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One English language test for your GMC and Tier 2 visa

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 12, 2019

Previously, as an international doctor relocating to the UK, you would have needed to evidence your English language skills at two stages of the relocation process. The first stage was for your GMC Registration. The GMC accepts the following English language tests: IELTS Academic IELTS Academic UKVI OET The second stage you would need to evidence your English language skills was for your Tier 2 Visa. The Home Office accepted the following: IELTS UKVI UKNARIC Certificate However, from the 1st October 2019, you will no longer need to sit a separate test for your Tier 2 visa or obtain a UKNARIC certificate – you can use your OET or IELTS Academic certificate. OET was accepted by the GMC nearly two years ago so, it is an absolute delight for doctors to now be able to sit one single test for both their GMC Registration and their Tier 2 visa application. The Home Office has announced: “The Home Office has also streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa. This change will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly.”  Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 35 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Dongaonkar, K., Coleman, M. and Coleman, M. (2019). Only one test now required for both registration and visa purposes | OET. [online] OET - Occupational English Test. Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). Expansion of the shortage of occupation list. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2019].

What if I fail my IELTS exam?

By Gabrielle Richardson
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 IELTS UKVI / UKNARIC Overview of the GMC’s English Language Requirements

Overview of the English language requirements for the GMC

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 13, 2018

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 - IELTS The first 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 2 – OET Similar to IELTS, the Occupational English Test (OET) is an objective professional English test. The main difference is that it tests your English language purely in a medical context. From 1st October, OET is now a formal way to evidence your English language skills to the Home Office when you are applying for your Tier 2 visa. 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!

