Specialist Language Courses

What is the Occupational English Test (OET)


The Occupational English Test (OET) is used in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore among others to assess the Medical English skills of a wide range of international healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and AHPs.


SLC Article on IELTS for Nurses in National Health Executive Magazine

NHE article IELTS for Nurses

We’re delighted to have had an article published in the National Health Magazine focusing on how the IELTS 7.0 requirement is impacting on recruiting nurses from the EU.

Given the triggering of Article 50 and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the status of EU workers, the impact of this challenging language requirement is harder than it would have been otherwise, further squeezing a declining supply of international nurses at a time of significant shortages across the NHS.


New SLC IELTS Prep Course at Cambridge University Hospitals

IELTS for the NHS

SLC is delighted to be starting a new IELTS Preparation course for nurses at Cambridge University Hospitals today. CUH is renowned both in the UK and internationally, not only for its excellent care but also for its outstanding academic research work. We wish everyone the greatest of success!

For more information on our IELTS preparation courses designed specifically for nurses and doctors, using the latest in blended learning methodologies, please contact our team, visit the dedicated webpage or just pick up the phone and call us on 01273 900213.


SLC Publish Research Report into the Impact of IELTS 7.0 on the Recruitment of EEA-trained Nurses into the UK

Statistics published last week showed a dramatic drop in the numbers of EEA-trained nurses joining the NMC register, as reported in the Nursing Times[1] and national media[2]. In December 2016, only 101 nurses joined, a year on year fall of 35.7% and the lowest monthly figure for the year.

We believe that the decision taken 1 year ago by the NMC to change the English Language requirements for EEA-trained nurses registering in the UK is fundamental to this drop. This decision was that all new registrants now need to score 7.0 in the international IELTS Academic English language test.


Press Release: SLC Launch Online General English Courses

Specialist Language Courses is delighted to announce the launch of a suite of online General English courses.

There are 5 levels, from beginner (A1) to advanced (C2). Each level consists of 45 hours of integrated skills work – reading, listening, writing, communication – and 15 hours of grammar support and consolidation. Learners can download the accompanying grammar app, with 100s of screens of activity, and there are free lessons based on current newspaper articles uploaded every week.


Medical English Tips: Giving Advice Sensitively

Welcome to the first in a series of occasional posts giving essential Medical English tips. This one focuses on a critical area of practice: giving advice sensitively. Get this right, and your rapport with your patient will be a powerful factor in building a successful therapeutic partnership. Get this wrong, and your relationship may never recover. Read on.


The strange and wonderful world of English idioms

Do you know when in your language you use an expression that, when read literally, seems to make no sense at all, or it’s used to express another meaning altogether? That expression is an idiom or common saying. Every language has many of them.


1:1 and Small Group Online English Courses

Here’s an article about something we’re doing more of. Teaching. Online. While much of our work in the last 2 years has focused on producing online language learning materials – especially for Technical English such as Medical and Oil & Gas workers – we have steadily grown an army of specialist English language trainers who teach online English courses around the world. Teaching online enables lessons to take place wherever a learner has a half-decent internet connection.


Review of the Language Learning App “Babbel”

In a recent blog post we presented the advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via Mobile Apps. If you are thinking about starting a course with an app but you don`t know which app to choose you are in the right place.


Language Mobile Apps – Advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via Mobile App

Learning languages are great – I think we can all agree with that. But if you decide to learn a new language the next question is how? Nowadays there are a lot of different ways to learn a language: online or tutored language courses – like the ones we at SLC provide, going abroad, reading loads of books and doing reading, listening and speaking tasks on your own OR perhaps what might be considered the most modern way: using an app on your mobile phone which makes language learning easy and accessible to everyone. The most attractive argument for a lot of people is that you can learn WHENever, WHEREver and WHATever you want. It`s your own decision and no one can really control your progress, although this might be – sometimes – a real problem, especially for lazy people. Have you ever thought about using such an app? But you aren`t sure yet if you should try it?


10 Useful Academic IELTS Reading Resources

The IELTS exam is perhaps the most widely taken international English language test. Over 2.5 million people sit the test every year from around the world. IELTS is recognised by universities, companies, professional bodies such as the GMC and NMC, immigration authorities, and government institutions all around the world as a measure of English language ability.


