Blogs > IELTS/OET - English Language Requirements

What if I fail my IELTS exam?

  • September 26, 2018

Waiting for your IELTS test results is a nerve-wracking experience and sometimes it can lead to a disappointing outcome. If you, unfortunately, fail your IELTS exam it is likely that you will feel upset, angry and discouragement. However, in this post, we aim to provide you with the best guidance and support on how to pass your next exam – being one step closer to GMC Registration.

Step 1 – Relax!

Try not to panic! Although this is an upsetting situation it is important to remember that with the right steps taken you can ensure that you will pass your next exam.

Step 2 – Book!

After you have come to terms that you will need to sit IELTS again, you must remember to book another exam as soon as possible. IELTS exam dates can be competitive depending on your location so you want to ensure you can secure a convenient date. Remember to leave enough time for preparation!

Step 3 – Reflect!

After you have decided on your date it is important to go back to your previous test date. Think back, and ask yourself the following questions:

Did I leave some questions unanswered?

What module did I find the most difficult?

Did I spread my time evenly across questions?

Did I speak enough English during my speaking exam?

Step 4 - Prepare

Learning a new language is a time-consuming task and it will require much time and practice.

A common mistake amongst IMGs who sit IELTS is that they take the test with little preparation because they believe their experience speaking English will be enough to pass. However, when it comes to answering the question papers they then struggle. It is therefore vital to prepare.

Before you start your revision, it is important to make a revision timetable or plan. If you previously made a plan, then you should check your scores to see what worked successfully, what did not work and then make adjustments. If you did not make a plan, you should check your score to determine the areas you need to improve on. Tip – do not neglect your stronger areas whilst preparing for your weaker ones.  

Step 5 – Get an IELTS tutor

By paying for an IELTS tutor you will be taught by a highly qualified English specialist who will help you improve your skills in all four IELTS test areas. They will also give you access to preparatory courses, workshops, seminars and mock tests.

Please see a list below for course links:

British Council IELTS

London Course of English

IELTS for Doctors

Ways to improve your English language skills

  • Practice writing letters and essays
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Watch English TV and films
  • Speak in English with friends, family or work colleagues
  • Read news and magazine articles, journals and academic articles in English
  • Try IELTS Practice Tests

Have you tried OET?

On the 6th February 2018, the GMC introduced an alternative to IELTS named OET (Occupational English Test). The OET exam is specifically designed for all healthcare professionals globally who want to evidence their English capabilities.

The exam is available in over 100 locations and 40 countries, with a test date available every month. For details on which countries the OET exam is available click here.

From speaking to doctors who have sat IELTS and OET, most prefer OET due to the fact the questions asked are of a clinical context. However, OET is not as widespread as IELTS and it does not satisfy the Tier 2 visa requirement.

From 1st October 2019, a valid OET certificate is now accepted by the Home Office as a way to evidence your English language skills. 

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – Here you will have access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask relocation questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs!

Useful Blog Articles:

Overview of IELTS

Overview of OET


Overview of the GMC’s English Language Requirements


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