So you have decided that the UK is for you

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 30, 2018

Hello IMG friends! This blog post is going to provide you with an outline of the process for an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK. Moving to the UK has many advantages, as explored in our previous blog post. However, we fully understand that the process can be complex and confusing. Therefore, this article aims to simplify the entire process and will provide a step by step guidance for an IMG who wants to relocate. You should note that the process order will differ dependent on your personal circumstance, so get in touch with one of our Specialist Recruitment Consultants at [email protected] and they will be able to advise you on the best pathway to take. Generally, below are the following steps that an IMG will have to take in order to come and work in the UK: English Language Qualification - If you are relocating from a country where English is not the native language, the UK’s General Medical Council require you to sit an English Language test. There are two English language tests accepted, IELTS Academic and OET.             From 1 October 2019, the UK Home Office now accepts valid OET, IELTS Academic,                     IELTS Academic UKVI and UKNARIC certificates. Postgraduate Qualification – This qualification must be recognised by the GMC. To find out if you have an approved GMC postgraduate qualification contact us at [email protected], as again there are various routes to take depending on your situation. If your qualification is not recognised you will then be required to take the Professional and Linguistics Advisory Board UK (PLAB) Part 1 and 2 exams. This exam will test your English knowledge in a medical context. But for European doctors if you qualified in a European institution then your postgraduate qualification will automatically be recognised by the GMC and you will not be required to take PLAB.   Job Search – For many Doctors once they have received their English language and postgraduate qualification the job search begins. Once you are at this stage get in touch with us as we will be able to pair you with a Specialist Recruitment Consultant who will be able to provide you with exclusive roles and then organise interviews for you.   GMC Registration Process – Once you have an English language and post graduate qualification you will be eligible to register with the GMC for a license to practice. At this stage visit the GMC’s website and locate all the required documentation they require, then you can begin your application process and upon submitting you will be required to pay a fee.   Job Offer – After you have been offered a position you can apply for a Visa to work in the UK and organise an ID check with the GMC.   Relocation – When an ID check date has been confirmed, you can begin booking flights, organising accommodation and schools if you have children – all of which we can assist you on. English Language Qualification IELTS From our experience, we believe the first step that should be taken is to ensure that you have English language testing which is approved by the GMC. The most popular language exam IMG’s tend to take is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The exam covers the four key language skills in general English: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Doctors must achieve an overall score of 7.5 (with a score no less than 7.0 in each section of the test). Further information on IELTS can be found on their website at: OET On the 8th February 2018 the GMC announced that they would also accept the Occupational English Test (OET) as an alternative test to prove your English language skills. OET recognise that limited language proficiency is an obstacle to effective communication which affects the quality of care. Thus, OET is designed to replicate the critical tasks of the healthcare workplace setting and the test measures a Doctor’s abilities through the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. The score required is four B’s and the scores must be achieved at the same exam sitting. Currently we are seeing many doctors who are now attempting OET as they have struggled to reach the required scores within IELTS; however it is too early for us to give a definitive answer as to the pass rate for OET in comparison to IELTS. Nevertheless, we will be collating this information as we go along and we will then be able to advise which test is better once we have the data. It is also important to note that the OET exam is significantly more expensive than IELTS; it is limited in the number of global test centres and the frequency of exams available. Further information on the OET exam can be found here: Recognised Postgraduate Qualifications The next stage of the process is to ensure that you hold a GMC approved postgraduate qualification. If you hold one of the following qualifications and it has been obtained in the last three years, then it is important to note that you will not be required to sit the PLAB exams, but you will need to have an approved IELTS score. However, if your postgraduate qualification is on the list but it was obtained more than three years ago, then you will be required to submit additional evidence to the GMC, which demonstrates that the level of practice you have delivered has continued to be in line with the associated qualification. As previously mentioned, if you are unsure as to whether your qualification is recognised then do not hesitate to get in touch with us. A list of GMC approved postgraduate qualifications can be found here: PLAB If you do not have a recognised GMC postgraduate qualification then you will have to sit the PLAB exam. PLAB is an English language test that is focused on practicing English in a medical setting. The test assesses your ability, as a doctor, to work safely as a clinician in a UK NHS hospital. This certificate is broken into 2 exams: PLAB Part 1 is a 3 hour long exam with a paper containing 200 single best answer (SBA) questions PLAB Part 2 is a 14-station objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) Before sitting the PLAB exams you must already have successfully completed your IELTS exam, but please do not assume that because you have passed the IELTS, you will pass the PLAB. This test is harder and will more than likely require some study - there are a number of independent companies that can assist you in preparation for the PLAB exams, as well as study resources which can be purchased online. Please speak to your Recruitment Consultant for more information. Bespoke Job Searches Although you will not be able to