5 assertions about the UK and their truth – The UK through the eyes of a German girl.

Is the English culture and behaviour really that different from the rest of Europe? And if so, what are the most popular prejudices against the typical British person? Are these true, or are they just stereotypes?

Here at SLC our aim is to help European citizens to work in the UK, just as I, Jule Kirchner, have also done.  As an intern at SLC, I closely experience  the every-day working life in the UK, and I would to share some of my thoughts and observations. (more…)

Brexit: the Outlook for EU Nurses and Doctors

At SLC, we are proud to have been working with hundreds of EU nurses and doctors coming to work in the UK, either through our online Medical English courses or through our IELTS test preparation programmes. We see how committed they are and what a vital contribution they make to healthcare in this country, not just in NHS Trust hospitals, but also in care homes, nursing homes and private clinics and hospitals around the UK.


The 3 main difficulties for an Italian student when learning English

Is the English language an incredibly difficult one to learn? You tell us. Here at SLC we have students enrolling in our courses that come from all over the world, and one of the many countries that we recruit our nurses from is that of the “bella Italia”. Now, one may ask whether it is easy to switch off one language and immerse oneself in to another, and the answer to that question is no. In fact, there are many difficult aspects that are common among most learners.

Here are the 3 main barriers that Italian students find when studying the English language:


Interview with Virginia Allum – author of SLC’s Online Medical English Courses PART II

Welcome to part II of the interview with Virginia Allum, head of SLC’s Medical English courses and lead Medical English consultant. In addition to being a lecturer in English for Medical Purposes, she is a Medical English teacher trainer, and a widely published writer.

In this part Virginia will discuss what the main challenges are for doctors, nurses and carers who are taking these courses. (more…)

Interview with Virginia Allum – author of SLC’s Online Medical English Courses PART I

Virginia Allum is the head of SLC’s Medical English courses and lead Medical English consultant. In addition to this, she is also a lecturer in English for Medical Purposes, a Medical English teacher trainer, and a widely published writer. Her written works include co-authoring the Cambridge English for Nursing text books, used by Medical universities around the world. She is also a practicing Registered Nurse, with years of practice in the UK and Australia.


Are Today’s Learning and Development Professionals Creators or Curators?

There’s a lot of it about. Everywhere you look. Training. Leadership development, customer service, management, sales, business writing, team work, giving presentations, strategy, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, communicating effectively, communicating across cultures, communicating using social media, … the list goes on. And on. (more…)

3 Unbeatable Advantages of Being Bilingual

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
‒Geoffrey Willans

Communication is key, and languages are important precisely for this reason, to share our thoughts and feelings with others. The majority of the world’s population is, in fact, bilingual or multilingual, and this helps bridge the cultural gaps and learn more about one another, and the world in general. To know a second language is to know more about yourself and others.

Here are 3 key advantages of being bilingual:


The advantages of e-learning

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said “The limits of my language are the limits of my world”. This statement has been open to various interpretations for centuries, but with regards to learning, one may come to the conclusion that he is suggesting that to limit oneself to one language is to limits one’s possibilities in the world. This is to say that it is important to learn new skills, and broaden one’s horizons, and this opportunity should be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.


Target IELTS 7.0 for Nurses – Case Study: Maria Frances

Maria Frances has been a nurse for 6 years and has worked both in the Philippines and in Saudi Arabia. Last year, encouraged by a friend who already works as a nurse in England, she decided to apply to work in the UK where she is excited about the possibilities she has to further her career as a dialysis specialist.


What do Nurses think of their Online English for Nurses Course?

Our Online English for Nurses course has been out for over a year now. We’ve been going through all the end-of-course questionnaires with a fine toothcomb to help us discover what we should change or improve and to see how happy nurses were with the course. A fantastic 220 nurses have given us feedback so far. Here are the results.


Read Chris Moore’s reflections on the recent EALTHY English for Healthcare conference

English for Healthcare Conference – Some Reflections

The EALTHY English for Healthcare conference, set in the stunning location of Bern, was very much of the boutique variety. Around 70 delegates attended. Most were university-level Medical English teachers, designing and delivering courses to students from a broad range of subject-specialisms, including nurses, doctors, radiographers, paramedics, and physiotherapists.