

  • October 12, 2020

A fundamental part of GMC registration is proving that you have the ability to 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 recognises 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 of 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 practise 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. In order to meet the requirements of the GMC, candidates must achieve  a grade ‘B’ in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing) - all in the same test sitting. OET grades are valid for two years.

Evidence 2 – IELTS

The second way to evidence your English language abilities is via 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. You should note that the GMC will only accept an IELTS score that has been attained within the last two years. However, if you passed IELTS more than two years ago, but can evidence to the GMC that your English language skills have not depreciated in the time since passing, then 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 native 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 two years. In this instance, the GMC will ask your employing hospital to provide written references which include details of the your role and responsibilities relevant to English language use.

Further details on what is considered an authorised Primary Medical Qualification can be found here.

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 – for example, Australia (MBA) and USA (USMLE).

If you are an IMG who wants to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you!

Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor - and you can have access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and to meet other IMG's!

Originally posted: 13/09/2018
Updated: 12/10/2020


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