begin employment until you have received your licence to practice from the GMC, once you have completed your IELTS and PLAB exams (if applicable) we will then be in a position to start the job search and begin to arrange interviews for you with our clients. Many of our clients will be happy to interview and offer a position after a telephone and/or Skype interview – which means we are often able to secure an offer of employment without the need for a face to face interview and you needing to travel to the UK. BDI offer a bespoke job search so you do not have to. Part of this process for us includes: Speaking directly to Lead Consultants, Clinical Directors and Department Managers to ensure that your CV is reviewed directly by a clinician. This is because often direct applications are often disregarded by an administrator before reaching the potential employer. Provide exclusive roles: we often have access to jobs which are not actively advertised. Detailed understanding of your specialty: Our Specialist Recruitment Consultants are all trained to be knowledgeable in a wide range of niche specialties. For us it is important to know what your research interests and sub-specialties are to locate the perfect position for you to continue your professional development. We will also negotiate your salary with our client to ensure you receive the best package possible. General Medical Council (GMC) Once you have your English Language Qualification and a hold a recognised postgraduate qualification you will be eligible to register to the GMC to receive a licence to practice which is required by anyone who wishes to practice medicine in the NHS. The GMC are responsible for protecting NHS patients and to improve medical education and practice across the UK, namely by: Deciding which doctors are qualified to work in the UK and oversee all UK medical education and training Set the standards that doctors need to follow and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers Take action to prevent a doctor from putting the safety of patients or the public’s confidence in doctors at risk From experience registering with the GMC is the most time consuming and difficult aspect of an IMG relocating to the UK. Many Doctors will fall at this hurdle for many reasons which include; the length of registration time, fees payable and unsuitable documentation. Our first and foremost piece of advice to you as an IMG, who wants to relocate to the UK, is to contact and engage in conversation with the GMC as early as possible. The reason for this is that only they will be able to clarify whether you hold the appropriate postgraduate qualification and the appropriate documents to continue an application with them. Contact details can be found on their website via the following link: Cost of Registration GMC registration will generally cost £425; however, this could fluctuate dependent on your circumstance. For instance, if you have held a registration in the past and want to reinstate it, the fee is £200. Furthermore, an annual retention fee of £425 is also required and this fee can be paid via a one-off payment, quarterly or monthly. It is important to note that further fees may be applicable and a full list can be found here: European Doctors From experience the GMC registration process is generally easier for European Doctor’s, this is because the only test you are required to take is the IELTS exam. If you qualified in a European institution you will automatically hold a recognised GMC postgraduate qualification and therefore able to apply for Specialist Registration and not required to sit the PLAB exam. Furthermore, if you do not hold a Royal College postgraduate qualification then you will simply have to submit your current qualifications to the GMC as evidence of training. In addition, most European citizens will not require a Visa to work in the UK. Visa Sponsorship After you have accepted your offer of employment the final application to be made is for a Tier 2 Visa. This step is considered simple because the employing hospital will sponsor your application and occasionally pay for it too. The Tier 2 Visa allows you to work in the UK and travel in and out of the country as you please. The Visa is supported for the duration of your employment (via extensions) and is valid whilst you work for the sponsoring organisation (i.e. if you move to work at another hospital then your new employer will need to take over sponsorship of the Visa). Despite the government citing that it takes up to three months to get your Visa, in our experience it is usually obtained by about four weeks from the point of application. With regards to close family members, they can also be granted Visa’s as part of your own application (but please bear in mind that the hospital will not carry the additional cost of this). For full details on applying for a Visa visit: Relocation Process Now you have registered with the GMC, accepted a job offer and got your Visa, the next stage of the process is to arrange your travel and relocation to the UK! Once you have booked your flights then we can help arrange your accommodation. In the UK, to lease or buy a property you must view the property in person and then sign for it. Therefore, when you first come to the UK it is likely that you will have to stay in temporary hospital accommodation until you find the perfect accommodation for yourself or your family – often medical staffing will be able to arrange this once you have booked your flights. Again, BDI will be happy to help with this process and we can organise viewings of houses or apartments for you to go and visit in your first couple of weeks being here. Other points to consider once you have made the move are: Setting up a UK bank account Getting a UK mobile number National Insurance number Registering with a GP/Dentist Registering for electricity/gas/tax To summarise, the relocation process to the UK is a complex one and the requirement of each step will differ depending on your personal circumstance, this also means that the steps can be taken in various orders. In addition elements of the process can change from time-to-time but we will be able to keep you up to date on any developments. Therefore we advise that you get in contact with one of our team, at [email protected], and we will be able to advise you on the best pathway to take in order to help you move to the UK sooner than you thought. If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] – and we will be happy to help you. In addition, if you would like support form an online forum of other IMG’s join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor: IMG Advisor

Overview of IELTS

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 30, 2018

Overview of IELTS As part of GMC registration, the GMC require all Doctors to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language to receive a licence to practise. All methods of communication need to be demonstrated to the GMC so you will need to prove your ability to listen, read, write and speak. There are various routes for Doctors to evidence their knowledge of the English language, however, the easiest and most popular way to this is to take the academic English knowledge test known as IELTS or the medical English knowledge test named OET. In this blog article we are going to explore the IELTS exam, provide helpful tips for taking the exam and provide the services of an IELTS expert who can also aid you. There are various IELTS test options, including Academic, General Training and Academic UK Visa and Immigration (VI). For an IMG who wants to become GMC registered we advise that you take the Academic UK VI exam, as this will satisfy both GMC and Visa requirements. The listening, reading and writing components of all IELTS tests are completed within the same day, with no breaks in between them. The speaking element of the exam can be completed up to a week before or after the other three tests. Your IELTS test centre will advise you on this. In addition, each part of the IELTS exam content can be formatted in any way – this includes graphs, multiple choice questions, matching lists and phrases to identification of information. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Listening There are four elements to the IELTS listening exam. Each section will have ten questions and a total of forty questions. There is no specialist subject knowledge needed for the listening exam as all the answers will be given in the played recordings. You will have forty minutes to complete the listening exam; you will listen for thirty minutes and then for the last ten minutes you will have to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet. Task 1 Social Needs: In the first task you will listen to a conversation between two people. The subject is social needs and so the topic of conversation can range from travel arrangements to decisions on which restaurant to attend. Task 2 Social Needs: The second task will be a monologue (a speech from an individual). The subject is social needs so the topic of conversation can range from providing a speech on thoughts on a university to an individual’s experience at a work conference. Task 3 Educational or Training: The third task will provide you with a recording between up to four people. One example of the type of conversation could include a conversation between a teacher and a group of students. Task 4 Academic Subject: The last part of listening exam is another monologue. The topic is academic subject. One example of this task could include a lecture from a university teacher. As mentioned above, once you have listened to the recordings you must ensure that you transfer your answers over to your answer sheet. When transferring your answers over we advise you to follow the subsequent tips. First, be aware of your handwriting. Although you may be rushed for time towards the end of the exam you need to ensure your handwriting is eligible because if the marker cannot read your writing then they cannot award you with marks. The same rule applies to spelling, if you have incorrect spelling then again, the examiner will have to mark it as incorrect. Second, you will be given some time to read the question before the recording is played – so prepare yourself for the topic and what key information to look out for. Third, when you are taking your listening exam if you do not hear everything on the recording do not panic, just try and listen for the keywords and then focus on what you need to be listening for. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading The reading part of the IELTS exam will provide you with three (sometimes four) reading passages which will increase in difficulty. The text provided will be genuine and are often taken from magazines, books and newspapers, the audience will be the public and the topic will be on general interest. The test will be sixty minutes long, there will be a total of forty questions and each question will be worth one mark. Part 1: The first part of the reading exam will provide you with a short factual passage and the topic will be relevant to your everyday life when you move to the UK and work in British environment. To exemplify, the question could ask you about a magazine advertisement. Part 2: Similar to the first part, the exam will provide you with a short factual passage however the focus will relate to employment. To exemplify, paying income tax. Part 3: The last part of the exam will be a longer passage and the most difficult. The topic in this section will be of general interest. When taking the reading part of your IELTS exam, our first and foremost piece of advice is to make sure you understand what the question is asking and follow the question instructions carefully. Second, do not try and read every word within the passage, the exam is testing your ability to skim and scan the passages to try and retrieve the most important pieces of information. Last, we advise you to keep an eye on the time – do not spend too long on one passage! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Writing The writing element of the IELTS exam will test your ability to write English clearly and with coherence. The exam will last for sixty minutes and has two parts to it. Task 1: The test will present you with a graph, chart, table or diagram and you will be asked to summarise the informational data in your own words. Task 2: The test will then ask you to write an essay as a response to an argument or problem stated in the paper. The second task is worth more than the first task so we advise you to spend more time on the second. Typically, forty minutes on the essay and twenty minutes on the graph description should be an adequate way to divide your time. Our second piece of advice when taking the IELTS writing exam is to practice. The best way for an individual to improve their written language skills is to frequently practice and to correct any grammar or spelling mistakes. Third, it would be useful for IELTS candidates to practice essay structures as the structure of your exam will contribute to your overall writing mark. If you would like advice on how to structure a short essay then visit this website. Fourth, before you begin writing your answer we suggest that you analyse each task closely, make notes and then write an essay plan. Other tips include to write in paragraphs (this makes it clear when you are moving onto a new point), do not repeat points (you will not receive extra marks and), keep each of your points relevant to the question and check your work for any mistakes. Following the above tips will help your answer appear well formulated and will fill the marker with confidence from the outset. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speaking The format of the speaking test is a structured discussion with a certified examiner. Although the discussion will cover certain topics, IELTS try to ensure that the conversation between you and the examiner is organic, interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. The speaking test will be between eleven to fourteen minutes and will be split into three parts. Part 1: The examiner will ask you questions with regards to yourself, your family, your work and your hobbies and interests. Part 2: The examiner will present you with a task card and ask you to speak about that specific subject. The card will include subject points that you can include. The examiner will give you one minute to formulate your talk and you will then be expected to speak for one-two minutes. Part 3: In the last part you will then be expected to have a conversation with your examiner about the random topic you discussed in Part 2. The examiner will ask you questions on your subject talk and you will have to converse in conversation. To study for your IELTS speaking exam we provide three pieces of advice. First, practice speaking English with a friend or family member. Speak about the topics that the examiner will test you on, this includes personal information, details about your family work and hobbies. Second, record yourself talking about a particular topic and then listen back to it. By hearing your own voice, you will be able to assess whether your English is spoken effortlessly and accurately. Third, we advise that you should have a practice of the entire speaking test without interruption. The advantage of this is that it will make your practice as close to the real thing as possible! And so, when you come to take the exam you will feel more at ease as you have already experienced the process. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How do I prepare for IELTS? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – The amount of IELTS preparation differs for everyone, as everyone has a different level of English skills. Therefore, we advise to prepare for the exam as far in advance as you need. But remember, that just because you know someone who passed IELTS with flying colours, it is not the same for everyone. Assess your abilities – Before you book your IELTS exam for a date we advise you to find out what level your English is. Often people are stronger in one communication area, whether it is speaking, writing, reading or listening. Therefore, once you find out your level of ability you can set realistic goals and a revision timeline. Do practice papers – One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to do practice questions. This is the best way to prepare because when you enter the exam you will already be aware of the papers format, you have practiced paper timings and you are learning at the same time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IELTS Expert BDI Resourcing work with an expert in IELTS preparation, named IELTS Advantage, who will be available to provide you with the help and support needed to allow you to pass the exam. The materials on IELTS Advantage website offers free materials that are regularly updated. The available materials include IELTS exam tips and tricks, lesson plans and sample answers. In addition, IELTS Advantage offer a premium essay correction service and online courses for those that would prefer tailored advice and guidance. So if you are an IMG who is in the process of taking IELTS and are considering moving to the UK and working for the NHS then take a look at our jobs board to find see current NHS vacancies. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] – and we will be happy to help you. In addition, if you would like support form an online forum of other IMG’s join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor: IMG Advisor


By Gabrielle Richardson
June 07, 2018

IELTS UKVI / UK NARIC There is often a lot of confusion between IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI and then UKNARIC. So, this article aims to explain the differences between the exams and what is necessary for international doctors to secure both GMC Registration and a UK visa. GMC Registration Requirements - IELTS Academic/IELTS UKVI with an average score of 7.5 and 7 in each section OR Grade B's in each section of OET Tier 2 Visa Requirements - IELTS UKVI - Average score of 4.0 or higher Our first piece of advice is to take IELTS Academic for UKVI when possible because of two advantages: It satisfies the GMC’s requirements It satisfies the UK Government Immigration and Visa requirements You should note that IELTS Academic for UKVI is more expensive than IELTS Academic alone, however, this is the best option in the long-run because it saves you from sitting an additional exam when applying for your visa. Furthermore, a limited number of test centres now offer the IELTS Academic for UKVI online. Please click here for more information. What is IELTS? IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. The test measures an individual’s English language capabilities and is the most popular language exam for IMG’s. The exam covers the four key language skills in general English: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Doctors must achieve an overall score of 7.5 (with a score no less than 7.0 in each section of the test). There are two types of IELTS tests: 1) IELTS Academic and 2) IELTS General Training IELTS Academic -£165 This test is for individuals applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. IELTS General Training -£165 This test is for individuals who are relocating to an English-speaking country for secondary education, work experience or training programs. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. What test should I take? As you are an international doctor who is aiming for GMC Registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK, you should take the IELTS Academic UKVI. This will satisfy the requirements for both the GMC and the UK Government Immigration and Visa. Alternatively, you can take the Occupational English Test (OET - £349) as an alternative test to prove your English language skills. OET is designed to replicate the critical tasks of the healthcare workplace setting and the test measures a doctor’s abilities through the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. The score required is four B’s and the scores must be achieved at the same exam sitting. Although OET will satisfy your GMC registration it will not satisfy your UK visa application. IELTS UKVI - £200 So far, we have established that to satisfy the GMC’s English language requirement and the UK Visa application you must take IELTS Academic UKVI. However, we are aware that some doctors sit the IELTS Academic exam and thus their visa application will then require them to sit IELTS UKVI. What is it? The IELTS UKVI stands for UK Visas and Immigration and is a government-approved degree comparability service. An IELTS UKVI score can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. Click here to find a list of test centres for IELTS UKVI. As an IMG who wants to become GMC Registered you will have to apply for two visas. The first is a UK visit visa for when you come to the UK to take PLAB 2 (which does not require IELTS UKVI). Second, is the Tier 2 visa for work once you have received GMC registration and obtained a job (requires IELTS UKVI or UKNARIC). If I have already taken IELTS, can I still use my result to apply to UK Visas and Immigration? IELTS Academic will only satisfy the requirements for GMC Registration but IELTS UKVI and IELTS Academic UKVI will satisfy both GMC Registration and your visa application. UKVI requires you to submit results from an IELTS for UKVI test that was completed at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI. So, do I have to take IELTS again? Yes. If you have taken IELTS Academic, passed, obtained GMC Registration, secured a job offer and are now applying for your Tier 2 visa – you will be expected to show a pass mark of IELTS UKVI. But don’t worry – you will only need band scores of 4.0 and above. Is there a difference in exam content between IELTS Academic and IELTS UKVI? There are no differences in the test format or questions. The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on. The purpose of the test is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specific to UK Visas and Immigration. Alternative to UKVI – UKNARIC – £49.50 + VAT* (£59.40) In addition to IELTS UKVI satisfying the visa application, there is an alternative way to satisfy the English language requirement in your visa application – UKNARIC. UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) is an agency that provides an assessment and then a statement to confirm that an international academic qualification is comparable to a UK degree taught in an English standard. Therefore, if your primary medical qualification had some element of English language taught – whether you had modules taught in English or separately learnt the English language as part of the course – you will be eligible to use UKNARIC’s Statement of Comparability. However, please note that it is possible for the agency to assess your degree and find that it is not comparable to a UK degree. In this instance, you will be given a full refund of payment and you will then be required to sit IELTS UKVI. You should also note that UKNARIC for GMC Registration will not suffice. How do I apply for UKNARIC? You can apply directly here and the NARIC website sites completion time is between 10-15 working days. Documents needed for application: Your contact details and a statement of the purpose of your enquiry (i.e. UKVI) A photocopy or scan of your qualification certificate with final transcripts A photocopy or scan of a certified translation to English of your documents, if the translation is necessary Payment for the service Summary: IELTS Academic –Satisfies GMC Registration requirement IELTS Academic UKVI – Satisfies both GMC Registration& UK Visa requirements IELTS General – Does not satisfy GMC Registration or UK Visa requirements IELTS General UKVI – Satisfies UK Visa requirements If you are an IMG who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you. And head over to our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor for an online support network of IMG’s who want to relocate to the UK.

Overview of OET

By Gabrielle Richardson
March 21, 2018

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the usual path taken by IMG’s to evidence their English language proficiency to the GMC. IELTS is a general English language assessment and is available to all professionals globally. However, from 6th February 2018 the GMC started routinely accepting Occupational English Test (OET) as a way for doctors to demonstrate their English language competencies. OET is designed specifically for all healthcare professionals globally who want to evidence their English capabilities. The OET exam assesses the language and communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to receive a licence to practise in an English-speaking work environment. The test will provide a valid and reliable valuation of all four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. However, they place prominence on testing candidate’s communication in professional healthcare settings. 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. After your OET exam has been graded you will receive a statement of results which will state each grade you received for each sub-test, from A (highest) to E (lowest). You must receive a grade B or above in all sub-tests to demonstrate your English language proficiency to the GMC. From 1st October 2019, OET is now an accepted qualification by the UK Home Office.  What should I expect in the exam? Listening The listening element of the exam consists of two parts with around 20-28 question items. The question topics will be of general healthcare. Part A and Part B of the exam will be around 20-25 minutes long each. The recording will contain pauses to allow you time to write your answers. The task will provide a wide range of task types, such as multiple-choice and short answer responses so a good sample of your listening ability is tested. Part A Consultation: The first part of the listening exam will test your ability to follow facts during a healthcare professional-patient consultation. Part B Presentation: The second part of the exam will test your ability to understand a short speech on a health-related topic that may occur in a workplace. Reading The reading element of the exam has two parts, it will take 60 minutes to complete and the topic will be of general healthcare interest. Part A Summary Task: The first part of the exam will take you 15 minutes to complete and it will test your ability to source information from multiple texts and skim and scan information. In this task you will be asked to read several passages and then fill out a summary paragraph by filling in the missing words. Part B Multiple Choice: The second part of the exam will assess your ability to understand comprehensive texts, such as those in an academic healthcare journal and then answer a set of multiple-choice questions.   Writing The writing part of the exam will take 45 minutes and will be healthcare professional-specific. There will be one set task, usually to write a referral letter for a patient. In addition to the task instructions, you will receive stimulus material such as case notes to help you write the letter. Speaking Each OET candidate will take their speaking test individually and will take around 20 minutes. The test will form as a patient/client role-play. The exam will begin with a short warm-up conversation about your professional background and then the role-play will be introduced. There will be two-role plays and each will last for about five minutes each. Your presentation in the speaking exam will be scored against the following criterion: communicative effectiveness, fluency, appropriateness, fluency and intelligibility. How should I prepare for my OET exam? Everyone learns differently and preparation for your OET exam will differ dependent on your skill set in each of the communication areas. However, below are useful tips to aid you in passing your OET exam. Assess your English skills – the first port of call is to assess your English skills and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Once you know what area you need to improve on you can create a revision timeline and then find an appropriate date to book your exam. Learn the exam format – if you practice all elements of the exam in the correct format prior to doing the actual exam you will not come across any unexpected questions, feel calm and will be able to put all your energy into excellent answers. Learn to identify key pieces of information – when reading through long text passages make sure you skim the information to pick up the most important pieces of information – this will save you a lot of time and will allow you to focus on your answer. Preparation in the speaking roleplay – Often, the role-player in the speaking exam will ask you to start the conversation. Therefore, you should know how to introduce the situation confidently and appropriately. For instance, if you are a Doctor in the Emergency Department you could say ‘Hello, I am the Doctor who will be looking after you today. I can see from your notes that…. How are you feeling?’. Reading will help your language skills – Try to read varied pieces of English publications before your test, such as newspaper articles and academic journal articles – because reading will improve your English in all communication areas. When reading your comprehension will progress in addition to your vocabulary widening and improvements on your spelling and grammar. Extra English reading can even be fun! Why don’t you try buying your favourite book in English or switching your Facebook language to English to give yourself a challenge! Are there any similarities between OET and IELTS? Each test has four sub-tests, one for each form of communication: reading, listening, writing and speaking. Each test provides a graded score, there is no pass/fail but different institutions need test takers to achieve different scores. I.e. The GMC require a B in OET and a 7.5 in IELTS to qualify for GMC registration. Are there any differences between OET and IELTS? Content – The main difference between the two tests is that IELTS is an academic English test. The exam will test your ability to write essays, understand academic articles and debate a wide range of topics from cultural trends to news headlines. However, the OET will test your healthcare English. The exam will test your ability to successfully communicate in medical scenarios, understand a patient consultation and write a referral letter. Preparation Requirements – Your preparation for IELTS will involve learning vast amounts of vocabulary on a wide range of academic subjects so you are fully prepared to read all academic texts quickly and effectively, discuss abstract questions and provide your opinions in detail. Whereas preparation for OET will involve you learning a wide range of healthcare and professional-specific vocabulary so you can easily engage with and participate in various clinical situations whilst understanding medical texts and talks. Scoring – IELTS is marked out of 9 and the GMC declare you must achieve a 7.5 overall and 7 in each sub-test. OET is graded from A (best grade) to E and the GMC requires a grade B to satisfy GMC registration. Cost – The cost of both tests varies by country, however, typically IELTS is around £160 and OET is around £330. Frequency of test dates – IELTS offer test dates in 140 countries, in over 1000 test locations and tests dates are offered 2-4 times per month. Whereas OET offers the exam in 40 countries, in over 100 locations and has only one exam date each month. If you are unsure of what English language test to take or have already received your IELTS or OET result and are looking to relocate to the UK then get in contact with us at [email protected] – and one of the team will be happy to provide you with tailored advice.

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